Haiti remembers 2010 earthquake in subdued anniversary ceremonies

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Former US president Bill Clinton flew to Haiti yesterday to join the country’s president, Michel Martelly, at an official commemoration of the third anniversary of the earthquake that decimated the capital and killed more than 250,000 people.

The simple, wreath-laying memorial was held at a mass burial site on a barren hillside on the outskirts of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, where neither Clinton, the UN’s Special Envoy for Haiti, nor Martelly made speeches.

“Today we’re here so that we don’t forget, and to do better,” Haiti’s Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe told reporters. “We were heavily hit, that’s true. But we’re standing strong to rebuild our country.”

Earlier yesterday, Haiti’s government marked the occasion with a purposefully low-key ceremony on the grounds of the razed national palace in downtown Port-au-Prince. In a short address, Martelly paid homage to the memories of those who perished, and to the courage of those who survived.

“A little more lonely, a little more vulnerable,” said Martelly. “I express to you my compassion.”

He addressed international donors and aid organisations, thanking them and promising that the ongoing reconstruction effort would be closely evaluated to avoid waste and corruption. “I understand your concern,” he said.

Martelly also announced the launch of a new building code saying that another tragedy like that of 2010 would never happen again.

Clinton was to meet privately with Martelly and Lamothe later in the day.

This year’s anniversary is a marked change from the hours-long commemoration the government organized in the last two years, including live musical performances, a series of prayers from Haiti’s spiritual leaders, press conferences and a tree-planting ceremony.

In 2011, a major concert outside the palace filled the streets with dancing.

Unlike other years, this third anniversary of the quake was not declared a national holiday. All the same, many businesses chose to shut their doors for the day, and the normally bustling streets were noticeably quieter.

Three years after the earthquake struck reconstruction has been painfully slow, and barely half of the $5 billion pledged by donors has been delivered.

More than 350,000 displaced earthquake victims are still living in camps, many under the threat of eviction, with little relief in sight of most. Only about 6,000 permanent houses have been built since the earthquake.

default placeholder

Little enforcement of Jamaica Tobacco Control Act douses its relevance

(Jamaica Observer) It has existed on Jamaican law books for three years now, but the one-time much heralded Public Health Tobacco Control Regulations Act 2013, seems to have virtually gone up in smoke.

default placeholder

Big battle set for key Clico beachfront property in T&T

(Trinidad Guardian) Battle for No Man’s Land. That is what is shaping up on all fronts—from Government to the Clico owners of the property—as the spotlight continues to increase on one of the last pristine pieces of beachfront in the English-speaking Caribbean.

Died at hospital:
Isaiah Hospedales

T&T student killed for gold chain

(Trinidad Express) A 22-year-old man’s decision to wear a large gold chain while liming with friends on Ariapita Avenue, Woodbrook cost him his life early Saturday morning when he was ambushed, shot and killed for his jewelry.

default placeholder

Venezuela first lady’s nephews confessed to drug scheme, U.S. says

NEW YORK, (Reuters) – Two nephews of Venezuela’s first lady, who face charges of conspiring to import cocaine into the United States, confessed to U.S.

Cristina Fernandez

Former Argentina leader slams corruption probes as political plot

EL CALAFATE, Argentina (Reuters) – Facing corruption probes that threaten to land her behind bars, former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez described her growing legal troubles as part of a “persecution” of progressive Latin American leaders that has boosted the right in the region.

default placeholder

Venezuela opposition leader Lopez awaits appeal verdict

CARACAS (Reuters) – An appeal hearing into Venezuela’s most prominent jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez ended yesterday, with he and supporters saying the nearly 14-year sentence for inciting violence should be immediately overturned.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.



Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: