Haiti’s Minister of the Interior Mobilizes Strong Support for Haiti in New Orleans

Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) and Letters of Intent (LOIs) inked with Ochsner Health Systems, Payson Center and World Trade Center

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, May 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – The Haitian delegation that participated in the 2012 World Cultural Economic Forum in New Orleans, led by Minister of the Interior, Thierry Mayard-Paul, returned home from a very productive visit, having signed LOIs and MOUs for development partnerships with three renowned multinational and regional organizations. Minister Mayard-Paul inked preliminary agreements for cooperation with Ochsner Health Systems, the World Trade Center New Orleans and the Tulane Payson Center for International Development. 

“Our meetings in New Orleans were exceptionally rewarding and gratifying,” said Mr. Mayard-Paul. “We are solidifying valuable partnerships with outstanding agencies that will help advance our goals for building a stronger, more resilient Haiti under the umbrella of Katye Pam Poze, Haiti’s community-based decentralization program.”

According to Mayard-Paul, Ochsner, which has been a reliable partner to Haiti since the earthquake, is interested in establishing a relationship with Haiti’s Justinien hospital and the Ecole Polytechnic De Mayaya La Victoire, allowing Ochsner physicians and medical students to provide health services in and around Cap-Haitien.  “Ochsner plans to implement a recurring medical mission to Haiti, supported by United States board-certified physicians,” he said. “They expect to launch their first mission this year.”

The MOI also plans to include Ochsner as a key health services partner within KPP, to help strengthen capacity building through training, and access to basic services through regional health centers and hospitals, in order to increase coverage throughout the country. “The Government of Haiti is seeking to enhance healthcare services available to Haitians by encouraging and supporting Ochsner and others to contribute to the health and well-being of the people of Haiti throughout the country,” added Mayard-Paul.

In signing the agreement with Tulane’s Payson Center, the Minister of the Interior emphasized that in its post-earthquake recovery process, the Republic of Haiti faces many challenges for which the Payson Center can provide meaningful solutions. “The Center is interested in providing its well-known expertise and experience in legal system reform, affordable housing and higher education, through a public-private partnership with the Government of Haiti,” said Mayard-Paul. The minister pointed out that Payson showed special interest in introducing online learning within the education module of Katye Pam Poze (KPP).

In addition, Tulane expressed an interest in also providing technical assistance/collaboration in waste water management, given its expertise in this particular area and the importance of this service to Haiti and KPP. “All of this is aligned with Haitian priorities,” highlighted Mayard-Paul, who reiterated that he was “greatly encouraged to find a long-term partner who shares the government’s vision of increasing access to basic social infrastructure and services through a ‘bottom-up’ approach so that, in the end, people would have no need to migrate out of their communities and into urban areas.  This is the cornerstone of KPP and the government’s National Decentralization Agenda,” added Mayard-Paul.

During the delegation’s visit with the World Trade Center New Orleans, Mayard-Paul, met with Jessica Steverson, Marketing Director of the World Trade Center and they discussed the ways in which they could partner to “bring to life” the myriad of energy, agriculture and maritime investment opportunities available in Haiti. “Louisiana and the Gulf South region have many companies with the knowledge and capacity to develop these critical areas,” assured Mayard-Paul.  During the discussion both parties agreed to work on building investment opportunities and establishing reciprocal trade missions between the two regions.

Of special significance to Mayard-Paul and the Haitian delegation was a meeting with the city of New Orleans including Mayor Mitchell J. Landrieu, who successfully led the efforts to rebuild the city and restore thousands of jobs following Hurricane Katrina.  

“Mayor Landrieu’s rebuilding efforts set a viable model for Haiti to learn from,” remarked Mayard-Paul. “Looking at New Orleans’ regional economy, it is clear it has begun to diversify, spearheading growth in knowledge-based industries.  As a result, entrepreneurship in New Orleans has spiked dramatically post-Katrina.  With jobs a pressing need in Haiti, this is a valuable take-away from our visit.”

The City of New Orleans welcomed the idea of partnering with the Ministry of the Interior and the Government of Haiti by providing technical expertise and support in different fields that enable building back a better Haiti, as well as facilitating other investment opportunities identified by the minister.

Mayard-Paul was “humbled and grateful” for the warm reception provided by WCEF and its participants to Katye Pam Poze, Haiti’s innovative “bottom-up” approach to community integration and sustainable development, which is focused on improving delivery of government services, as well as fostering development and job creation by promoting strong community involvement.   “KPP has been designed as a holistic community-based program, where the end prize is to improve the quality of life of the Haitian people by enabling safe and prosperous communities right where they live, so they don’t have to migrate to urban centers to look for jobs.”