Saturday, April 3, 2010

Thank you, the world, on behalf of the people of Haiti!

By Jean H Charles:

An unprecedented event happened on Wednesday at the United Nations in New York. Some one hundred countries sent their Ministers of Foreign Affairs or their Ambassadors to pledge their contributions to the earthquake stricken Haiti.

As in a Baptist church, each nation stepped up to present its envelope to the Speaker on behalf of Haiti. At the end of the day some ten billion dollars was raised for the Haitian people who are still in the mud in the refugee tents of Port au Prince and in the rural hamlets in the mountains of Haiti, deprived of any modern infrastructure.

Jean H Charles MSW, JD is Executive Director of AINDOH Inc a non profit organization dedicated to building a kinder and gentle Caribbean zone for all. He can be reached at: jeanhcharles@aol.comThis unexpected global response on behalf of Haiti moves me personally; the people of Haiti should know the entire world is on their side.

The speeches by the delegates were in unison, praising the resilience and the patience of the Haitian people. They deserve a helping hand.

Will it be trickling down to those in most need? It was the underlying issue expressed by the Chinese representative, who contributed only one million dollars to Haiti. I shared my surprise to the Chinese diplomat sitting near by me in the hall of the United Nations.

He told me China is concerned about management and transparency at all levels: the Haitian government, the United Nations, the Red Cross, etc.

He added we have been able to raise the welfare of some 800 million Chinese to the middle class level in less than a generation (25 years) without asking or borrowing one cent!

He said further, helping the nine million Haitians arrive to an income from $1 to $100 a day is a child’s game if only we have a minimum of diplomatic relationship with Haiti!

The enthusiastic response indicates the nations of the world are ready to offer more than money at the donor’s conference. It is important to encapsulate the energy into resources that can be utilized to bring about growth to Haiti.

The nations of the world are at an impasse; the Haitian government has failed to provide a minimum coordinating unit that would facilitate the delivery of services to the refugees. Yet in deference to the Haitian government, the foreign allies have hesitated to create an effective coordinating unit.

In the end the victims are the Haitian people who are still in the mud in spite of the outpouring of love and support from the whole world.

To solve this issue, I would propose a strategic winnable solution. The country of Haiti a nation of nine million people is divided into ten departments or ten states.

To facilitate the delivery of services in the face of the compounding problems, it would serve the Haitian government and the donating countries to divide Haiti into three clusters of three million people each for the purpose of coordinating the rescue and the resettlement process.

The Northern part of Haiti that include the departments of the North, North East and North West, the Artibonite and the Center, with approximately three million, would be shepherded by Canada, leading the role of a quarterback, with other countries attaching themselves to that main branch.

The second branch of quarterback would be played by the United States helping the western part of the country that includes the capital city, Port au Prince, to move from a desperate situation to some normalcy. The United States would call on other countries to plug themselves into the aid movement.

Last but not least, France would coordinate the southern part of Haiti that includes South-east, Nippes, South and Grand Anse. Akin to the other quarterbacks, France would call on any other nations that want to help in that venture.

Those countries -- Canada, United States and France -- have been chosen because of their affinity with Haiti. They all have a large Haitian Diaspora that can play a crucial role in facilitating the development of the country.

This division of labor would have the convenience of not offending the sovereignty of the Haitian people and the sensitivity of the Haitian government.

It would place some coordinating responsibility into the hands of the quarterback nations, while leaving the moving force to the Haitian government and to the Haitian people.

It would provide immediate relief and start the decentralization process of the Haitian nation. It is a win-win solution that can and should satisfy all parties.

Next September, the United Nations promised to call on the parties again to review the job done; this time instead of announcing, as the United States has done, successive grants totaling 4 billion dollars since 1990 with no visible signs of results, the Haitian government along with the three quarterbacsk will stand up to report on a job well done.

To arrive at that result, a minimum of 3 million dollars should be spent in each one of the 150 small towns along with their rural hamlets. This financial structural engagement has not been done since the nation was born two hundred years ago. It would provide, in addition to the wireless internet -- a pet project of Bill Clinton -- clean water, decent housing, elementary education, clean sewers, and paved streets to a nation thirsty for a modern standard of living.

The earthquake on January 12, 2010 has pulled out from the underground a little dirty secret of the Haitian ethos. A proud daughter of Lady Liberty, Haiti has turned into a de facto apartheid system, where the majority of its citizens live in almost abject poverty similar to their ancestor’s time during the slavery era.

Since it has been discovered, the problem of Haiti is now the world’s problem. The trio of quarterbacks will have to help Haiti with that fault line by facilitating a culture of a shared vision of the future amongst all the citizens.

The Haitian people, so patient and so resilient, would be on their way to having a decent job, a roof that would not fall on their head, potable water to drink, children happy and well fed, who learn in school, young men who give up the gang culture because they are learning a trade. This Haiti is possible if only a minimum of strategic coordination is implemented after this biblical outpouring of love and support.

Note: The map of Haiti with the delimitation of the catchments area of each cluster.