Welcome Reception Remarks for Kedenard Raymond, Information Officer

I welcome you and thank you for accepting our invitation this evening. I would like to congratulate you for the important work you are doing in the areas of promoting transparency, justice, and democracy. It is an important role of the press in the development of a country.

We know that it’s not always easy to access information – but your publications reflect your commitment to inform and educate the population. We salute your courage and your determination to safeguard democratic values ​​and the rule of law in Haiti.

The United States considers freedom of the press a key element of democratic governance. By promoting a free press, citizens are more informed, active and engaged in political decision-making, and can better empower their authorities and elected officials to be accountable.

The press plays an important role in society, and it is necessary to establish cooperation between the media and the various institutions of the country to safeguard democracy and the rule of law, and to prevent conflicts of interest.

We reaffirm our support for the freedom of expression and the media who continue to perform their task objectively. There has never been a more important moment for the Haitian media to exercise its crucial role in this dynamic democracy. To serve as a fact checker, to share with the public fair and balanced coverage of the situation as you see it.

Democracy relies on a free and responsible press. A free press is a key element of true democracy, as it informs citizens, and helps them to form opinions on all fundamental issues, including those relating to the management of public affairs and also to fight cases of corruption.

Therefore, the free press is an indispensable tool for all societies that encourage the promotion of human rights. We assure you that we want to work with you and support you in your goals.

In fact, tonight we are gathered to welcome the new Press Attaché at the Embassy, ​​Kedenard Raymond. Kedenard arrived in Haiti two weeks ago. She is very excited to work with you.  I know she will develop very good relations with the press and journalists, since she is fluent in Creole and French.

Kedenard has already served in several positions: She began her career with the State Department in Washington; and then as Consul of the United States in Montreal, Canada; Assistant Press Officer in Islamabad, Pakistan; and then Assistant Public Affairs Officer at the United States Consulate in Peshawar, Pakistan. Before joining us in Haiti, she worked at the Office of International Media Engagement in Washington.

An essential part of our embassy’s program is to communicate with both Haitian organizations and the Haitian people. Through the Office of Public Affairs led by our Public Affairs Counselor, Jeanne Clark, we communicate the policy and work that the United States is doing through our various agencies in the areas of health, governance, health and social affairs, rule of law, security and support to the Haitian National Police. We interact with you to help us better coordinate our programs and our projects with the needs of the Haitian people.

I know that the whole team of our embassy can count on you just like we are always available to answer your queries. We welcome Kedenard and wish her much success.

I would also to present to you four additional colleagues – who have chosen to pursue their careers in Public Diplomacy with the Department of State.  They are Doug Mann, Malikat Rufai, Katrina Springer and Todd Sargent.

Thank you once again for your presence this evening.

Thank you.