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La PAPDA réclame l’annulation de la dette d’Haïti (Anglais)

PAPDA again calls for the unconditional cancellation of Haiti’s debt, and calls on the Haitian authorities to use the debt payments for the hundreds of thousands of victims of recent storms and floods

Port-au-Prince, 10 September 2008 – (AHP) – The secretary-general of the Haitian Platform to Advocate for Alternative Development (PAPDA), Camille Chalmers, has pleaded again for international donors to unconditionally cancel Haiti’s external debt.

Camille Chalmers feels that is logical that donors take into account the situation of acute crisis facing Haiti today, and cancel this debt which amounts to US$1.6 billion, with an annual debt service of about
US$60 to 80 million.

Nearly a thousand people have died in floods caused by four consecutive hurricanes that destroyed much of the infrastructure of the country, including the collapse of several bridges.

Mr. Chalmers called on the Haitian authorities to have the courage to use the funds for debt payments for the hundreds of thousands of victims of the recent bad weather, for reconstruction programmes, and to prevent a food crisis from hitting the country in the coming months.

« It’s really incomprehensible that the Haitian authorities are unlocking only 35 million gourdes (US$875,000) for victims of the recent weather, while they are forced to pay between US$5 and 6 million for a single month (in debt service) », said Chalmers

He recalled that he had already found it absurd that the Haitian State had had to pay tens of millions of US dollars for debt service to international financial institutions just a few months after the passage of Tropical Storm Jeanne in 2004 when more than 3,000 people
were killed in the city of Gonaives (north) and there was considerable material damage.

The head of the PAPDA has also called on the Haitian authorities not to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU) at an upcoming meeting of the heads of state of the CARIFORUM countries in Barbados.

« This agreement is a proposal from the EU to the 79 countries of the African/Caribbean/Pacific group (ACP), an initiative that never will benefit poor countries, since it is part of a logic of trade and investment », Camille Chalmers said.

(translated from French by Charles Arthur for the Haiti Support Group)