Critical Haiti gas terminal freed after weeks of talks with G9 gang leader Michel Martelly
(CNN) — Haiti’s government on Saturday issued a formal statement expressing good will toward the country’s embattled president in the wake of a surprise deal to free the country’s largest natural gas distribution facility in a week of negotiations with former gang leader Michel Martelly, who had been considered a key figure for Prime Minister Duvalier.
A man inspects the Caneel de Tchibanga gas storage facility in the Dominican Republic.
“We are pleased that our president has been able to overcome the challenges to find an agreement with one of the most significant political actors in Haiti,” the statement said as part of the deal.
“To our president, thank you for your courage and commitment.”
As CNN obtained its copy of the statement shortly before its release, the former gang leader had already expressed regret over the fate of the natural gas terminal, which he had wanted to reopen in the town of Caneel de Tchibanga.
“We have always considered it our responsibility to be loyal to our homeland, and I am especially grateful that this decision has been taken so immediately,” he said.
“It was a difficult decision, but for which I am very grateful,” he continued.
“I have never refused to act according to the will of the people,” he went on. “The people of Haiti want their natural resource as an abundant source of wealth and prosperity. I have always accepted the people’s choice, even if we have not always agreed.”
Weeks of negotiations
The deal came after months of talks, during which Martelly had sought to reopen the terminal but was rebuffed by Duvalier’s government, who did not give him permission.
The deal comes as Haiti faces a deepening economic crisis, as a global banking scandal has left the country struggling to service its massive debts and as the humanitarian and economic needs of the nearly 3 million people displaced by the earthquake have been greatly exacerbated due to the disaster’s impact on the country’s infrastructure, as well as the country’s weak infrastructure.
Haiti spent $100 million on building the terminal, part of an agreement signed by former President Renner and