Sunday, March 20, 2011

Haitian presidential election: I am voting (again) for Michel Martelly!

I am voting (again) for Michel Martelly!
By Jean H Charles

I predicted in a previous column that the final round in the Haitian presidential election will be between the two Ms -- Michel Martelly and Mirlande Manigat (Caribbean News Now, November 27, 2010, “I am voting for Michel Martelly”).

I predicted also that the Haitian government, supported by and with the connivance of a sector of the international community, will try to disrupt the proceedings to manipulate the outcome. The acquisitions of the Haitian and of the universal democratic process are so strong that corrections have been made to rectify the results of the election to suit my prediction.

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: 
I am voting again for Michel Martelly in the final proceedings of Sunday, March 20, 2011.

Based on conversations with and observations of the electorate on the ground, I am predicting Michel Martelly will be the winner of the election. My conviction has been validated when, a week before the balloting, a poor young man living in Port au Prince told me he has been saving his meager salary to go back home to Cape Haitian where his electorate card was registered so he can vote for Michel Martelly.

I belong to the small intellectual elite of the Haitian Diaspora and/or homegrown, who should root for Mirlande Manigat. With a doctorate from or enough credits for one, from Sorbonne France, Mirlande Manigat belongs to the cosmopolitan Haitian pack who can teach in or are the students of the best universities of the Western world. She is proud of her knowledge of and experience about constitutional law. She called herself or she is being referred as a constitutionalist.

By contrast, Michel Martelly has no college degree; he completed his Baccalaureate in Haiti, attended courses in community colleges in the United States and has spent a life as a bad boy leading a very popular band throughout the Caribbean community, named Sweet Micky.

Yet I have chosen to cross the railroad yard and join the Haitian electorate in electing Michel Martelly as the next president of Haiti. The choice is visceral as well as cerebral. I am, as Michel Martelly, angry at the state of state of the Republic of Haiti. A country rich in cultural values, historical significance, abundant scenic vista, and a young, resilient and creative population, Haiti should shine in the Caribbean basin as it did during the three hundred years of the colonial era.

Instead it has lagged as a pariah amidst the squalor in the midst of its splendour because of the predatory nature of its successive governments, including the last one, as well as the connivance of a large sector of the international community.

Michel Martelly has an excellent grasp of the needs and of the solution for resolving the Haitian dilemma. He is aware of and plans to implement the Renan principles of nation building:

- Negotiate the incremental withdrawal of the United Nations forces to replace it with a national force of development that will protect the population against disaster, drug transshipment, as well as enhancing the environment.

- Uproot the internal refugees of the earthquake from the fetid camps as well as those who live in the favellas of the cities to root them in their original villages with the institutions and the infrastructure to enjoy and prosper in their beautiful setting.

- Michel Martelly will, last but not least, create a Haiti hospitable to all; free from the cultural traits of exclusion that have been the hallmark of the Haitian panorama for the last two centuries.

Mirlande Manigat has the intellectual capacity to apprehend this reality, yet she has expressed neither for me nor for the electorate the emotion as well the discipline of a rigorous analysis to indicate she has the vision and the strength to deliver?

Haiti, in spite of the saintly resilience and the male courage of its female population, has not been well served by its past pioneer female leaders.

They tend to give away the store too easily.

Ertha Pascal Trouillot, the first female president, opened (in spite of strong dissent within her policy advisory board) the vein for the close intrusion of the United Nations into the internal affairs of Haiti. The jury is still out whether the UN’s record for the past twenty years in Haiti has been a positive one so far!

Michelle Duvivier, the last Haitian female prime minister, has exhibited a loyalty firmer with the outside world than with her own government.

I am voting for Michel Martelly because, akin to the popular vote, I am taking a chance for a complete break with the past. Whether under the dictatorial, the military, the transition or the democratic regimes, the political class that surrounds Mirlande Manigat has found a way to remain the staple of the command chain that has led and continues to lead the destiny of Haiti so far into an abyss.

To the question whether morality has taken a back seat position in endorsing Michel Martelly, I have looked at the candidate in the eyes and asked him that very question? His answer resembles strangely to the question of Jesus to the Pharisees willing to stone the prostitute, while writing on the ground: May the one amongst you who is without sin send the first stone. John 8 verse 1.

“I will apologize when those who left my people without food and water, do so. I will apologize when those who left the detritus on the street for months without consideration for the health and the welfare of the population. I will apologize when those who left the majority of the people in extreme misery while they are running high with the national and international resources!” His anger went up one decibel higher as he was speaking!

A group of Christian ministers who endorsed his candidacy have produced several biblical arguments for doing so: Matthew 21, verse 42: “The stone rejected has become the cornerstone.” They went further to evoke in Corinthians 1 chapter 13, Saul who became Paul: “When I was a child, I acted as a child; now that I am an adult, I act as an adult.”

As in the first round of the electoral process the caesarian procedure towards the true delivery of democracy will be a difficult one. The new baby Haiti that will come out of the electoral operation will be a beautiful one that will grow in wisdom and in prosperity for the glory of the region and for the rest of the humanity.

I was one of the godparents, who were at the baptismal when the party “Reponses Peasants” (the umbrella under which Michel Martelly is conducting his campaign) was created. The party has adopted the vision of inclusion, hospitality and collegiality so often probed in my column. I will be there to ensure that this vision becomes the trend in the nation and in the region.

March 19, 2011