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February 09, 2012
WILLEMSTAD — The 1000 or so Haitians had to exercise patient last night, but when President Michel Martelly (50) arrived shortly after ten P.M., the compatriots residing on the island gave him a warm and festive welcome at Brionplein.Initially the reception at Brionplein was announced for 8:00 P.M. and wouldn’t last one hour. However, the presidential aircraft of Martelly and his delegation had landed at Hato at 21:50. The President is making a tour along the countries in South America and the Caribbean area and had also attended the conference of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas (ALBA) in Venezuela two days ago. His business trip to Curaçao won’t even take 48 hours.
President Martelly; Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Salvador Lamothe; Stephanie Balmir, Minister of Tourism, and Wilson Laleua, Minister of Industry were welcomed at Hato by Premier Gerrit Schotte, Minister Abdul Nasser El Hakim (Economic Affairs), Minister of Finance George Jamaloodin and a guard of honor. The company had then driven to Brionplein. President Martelly had specifically requested this meeting with his compatriots. The Haitian community had therefore prepared a warm welcome with an orchestra, a choir and a dance performance.
In the Creole language, President Martelly spoke encouraging words to his compatriots, an estimated 5000 on Curaçao. Around 8 million people live in Haiti. The diaspora (Haitians also call this the tenth department, (editorial office)), has approximately 1.5 million compatriots abroad of which by far the majority lives in the US.
That’s where Martelly has spend a large part of his life when he made a career for himself as the singer/musician Sweet Mickey, and where he was and still is popular for his Kompa-music. He was sworn in as president of Haiti last year, one of the poorest countries in the region and which country is still recovering from the devastating earthquake in January 2010. Nevertheless, President Martelly is determined to raise his country from the abyss of many years. He also visited Panama the past days and will continue his journey this evening to the Bahama’s where a vast community of Haitians lives.
On Curaçao, the Haitian delegation was given a presentation this morning on the new financial system; the President was received by Governor Frits Goedgedrag and he was given a tour through some of the disadvantaged urban areas that are included in the National Plan District Development