News from Haiti

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

An Interview with Charles Henri Baker – Monday, February 6, 2006

Reporter: Why are you taking this risk to run for President of Haiti?

Baker: I have one country, and four children. I don’t plan on living any place else. I love my country, I love the Haitian people. I’m proud to be a candidate for public office in Haiti.

Reporter: What is your platform for governing?

Baker: Our philosophy is Order, Discipline, Work and, above all Respect. We need Order and Discipline so we can create jobs. We will respect the Constitution, the rule of law and each other.

Reporter: What do Haitians think about the motto “Order Discipline Work Respect?"

Baker: The elections will show what the people think. Haitians are tired of no law, no order, no discipline, and no respect.

Reporter: What does the country need most?

Baker: Security is our biggest need. We’ve lost thousands of jobs and many lives from the insecurity. When we address the problem of security, we will begin to grow again. We will help the Haitian peasant immediately and provide them with the means to produce more food. We will open agricultural credit banks to increase production and efficiency. Through agriculture, we can create jobs throughout the country, and bring down the cost of living since much of our food is currently imported.

Reporter: Has the light complexion of your skin been a factor in these elections?

Baker: No, not at all. It hasn't been an issue in our campaign. Haiti is in trouble, and one doesn’t look at the color of the hand that wants to help. Charles Baker keeps his word, and the people know that. Haitians admire that. I stand for honesty, courage, and positive change for the country—this is what the Haitian people want.

Reporter: Do you support continued presence of UN forces?

Baker: Yes, I think we will need the UN for a period of time, but not forever. A maximum of two years. We’ll have to beef up the police force and restore the army. According to our Constitution, the police have their job to do, and the army has its job. We need a modern army with a corps of engineers and a medical corps.

Reporter: How are you different than Rene Preval?

Baker: Preval was President and he did nothing good for Haiti. I have been in business for 30 years; I’m a farmer and I’ve been in commerce and industry. I have been successful. I have solid ideas about how to create jobs and prosperity.

Reporter: Will Haiti’s elections be fair?

Baker: We hope that they will. We will have 12,000 observers throughout the country to monitor the fairness of the elections.

Reporter: Do you look at yourself as a new hope for Haiti?

Baker: Haiti wants an honest president, with the courage and vision to save the country. A president with the knowledge to create jobs and to move the country forward. People want a better life. They want clean water and reliable electricity. They want to send their children to good schools and they want good health care. I’m the only who has made my money outside of politics. I have a track record of success and of helping people. It’s important that I do my part.

Reporter: If you lose the elections, will you leave Haiti? What will you do?

Baker: No, I’m not going anywhere. Haiti is my home. I’ve been fighting democracy for thirty years. And I’ll continue to fight for what I believe in.

Reporter: Where will you vote?

Baker: My wife and I will vote near our home. We’ll try to get there early, and I hope that we’ll be among the first people to vote.

Reporter: And what are your plans for tomorrow?

Baker: We’ll vote, and then we’ll come back to the office where we will await the decision of the voters.