In December, when electoral officials announced the results of Haiti’s presidential election, people rioted. Following much outcry and many accusations of fraud on the part of President Rene Preval’s party, an Organization of American States panel conducted an investigation. The OAS panel recommended election officials drop Preval’s handpicked and deeply unpopular candidate, Jude Célestin, from the upcoming runoff ticket; election officials said they may or may not. So, now you’re up to speed on why the UN, which has a huge peacekeeping force in Haiti, is worried about what’s going to happen tomorrow when election officials finally announce which candidates are advancing to the next round. Check out the memo the UN sent to its in-country staff, below.
To all UN personnel,
SITUATION: The announcement of the result of the presidential elections is expected to take place on Wednesday, 2nd February 2011. This may impact on the security situation in Haiti and on UN staff and operations.
MOVEMENT RESTRICTION: In case the security situation deteriorates a ‘Restrictions of Movement’ may be put in place, which will only allow a few essential movements. Staff members will be not allowed to travel to the beaches or to other leisure locations.
Critical Staff: All designated ‘Critical Staff’ may be requested to stay in the office for several days without having the opportunity to travel to their residence starting morning of the 2nd February.
Therefore, all Critical Staff is requested to make preparations to have their 15Kg Emergency Bag with sufficient supplies, sleeping bag, change of clothing and toiletries at hand.
International and National staff: Those staff members that are NOT determined ‘Critical Staff’ may be requested to stay at their residence until further notice. Staff members must ensure that they have adequate supplies (food, water, and gas, medications) to last for one week at least.
Vehicles: Ensure that vehicles are in good order & fully fuelled and the radio is working. All UN vehicles, especially during the night, have to be parked in secured compounds.
COMMUNICATION: Radios must be monitored at all times.