(Photo: AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
Newly nominated Haitian Prime Minister Daniel-Gerard Rouzier is ready to shake things up.
In an interview with the Associated Press, the political newcomer and former businessman called for totally revamping the earthquake reconstruction commission chaired by former U.S. president and United Nations special envoy to Haiti Bill Clinton and outgoing Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive.
He called the 27-member group, tasked with managing the multibillion-dollar post-earthquake reconstruction, “dysfunctional,” adding that it should be replaced by a government reconstruction agency.
"What I can tell you is that the [commission] as it exists today will not continue," Rouzier said in the interview. "I don't mean to crucify the people who came up with the concept. But sometimes when something doesn't work you have to fix it."
Later on Wednesday, President Michel Martelly issued a statement that took a softer stance on the issue, saying that both he and Rouzier are “very open and willing to begin discussions” with Clinton and others to make the commission “more efficient.”
In the past the commission has been criticized for its slow response to reconstruction projects. More than a year after the devastating 7.0-magnitude quake, many affected parts in the nation were still under rubble.
A spokeswoman for the commission, though, insists they have been making progress, pointing to the approval of 87 reconstruction projects. They will “continue to work in close coordination with the government of Haiti, donors, [aid groups] and the private sector…until further decisions are made by the Haitian government and Parliament,” she said in a statement.
The commission has approved $3.2 billion in reconstruction projects, but doesn’t have all the money yet. While the commission’s mandate ends in October, it could be renewed by the government.