For Immediate Release

Title: Haiti’s Decentralization Strategy and Priority Sectors Receive a SWIFT Boost as U.S. Naval Vessel and Crew Complete Three Week Mission

Training and reconstruction work by civilian and military teams onboard the HSV SWIFT reinforce capacity building in key areas of health, security and rule of law in Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, March 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — International civilian and military teams aboard the U.S. naval vessel HSV SWIFT have completed their three-week mission of knowledge-sharing and capacity building in Northern Haiti, significantly strengthening the nation in key priority sectors and advancing the Martelly administration’s strategy for decentralization.  Presiding over a ceremony marking the departure of the vessel and crew, Haiti’s Minister of the Interior, Thierry Mayard-Paul, expressed the gratitude of the Haitian government, saying, “Thank you for your training and reconstruction work. This is the cornerstone of what our administration calls community-based decentralization—providing the tools that will enable each and every neighborhood across Haiti to build the basic network of safety, infrastructure and knowledge that will empower that community to generate jobs locally and to better serve the Haitian people.” 

Noting that Northern Haiti is one of the priority regions for U.S. development assistance, Commander Wright, the SWIFT’S mission commander commented, “Over the last three weeks, the ship’s crew, both civilian and military, worked together with our Haitian and international partners in support of the U.S. government’s commitment to help the Haitian people build a better future here.”

While moored in Haiti, at Cap Haitien, the High Speed Vessel SWIFT performed a number of projects aligned with the Martelly administration’s priority sectors: agriculture, infrastructure, rule of law and governance, and health.  Concentrating on health and security, “the SWIFT” crew partnered with the Haitian Ministry of Public Health, the Haitian National Police, and the National Port Authority to increase the capacity to serve the Haitian people. Naval medical specialists conducted seminars with their Haitian medical peers, and Navy Seabee engineers completed four reconstruction projects for medical facilities.

Working to strengthen security and rule of law in Haiti, investigators from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, along with marine and navy security experts, trained with the Haitian National Police and officials from the National Port Authority.  The USMC, in cooperation with the United Nations Police, trained 38 Haitian National Police and Haitian Coast Guard officers at the Chilean Battalion in Cap Haitien. Doctors and medical experts on board the HSV SWIFT conducted Subject Matter Expert Exchanges with doctors from Cap Haitien’s Justinian Hospital.

Members of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service trained the security officers from the National Port Authority (APN) and the Haitian National Police in order to better secure the Port of Cap Haitien, training a total of 40 officers in two weeks.

“In just three weeks you’ve been able to leave an indelible mark in the Northeastern part of Haiti, one that can withstand the test of time and Mother Nature,” commented Mayard-Paul. “Your mission served to improve our physical infrastructure, and made big contributions for knowledge transfer and capacity building, which are at the core of strengthening Haiti’s institutions and advancing decentralization.”