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Haiti to rise like a phoenix

...presidential palace, supreme court to be built
Sunday, February 3, 2013
Michel Presume, directeur de la Division Batiment Public at Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo: Michelle Loubon

For the first time, Haiti will establish a Supreme Court at its capital Port-au-Prince. Michel Presume, directeur de la Division Batiment Public, explained it will be among six buildings which will be constructed in the aftermath of the 7.0 January 10, 2010 earthquake. 



The quake destroyed about 90 per cent of Port-au-Prince and killed about 300,000 people. The project is expected to cost about US$150 million. The proposed state-of-the-art government buildings are intended to transform historic Port-au-Prince into a bustling commercial centre. Meanwhile, the majority of Port-au-Prince’s buildings, including churches and cathedrals, have not yet been rebuilt. The tent cities that were located outside the Presidential Palace have disappeared and most of the rubble has been removed. Even the Presidential Palace is completely gone. 


Asked about the project, Presume said, “It will cost about US$150 million. It will depend upon the choices of materials available for rebuilding. For the first time, there will be a supreme court. Before, we had about three courts. We will have a number of justice departments. It is important for democracy and human rights.”


He explained his department was working in conjunction with Unite De Construction De Lodgements Et De Batiments Publics. It has also teamed up to rebuild the presidential palace (home of former president Rene Preval) and the Ministries of Integral Buildings, Communication, Foreign Affairs and Planning and External Co-operation. On December 27, there was a ceremony to mark the rebuilding of the palace. 


The Presidential Palace seemed almost a mirage in a city of sprawling slums, rickety tin shacks and jury-rigged infrastructure. Before the dome toppled, it was a stately neoclassical building, similar to America’s White House. “We are rebuilding all the public buildings for the government. We are working on a building that used to be the office of the PM. 


Presume produced the designs which were supplied by Taiwan’s Tseng Consultancy Group Incorporated. He also said some of the edifices would include about 800 parking lots and a retail shopping centre boasting about 50 shops. He was optimistic Port-au-Prince would rise like the phoenix from the ashes. 


“We have been making significant progress with housing in areas like Couer de Bouquettes. We plan to launch the construction of close to 20 buildings if everything goes well by 2016,” added Presume.


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