US Southern Command to Build Humanitarian Projects in Haiti: Sinking Teeth Deeper into the Country?

Posted on May 12, 2011


For a long time, I have thought that part of Haiti’s attraction for the US is the country’s strategic location. It makes an ideal “jump out” spot to get to other places quickly. Most obvious are two nearby countires of interest to the US — Cuba and Venezuela. The Southern Command says it’s building 58 humanitarian projects to be located throughout the country. While many of these projects may be humanitarian in nature, I bet many will be of dual-purpose; when not being used for emergencies, the Command will most likely use them for military operations which will be of no benefit to the people of Haiti and may be dangerous for countries nearby.


News: Groundbreaking marks beginning of Haiti construction program

U.S. Southern Command Public Affairs

LES CAYES, Haiti – U.S. Southern Command broke ground, May 9, in Les Cayes, Haiti to mark the beginning of construction of 58 projects that are part of the SOUTHCOM Humanitarian Assistance Program. The projects are located throughout Haiti to assist the country in preparing for any future natural disasters.

The ceremony took place at the site of two contracts. The first consists of a 4,000-square foot Emergency Operations Center and a 4,800-square foot Disaster Relief Warehouse that will provide the Regional Department of Civil Protection the ability to coordinate and effectively respond to emergencies and provide necessary relief to the Haitian people. The lead contractor is GDG Benton & Construction from Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

The second contract is a community cluster which consists of an eight-classroom school, community center, medical clinic and water well. The community cluster provides much needed facilities to the local population but will also function as evacuation centers in the case of hurricanes or other natural disaster. The lead contractor is Palgag Building Technologies from Kibutz Gaash, Israel.

“Through the construction of these emergency operations centers and disaster relief warehouses, the U.S. Government seeks to strengthen the capacity of the Haitian Government to protect its people, and in doing so, reduce Haiti’s vulnerability to natural disasters,” said the U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Kenneth H. Merten.

The two projects commenced during the groundbreaking total $2.9 million and are scheduled to be completed in November and September 2011, respectively.

Participants in the groundbreaking ceremony were The Honorable Kenneth H. Merten, U.S. Ambassador to Haiti; Antoine Bien Aime, Minister of Interior, Government of Haiti; Kevenor Estinvil, Departmental Delegate, Government of Haiti; Cmdr. John Reed, Senior Defense Official, U.S. Embassy; Yvon Cherry, Mayor of Les Cayes; Lt. Cmdr. Luis Holkon, resident officer in charge of Construction Haiti, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast; Yoav Zilber, Regional Manager, Palgag Building Technologies, Ltd.; and Sony Gay, Vice President, GDG Benton & Construction, S.A.

Overall, the $31 million SOUTHCOM HAP projects will construct an EOC and DRW in each of the 10 Haitian departments (analogous to States); 10 fire stations; and eight community clusters throughout Haiti. Construction of the Haiti HAP projects are expected to continue until the end of fiscal year 2012.

ROICC Haiti was established by NAVFAC Southeast in November 2010 as a forward-deployed field office to administer the Haiti HAP construction projects. They currently manage eight multi-project contracts in Haiti, with an additional 10 contracts to be awarded prior to September 2011. Besides ROICC Haiti, a robust team of Project Managers, Architects/Engineers, Contract Specialists and others diligently support the Haiti HAP projects back at NAVFAC’s Facilities Engineering Command in Jacksonville, Fla.