MIAMI (CBS4) – After winning Haiti’s president election with 68 percent of the vote, Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly made a trip to Miami to thank South Florida’s Haitian community for its support.
Martelly’s first stop of the day was at the Haitian Consulate in Miami where he met with Consular officers and Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado.
He then met with members of the Haitian community at the Little Haiti Cultural Center to discuss ways they can assist the new administration with economic development and reconstruction efforts in their homeland.
“We need you to bring your talents back to Haiti,” President Martelly told Haitian-Americans in the crowd. “We need you to bring your skills and expertise back to Haiti. The simple fact is that we cannot change our country without your support.”
Martelly said 83 percent of Haiti’s professionals have left the country. Those are the people he said he needs most to return and help rebuild the earthquake ravaged country. He vowed to ensure a fair bidding process to ensure Haitian-American contractors would be able to take part in the reconstruction process.
“Your role is vital and we need your help and contribution to help Haiti,” he said.
Eric Pierre-Jerome is a nurse and lawyer living in South Florida. He said he is eager to heed the President’s call.
“I’m so excited to go back to Haiti,” said Pierre-Jerome. But I want to know that I will find the security I need.”
Martelly also asked the Haitian community at home and abroad to help fund his initiative to provide a free education to all Haitian children.
CBS 4 News asked Martelly what his administration would do to ensure that donations would not fall into corrupt hands.
“One of the things we have pledged to do is to recreate that confidence between the donors our international people, our partners, our Diaspora and our people living in Haiti, recreate that confidence between the people and the government itself,” he said.
Martelly also talked about the progress on proposed constitutional amendments.
As the new president, Martelly will face a challenging environment that includes a Senate and Chamber of Deputies controlled by former President Rene Preval’s party and widespread anger over the slow progress of reconstruction from the January 2010 earthquake.
Preval was barred from running for a third term under Haiti’s constitution.