Martelly to I.C.: "Who asked you to pay for my army?"
- Saturday, November 12, 2011 10:02 AM
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (defend.ht) - When confronted by members of the international community which told President Michel Martelly that they would not foot the bill for an armed force in Haiti, the latter responded 'dismissively' saying "who asked you to pay for my army?"
This account came in third person to the Associated Press , reported by an official who attended a recent meeting between the president and foreign diplomats from the United States, European Union and Brazil, to name a few.
The government says it plans to pay for the force itself, which now will cost $25 million down from the $95 million, before-mentioned.
The Martelly-Conille government hopes to pay for the lowered price tag by taking money from other government ministries. Each department will be required to pay between 1 percent to 5 percent of its budget to the Ministry of the Interior, the official said.
However, with 60 to 70 percent of the Haitian government's $2 billion budget coming from the international community it seems in some sense, the majority of the bill would still come from these parties.
To be or not to be?
Conflicting reports in recent weeks have suggested that President Michel Martelly had scrapped the plan to reinstate the armed forces.
The president's office issued a couple of statements and with a visit to the headquarters of the Haitian National Police (HNP), the President insisted that the focus of efforts would be on strengthening the nation's police.
It was understood, even by the international community, that strengthening the police force and not putting resources into an armed force was the government's plan.
"The important thing here is that the U.S. and Haitian government and the rest of the international community are all in agreement that the HNP should remain the focal point of efforts to improve security and rule of law," a spokesman of from the U.S. Embassy wrote.
The official, speaking to the AP, would then refer to the army as a "civil defense corps," saying it would not detract from efforts to strengthen the police.
On Tuesday, Samson Chery, a former sergeant who has been leading weekly training exercises in the hills of the capital, met with government officials along with his colleagues.
He told the AP on Friday, by telephone, that he looked forward to the army's official return.
"The minute the decree comes out we will wait for orders," Chery said. "And we will march."
But on Thursday, another group of hopeful soldiers held a press conference in the Delmas district of Port-au-Prince where they criticized President Martelly for not keeping his promise of returning the armed forces.
âAs president you must have one word â either yes or no... you canât change your word all the time as president,â said David Esperance of the Organization of Demobilized Soldiers for the Reconstruction of Haiti.
Confusion exists on the matter.
Related 11.09.2011: "The army is not for now," says Michel Martelly to Haitian Police
Related 11.05.2011: Haitian Presidency Disclaims any Publication of a Decree Remobilizing the Army
Related 10.27.2011: PM Garry Conille Unprepared for Parliamentary Hearing on New Army
Related 10.25.2011: Martelly's Army 'dÃ©jÃ sur pied', According to Sources
Related 09.29.2011: Martelly Hopes to Recruit 500 Soldiers in October
Related 09.28.2011: President Martelly Plans for Haitian Security Forces Leaked
Source: Associated Press