* Promises change, asks Haitians, donors to trust him
* Faces high expectations in quake-shattered country
* Conch shell trumpets, power outage mark inauguration
(Recasts with Martelly inaugural speech, details)
By Joseph Guyler Delva
PORT-AU-PRINCE, May 14 Haiti's pop star-turned-president, Michel Martelly, asked his people on Saturday to
join him in rebuilding their poor, earthquake-ravaged nation
and said he would work to provide jobs, health and education.
"Haiti was sleeping and today Haiti is waking up ... that's
the mandate you gave me and, trust me, things will change," the
charismatic shaven-headed former entertainer said in his first
speech after taking the presidential oath of office.
A big crowd roared approval of his words in Creole as they
pressed against the railings of the crumbled white-domed
presidential palace that was badly damaged in last year's
devastating earthquake that killed over 300,000 people.
Speaking under a pavilion erected on the palace lawn,
Martelly, 50, who is known as "Sweet Micky" and had no previous
government experience, stressed the populist promise of change
that swept him to victory in a March 20 presidential runoff.
"Hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder, we're going to change
Haiti, rebuild this country to make it stronger," he said. His
speech was heralded by a ceremonial blowing of conch shells,
the crude trumpets used by the black slaves who rose up in a
revolt that led to Haiti's independence from France in 1804.
In the small but volatile Caribbean nation with a history
of revolts and dictatorships, the inauguration marked the first
time a democratically elected Haitian president handed over
power to a freely elected leader from the opposition.
Newsmaker on Martelly: [ID:nN13290721]
Martelly also sought to reassure foreign donors who have
pledged more than $10 billion -- most of it still undelivered
-- for Haiti's reconstruction. He promised security and
guarantees for investments and private property owners.
Shouldering the daunting task of reconstruction in one of
the world's poorest and most disaster-prone countries, Martelly
earlier donned the red and blue presidential sash in a
prefabricated U.N.-supplied structure erected on the site of
the old parliament building destroyed in the 2010 earthquake.
Reflecting the rebuilding challenges facing the nation, a
power outage left the swearing-in ceremony in semi-darkness.
'A NEW START'
Among supporters at the inauguration was fellow musician
and Haitian-American hip-hop star Wyclef Jean, who said
Haitians were enthused by Martelly's dynamic promise of
"It means a new start ... the people want education not
handouts. Now they have a leader who will mobilize then," Jean
told Reuters, comparing Martelly's election victory with that
of U.S. President Barack Obama in November 2008.
In his inaugural speech, Martelly repeated his promises to
transform Haiti from a development basket case into a new
Caribbean destination for investment and tourism that will
provide jobs and better lives for its 10 million people.
"We need to build a Haiti where health is not a luxury, a
Haiti that is not made of slums," he said, adding he would also
work to provide free education to every Haitian child.
Managing high expectations, especially from the hundreds of
thousands of destitute quake survivors who need jobs and homes,
will be one of his biggest challenges. [ID:nN13160765]
Martelly, who proposes restoring Haiti's disbanded army to
eventually replace the more than 12,000 U.N. peacekeepers in
his country, said he would not tolerate unrest or violence.
"No more kidnapping, no more violence against women, no
more injustice," he said, ordering the police and judicial
system to take a tough line against offenders.
Joining outgoing President Rene Preval at the inauguration
ceremony were the presidents of Dominican Republic, which
shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, Honduras and
Suriname, as well as other Caribbean leaders and
representatives of major donor nations.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, the U.N. special envoy
to Haiti, led the U.S. delegation. Foreign Minister Alain Juppe
Martelly won a popular mandate in a sometimes turbulent
election protected by U.N. peacekeepers. The vote was steered
through by the international community led by the United
States, which persuaded local electoral officials to rectify
several suspected fraud cases.
Among other challenges facing Martelly is a seven-month-old
cholera epidemic that has taken nearly 5,000 lives since
October and is still killing sick Haitians. There is a threat
the approaching rainy season could revive it.
(Writing by Pascal Fletcher; Editing by Peter Cooney)