Construction of canal claimed to be intentionally created by Haitians to incite crisis with the Dominican Republic, says Dominican Ambassador
Santo Domingo.- Faruk Miguel, the diplomat representing the Dominican Republic in Haiti, has disclosed that the neighboring country’s foreign ministry informed him that the construction of a canal aimed at diverting the waters of the Dajabon or Massacre River is a private initiative of former interim Prime Minister, Claude Joseph. The purported motive behind this project is to create a crisis between the two nations.
Miguel clarified that the construction of the said canal is not a government-led endeavor but rather an initiative led by prominent Haitian producers under the leadership of Mr. Joseph. The Dominican diplomatic authorities have vehemently opposed this construction since it first commenced in 2016. This opposition led to a meeting of the Bilateral Mixed Commission, attended by both countries’ ambassadors, wherein the Dominican Republic requested documentation and plans for the project to ensure it would not adversely affect the riverbed.
“At that meeting of the Bilateral Mixed Commission of the two countries, it was established that it could not be a canal that diverted the river. Therefore, the document that comes out of that meeting, which is not an agreement, is a document that comes out as a result of what was discussed in the meeting, In a minute, it is established that it is not a canal that diverts the river,” explained Miguel.
During a discussion titled “Dominican-Haitian crisis: origin and evolution,” organized by the Public Policy Research Center (CIPP) and the National News Network (RNN), Miguel disclosed that due to the lack of response and documentation for the project, the Dominican Foreign Minister, Roberto Álvarez, sent a communication to the Haitian Foreign Ministry on June 6, 2021, requesting compliance with the previously agreed terms and the immediate cessation of the construction. This request preceded the tragic assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse.
Miguel noted that the canal builders intend to extract one and a half cubic meters of water per second. In contrast, the aquifer’s bed typically holds three meters in rainy weather and one meter in dry weather. This is why the Dominican government opposes the project, as it poses a threat to the binational river and its ecosystems.
While Miguel stressed the necessity of diplomatic dialogue to resolve this crisis, he highlighted the challenges posed by the lack of institutional stability in Haiti, hindering the creation of conducive conditions for negotiation.