Thousands of demonstrators take to the streets of Port-au-Prince calling for the re-hiring of fired public sector workers

Submitted by HaitiAnalysis on 25 October, 2006 - 1:41

Port-au-Prince, October 23, 2006 (AHP); Several thousand people, largely supporters of Fanmi Lavalas, demonstrated Monday in the streets of Port-au-Prince to ask the government authorities to work to re-hire the workers who were dismissed from the civil service by the interim government of GĂ©rard Latortue

They said they voted for René Préval with the expectation that their living conditions would improve.

"As Aristide isn't here, it was normal that we would vote for somebody we know well, but our hopes thus far have been disappointed", said the demonstrators.

Other demonstrators said they found it improper that those who kicked them out of the civil service because of their political affiliation and who persecuted them over these past two years are welcomed with open arms by the new authorities while they languish in misery.

The authorities are discussing a plan that would re-hire dismissed workers who have certain qualifications, while others would be compensated and would take part in a training program that would allow them to make good use of the compensation funds they receive.

And individuals lacking the necessary qualifications who were hired under the interim government will also have to participate in the proposed program.

Some protesters considered that this initiative is late in coming and commented that it is in the government's interest to address their concerns as soon as possible.

"We will not stop until our concerns have been addressed", they said, singling out in particular the director general of the National Port Authority, whom they view as hostile to their issues.

The witch hunt that followed the departure of President Aristide particularly affected the national telephone company (Téléco), the National Port Authority (APN), the National Office of Old Age Insurance (ONA) and the General Customs Administration.

Beyond having been sacked, some employees, such as workers at Téléco, were arrested by the interim government because they asked for compensation.

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