PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (HCNN) -- Haiti's highest authorities attended on Saturday the official funeral of the seventeen revelers killed following an electrical accident on the carnival parade road earlier this week, prompting the Caribbean country's government to end prematurely the 3-day yearly cultural event. ¬†¬†
Haitian president Michel Martelly, Prime minister Evans Paul and members of the cabinet attended the funeral of those who died in an accident after a high-voltage power line hit a float shortly before 3:00 AM on Tuesday as the second of the 3-day carnival was coming to a close.
"We thank the first lady [Sophia Martelly]for the initiative she took to set up the health facility that helped save lives," said Paul. "The death toll could have been heavier," he Stated.
Prime minister Paul -- who also congratulated the police and other first aid and rescue agents for their good work -- assured that the government is doing all it can to improve the general situation in the country and to make sure such misfortune does not happen again.
"We are fighting to build a better Haiti where such misfortune can be avoided," he said. "It is question today of a national tragedy, it is not a political event," stated Paul, urging all Haitians to transform into action the carnival slogan this year which was "We are all Haiti". ¬†
The top government official explained that the current administration will continue to accompany parents and relatives and the victims, as well as the injured. He also called on all Haitians to continue to show the same good behavior, after the tragic event.
"In good times and in bad times, we are all Haiti," added Paul who spoke on behalf of the government.
At first, authorities said 18 people were killed and 76 injured. However, the minister of Communication Rotchild Francois Jr. explained later that there was an error. The right figure was 17 deaths.
Representatives of the musical groups that participated in the carnival also attended the funeral and urged all Haitians to unite in solidarity with the victims and the rest of the Haitian people that want change in the country.
"What happens should make us understand further how fragile is life and how important it is to do as much and as good as you can while you are still breathing," Joseph Zenny, band leader of Kreol la group, told Haitian-Caribbean News Network (HCNN) on Saturday.
"And this should tell us also how important it is for all of us to come together beyond our differences to move this country forward," Zenny explained.
Zenny said music artists "want to help get the message across so that politicians and others understand the need to join hands together to change the country and improve living conditions of all Haitians." ¬†
"When a misfortune as this one happens, you don't know what to tell mothers and families who lost loved ones," he said. "But we tell them courage, and we will be by their side in this difficult time," Zenny told HCNN.