I’ve never been the president of any country and the way it’s looking now, I probably will never be a “Commander in Chief”. However being of Haitian decent and watching Haiti and her citizens swim in the bowels of poverty and despair breaks my heart and mars my pride.
Let’s face it, if sitting around and discussing Haitian politics with other Haitians and with persons of non-Haitian decent was going to “fix” Haiti, Haiti would no longer be in disarray. As such, I feel compelled to provide a few suggestions. Actually I want to provide a Five Point Plan. So former Haitian Presidents, if you happen to read this, or hear about it, please don’t be insulted. If while reading, you get pangs of uneasiness and embarrassment just remember that none of your predecessors never gave the impression of having or implementing a viable plan either, and as such Haiti has been swimming in a sea of corruption, poverty and hopelessness for over 200 years.
…So here goes… First and foremost, Haiti has to establish and maintain a strong foundation for the rule of law. It has to be unequivocally understood and firmly established that the rule of law, this includes a competent police force and a fair and impartial judiciary, must be the foundation for any plan, if that plan is to work and if that plan is to be sustainable. Why?-because laws are what govern and ensure security, sustainable and fair commerce, conformity and democracy and the fundamental rights associated with it; all factors that are needed if Haiti is going to thrive.
Second, start working on the infrastructure. Safe and paved roads in and out of the Capital are a must. Paved roads assist with easy ingress and egress in and out of Port-au Prince, stimulate intra-province commerce which in turn alleviates poverty and averts overcrowding which diminishes the problems associated with over population; inadequate housing, poverty, crime, cleanliness and traffic congestion. A reliable source of electrical power is also compulsory, both within and outside of the Capital. Electricity is currently the link to almost all modes of communication, production, modern machinery and conveniences. As such, without a reliable source of energy progress is close to impossible.
Third hospitals, Haiti needs clean well-built hospitals. Haitian citizens need an affordable place where they can go if they are ill. It should be the government’s goal to have at least one major state of the art health care facility in all of the provinces. I also suggest having an international team at hand at these hospitals to initially train and monitor local staff.
Fourth education, education is a must if Haiti is going to compete in the global market and preserve a sustainable economy. Haiti needs an entirely free public school system, where teachers and administrators are monitored to ensure compliance with various educational standards as well as safety, health and sanitary standards. There should be at least one primary and one secondary school in all neighborhoods that are accessible, on foot, by all students living in that particular neighborhood. Paying carfare for children to attend school can become extremely burdensome for families who are just scraping by.
Last but definitely not least, Haiti needs a brand. Find something that Haiti can provide that will keep her citizens working and the rest of the world asking for more. For instance, India is known for its Information technology prowess and China, although I’m not always on board with the quality of goods produced and the way they treat their workers, is the “go to” country for manufacturing. Possible avenues for Haiti are sports training, hospitality and hospitality training, and the arts. Whatever the brand may be, the goal is that when someone or some entity thinks of “it” they turn to Haiti.
This plan is very basic at best, and serves as a blue print for all of the work needed. However it is relevant and necessary because the current Administration seems to be focusing on commerce and investments without focusing on the factors that I have mentioned. Although commerce and investments are needed, and will definitely help Haiti’s current situation, they are not a means of long term sustainability. They simply provide a mere band-aid for a deep and festering wound. It’s been over 200 years. It’s time for Haitians to plan their work and work their plan. Let’s Get Started!