Letters & Opinion

Raise up Haiti from its Knees

Image: Death and destruction in Haiti.

By Ronald Sanders

HAITI was due to have elections on October 9 to choose a new President. Even before Hurricane Matthew blasted the country on October 4 with category 4 force winds and a 190-mile outer band of powerful rains, Léopold Berlanger, the head of Haiti’s provisional electoral council (CEP), announced that the restaged presidential and partial legislative elections would be postponed indefinitely.

The Council knew well that the infrastructure in Haiti, such that exists, is too weak to sustain a storm of any magnitude let alone a category 4 hurricane. It was inevitable that the country would be badly battered and brought again to its knees; the only question would be the extent of the extreme damage that would be wrought. Elections for anything would be far from the minds of the majority of Haitian people who live by their wits every day in a country where only 500,000 of its 10.2 million population have permanent employment.

So, it turned out to be. As the interim President, JocelermePrivert, surveyed the country from a US helicopter 2 days after the storm had pulverised much of it, the enormity of the disaster below him would have been hard to absorb, even for Haiti where living in catastrophe has become a way of life. Before Matthew stormed its way across the country, more than 55,000 people were already living in tents and ramshackle homes, compliments of the devastating earthquake of 2010. It is certain that after Matthew’s passage, they were completely desolated. Now there are many, many more in similar circumstances; that is, of those that survived.

The Haitian Interior Minister, Francois Anick Joseph, speaking two days after the 145 mph winds, torrential rain and driving storm surge, said at least 108 people have been killed, but his figures were provisional. Collapsed bridges and damaged telecommunications infrastructure have cut off a large section of the country and hundreds of thousands of people are isolated. But, preliminary aerial assessments indicated that in the south, where the Hurricane stomped hardest, up to 80% of homes lost their roofs. In other areas of the country almost half the homes were damaged. A press statement by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon estimates that “at least 350,000 people need immediate assistance”.

Agriculture crops were also swept away leaving Haiti with an even bigger food crisis than was already existing. 80% of the banana crop in the biggest banana-growing region is destroyed. Those crops support more than 20,000 families. Loss of life and food crops are a direct result of Matthew, but the sting in the Hurricane’s tail will be felt for years to come. This simply piles on more misery on the deprived existence of the majority of Haitian people. An elected President and a working democratic system of government might be the furthest thing from the minds of the Haitian people as, once again, they test their mental resolve and physical stamina in the herculean effort simply to survive. That is understandable. But Haiti needs two things: real and meaningful economic assistance to bring its economy to a sustainable and productive level, and democratic governance with checks and balances on executive power. Elections would be the first step in trying to achieve both those things.

This is the second time that the elections have been postponed after the CEP cancelled a run-off presidential election in January. The January run-off between JovenelMoïse of PartiHaïtienTêtKalé (PHTK, the party of former president Michel Martelly, and Jude Célestin of the opposition Ligue Alternative Pour le Progrés et l’EmancipationHaïtienne (Lapeh) party was cancelled after the latter refused to take part, citing what he called “massive fraud” at the 25 October 2015 first-round election.

Image: Death and destruction in Haiti.
Death and destruction in Haiti.

Célestin is reported to have said the postponement is “a wise decision” while he called for the CEP to announce a new date as soon as possible so that a new president can take office on 7 February 2017 –the date set by the CEP last June. Moïse expressed dissatisfaction with the failure to set a new date, and Jean-Charles Moïse (PlatfòmPitit Dessalines), who finished third in the cancelled October 2015 vote, called for a “fixed date” for the postponed election.

The Organization of American States (OAS) was more realistic. It recognised that in the aftermath of Matthew’s destruction, account has to be taken of “the logistical and technical difficulties”. But, it, too, wants elections to be held as early as possible, because all interested parties, inside and outside Haiti, know that a democratically elected president and parliament are essential to the governance of the much beleaguered country and to the process of negotiating assistance for it.

All the international players – the US, Canada and France particularly – will be pushing for the elections to be held as soon as possible. But, materials for the elections were reportedly destroyed along with buildings in which they were housed. The interim government struggled to put together the means to hold the planned October 9 elections; it will need help to finance proper elections. In this regard, the big players should not again decline to give Haiti the financial assistance required to conduct the elections. Certainly not if they want proper and credible elections that they can stand behind and that the Haitian people will accept. They should pony up the money that is needed.

And, that should be the start of an international resolve to provide a plan for the building of Haiti along the lines of the Marshall Plan implemented in Europe after World War Two. The condition of Haiti is as bad now as some parts of Europe were after the war, and worse than many others. The country cannot be allowed to suffer perennially with little or no hope of escaping the persistent poverty and deprivation that strangles it. Far too many Haitians have died because the international community has refused to own up to its responsibilities.

Haitian politicians, too, must play their part. Democratically elected government that implements best practices in governance would give the international community – governments and non-governmental organisations – the confidence to help Haiti rise up from its knees where it has been for far too long.

Responses and previous commentaries: www.sirronaldsanders.com. (The writer is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States and Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London and Massey College in the University of Toronto)

6 Comments

  1. Ronald:

    I often underscore the victims of the system of white supremacists’ miseducation, with empirical quantities like Peter Josie and Rick John Wayne who for expediency taken on the characteristics of “Zwarte Piet”, the helper of the White Supremacist, Papa Noel.

    The Criminal Pirates of the French Oppressors, extracted every drop of blood from the African People of Haiti for hundreds of years in the name of the white god Jesus. Even as we discuss the monies donated by millions of people to alleviate the sufferings brought about by the Great Earthquake, the children of Lucifer Bill, Hilary, and Chelsea Clinton stole hundreds of millions of dollars(U.S.) from the earthquake victims, building only five shacks, while stealing all the monies donated to alleviate the sufferings of these beautiful African People punished by the White Supremacist, England, France, U.S.A.. and all the Caucasian Countries teaching Black Africans that God is a White Man, for leading a successful rebellion against these oppressors.

    I wanted to elaborate on how these Caucasian Christian Countries have continued to punish the Africans on this island of Hispaniola for wanting freedom from these Caucasian Pirates, but I am unable to focus just now, so I hope I may be able to address this situation another time.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDpwSfNjTWA

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  2. SOM: there you go again. The People of Haiti have once again suffered a devastation and
    as usual, all you have to say is, it’s the white man’s fault, or the white Jesus, or Clinton or
    some imaginary cause, but never, never the fault of the people for their demonic warship
    of Voodoo. It puzzles me why every natural disaster in the Caribbean hits Haiti harder than
    every where else. There is something definitely wrong. They get aid more than any one else
    but there is so much corruption, the poor is left as is. who else gets as much assistance in
    the region, and by whom? not by the rich billionairs in the Desert, the Oil Barrons.
    S.O.M. go on and worship your false God and false demonic prophet and your Voodoo, let’s
    see in the end where you end up, certainly not in heaven. Time for you to change & REPENT.

  3. THE VIRGIL:

    My brother and son-of-Adam THE VIRGIL, I understand very, very well your rhetorical question, “Why does Haiti always suffer the enormous tragedies like Earthquakes and Hurricanes.”

    What is most tragic about your frame of mind, is the obvious self-hatred that the so-called white God is punishing the African people of Haiti and let me include the Lucians who lost lives and property a couple of Christmas Eves ago, for not being “Good Negroes” like Rick John Wayne and Blackface Pete Josie, who are subservient to this naked Caucasian you ignorant slaves believe is God incarnate. (NEGRO : A PRODUCT OF WHITE SUPREMACY)

    LOOK THE VIRGIL! Have you Negroes no dignity ? Teaching your little boys and girls, wives and daughters to kneel in front of a Naked White Man you insane Negroes claim is the God who was killed by the Romans while crying for his daddy to save him – you know, “FATHER, FATHER, WHY ARE YOU NOT HELPING ME/ FORSAKEN ME.

    You Negroes are an abandoned case, seeing how you Negroes are so filled with self-hatred that you would elect an ignorant, lying, Con Man Allen Chastanet to be your leader and be a total INTERNATIONAL EMBARRASSMENT to our Great Lucian People like my First Cousin George Odlum, may Allah have mercy on him and admit him to the Paradise.

    TAKE A LOOK AT THIS, AND WAKE UP FROM YOUR SUSPENDED ANIMATION.

    https://www.facebook.com/BlackHistoryRevealed/videos/444076735795950/

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  4. /

    Surah Al-Kahf/The Cave

    And recite that which hath been revealed unto thee of the Scripture of thy Lord. There is none who can change His words, and thou wilt find no refuge beside Him. (27)

    Restrain thyself along with those who cry unto their Lord at morn and evening, seeking His Countenance; and let not thine eyes overlook them, desiring the pomp of the life of the world; and obey not him whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance, who followeth his own lust and whose case hath been abandoned. (28)

    Say: (It is) the truth from the Lord of you (all). Then whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve. Lo! We have prepared for disbelievers Fire. Its tent encloseth them. If they ask for showers, they will be showered with water like to molten lead which burneth the faces. Calamitous the drink and ill the resting-place! (29)

    Lo! as for those who believe and do good works – Lo! We suffer not the reward of one whose work is goodly to be lost. (30)

    As for such, theirs will be Gardens of Eden, wherein rivers flow beneath them; therein they will be given armlets of gold and will wear green robes of finest silk and gold embroidery, reclining upon throne therein. Blest the reward, and fair the resting-place! (31)

  5. ?

    THE VIRGIL:

    It escaped my mind to mention that if our Haitian Brothers who were raped and pillaged by the Caucasian Christian, LED BY THE FRENCH, ever since the Criminal Columbus built the First Christian Military Fort NAVIDAD on Hispaniola, if they, Haitians, were allowed to live in dwellings not made of corrugated iron/galvanize shacks and Cloth tents and poisoned by the United Nations with Cholera, they like us would be better able to survive the Category-500 Hurricane…..? Hope you get the point.

    But notice Ronald made no mention of the Evil setup by the Caucasian Christian led by the French and Sexual Predator Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary Rodham who stole millions of dollars that was donated to the Africans on Haiti, building only six shacks that they claim cost thirty million dollars.

    NOTICE HOW CONVENIENTLY RONALD LEFT OUT THE CAUSES OF THE DISASTER.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKzartuPq-Y

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    Ronald Sanders:

    Having noticed your totally shortchanging your readers of the realities of the Great African people of Haiti, and the reason they continue to suffer as a result of the Caucasian Christians’ plundering of their blood and labour, led by the despicable oppressors and Mass Murderers the French assisted by England and USA, I think this short topic of Haitians’ History may help remove your willful blindness causing you to write such a superficial article about the sufferings of the Africans of Haiti and never mentioning the Criminal Pirate Caucasian Christians.

    https://www.facebook.com/ashleytheophane/videos/1179453448751905/

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