A top U.S. official stunned some Washington lawmakers Wednesday with testimony that Haiti needs as much as $50 million to carry out successful elections this year. The declaration during a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Western Hemisphere hearing comes just three weeks before Haiti is scheduled to hold the first of three critical elections. “There is a fairly good chance (the election) will happen,” Thomas Adams, the State Department’s special coordinator for Haiti, said about the scheduled Aug. 9 elections to restore Haiti’s parliament. “But there are still a few issues left. One is a lack of funding.”
Adam’s whopping $50 million figure during his testimony caused Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., to ask, “How many people live in Haiti?”
“Eleven million,” Adams said.
“And you need $50 million to pull off an election?” Boxer said.
Adams revelation during the hearing, chaired by Florida Republican and U.S. presidential candidate Marco Rubio, came a day before a United Nations’ donor conference in New York to help fill Haiti’s funding gap. U.N. officials and Haitian Prime Minister Evans Paul, who will be attending, hope to raise $31 million to cover the second and possibly third rounds of voting.
Adams said his higher figure includes other costs, such as electoral observation and support for the Haitian National Police, which will have to shoulder most of the responsibility for security.