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Vision 2053 

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January 26, 2009

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Vision 2053: A Nationalistic Approach of the Haitian Dilemma

Previously published in Le Floridien, 16 – 31décembre 2002

By Dr. Harry Hans Francois PhD., N.D., Dip- CFC., LMHC.

We are in September 2002, and my homeland, Haiti, seems to live the harshest socioeconomic times, perhaps ever experienced in its long history (199 years) of freedom. Of course, there are no clear statistical records available to support my daring opinion. Perhaps, the few statistical numbers held by the United Nations (UN) and Organization of the American States (OAS) might be able to shed the lights on this complex and present dilemma actually facing Haiti, if one is concerned about numbers.

In the course of investigating this situation and, at the same time, attempt to come up with some possible objective approaches to this present and miserable context, which, to me, are clearly produced by the various ineffective, commercial, and governmental policies of yesteryears, the opinions of the experts vividly vary. They seem to range from cultural fatalism, perennial empty governmental short-term projects to cynical social intolerance that Haitians tend to hold in for each other within and/or outside Haiti _ clearly a conglomeration of pseudo social class desiderata. Haitians proudly and feverishly behold the torch of the “First Black Republic of the New World”, and shamefully earned the title of the “Poorest Country per income per capita in the entire Western Hemisphere.” These being said and true, perhaps in this year 2003 coming, the time has come for Haitians to question themselves about the errors of the past in order to put in perspective some objective policies for their own people.

At first, Haitians ought to initiate the praxis of social tolerance, which is the willingness and determination to accept, respect, and bargain for each other regardless of the societal perceptions and social class belongings. Haitians must realize that Haiti is just a small, but important part of the interdependent commercial societies of the world. The falling of the East in 1989 and its consequences on international trades and politics clearly support this statement. It also means for Haitians to redefine their individual (social) identity as a group. In 2003, a letdown in the Haitian cultural patrimony is obvious and on going – a total decadence of social values. Sociologically speaking, they have failed to put together some solid institutions and infrastructures – be it in public and private sectors in order to more or less satisfy the needs of the masses and those of other various segments of the country.

Democracy, whatever form and/or geographical context it is, can only be partially guaranteed with these entities being present because they, in return, create some kinds of balanced employment, social harmony, basic education and health care system for the entire population. The designing and implantation of policies centered on democratic guidelines will probably decrease many vicious attitudes among our fellow citizens, i.e. parasitism, resentment toward neighbors, social tension, various forms of deification, and the probability of future “dechouquages” and/or civil upheavals. These tendencies are somewhat standardized expectations for the citizens of almost every respectable society of this contemporary world. The failure and/or the lack of these basic policies in Haiti, although pathological, appear to fuel the concept of cultural fatalism that has been institutionalized for about 199 years of independence in my country.

When Haitians are being questioned about the future of their homeland, they oftentimes express shame, angst and feelings of no hope. “Not one of these so-called leaders will help the country”, many of them argue. To address these problems, we ought to engage ourselves in serious dialectic dialogues about our own fallacies. Obviously, monologues oftentimes do not help out due to the fact that the last 199 years of these kinds of dynamics have only led us to the practice of self-discrimination, surely the creation of a pseudo and/or zombified intellectual class, the flight to overseas for the lucky ones, and finally the sentiment of despair for the dispossessed and to those unable to flee the country. The year 2003 ought to be the first year of the many future years of reconciliation and empathy toward each other. Let us be moderate and humble to each other in order to regain the pride and morals of yesteryears that are so much needed in order to rebuild Haiti.

Secondly, Haitians need to clean their own house, especially in business dealings. I strongly believe that my fellow countrymen, living in my homeland and abroad, can do it together. They ought to put together their heads and souls and now aim at one goal. A fifty (50) year-project can be formulated as thus: “Beautification and Development of Haiti”. Haitians are indeed misrepresenting themselves when they refer their problems of misconception of taxes, mischief, pseudo social programming and mismanagement of governmental policies to the people next-door and/or the West while the possible solutions can indeed be found at home.

 The state poverty of Haiti cannot only be explained by the West’s fault. In that sense, the psychosocial expression used for such misrepresentation of problems seems to be the same for every minority ethnic and irresponsible group – that of “blaming others, mainly the outsiders for their sociopolitical fallacies”. At home, the failure of successive governmental policies of yesteryears to design and/or implement serious and long term programs in irrigation, health, technical education, roads building, economy and good government business dealing policies appears to be among the causes, and ought to be addressed as soon as possible.

Haitians need to sit down with each other and discuss a 50 year- project incorporating all the components that I have cited before. My homeland is full of rivers and lake water that are going awash to the sea/oceans on a daily basis. Haitian policymakers can surely use these available natural resources (water) to build various small electrical and agricultural plants.

The capital of my homeland is loaded with trash and dead pieces of metal. These piles of trash can be used in various recycling ventures such as paper goods and electricity. Haitian policymakers can perhaps use these dead pieces of metal found all over the streets of Port-au-Prince to build one or two metallurgical plants. The implementation of the last two parts of the project, as part of the 50 year-plan, sounds very ambitious and even daring. Yet, they will surely help in the cleaning of the capital and also in the alleviation of the failing health system.

In economy, Haitians definitely can do better. They ought to get themselves involved in the cultivation and exportation business in order to reduce the consequences of dollar importation. If done properly, it would be seen as a partial solution of the dollar-gourdes flip-flopping market. Consequently, more they import from overseas, more US currency they will need to fulfill their daily exchanges. This is indeed true for every country in the world.

The exportation of coffee, corn, limes, bananas, cacao, brut sugar, mango, cherry, and rhum, very much demanded by US businessmen, can hugely help in decreasing the demand of dollars by the Haitian consumers and businessmen because such dealings will bring them in instead of taking them away. The opposite also stands true as Haitians now engage themselves in importing bananas, sugar, iron bar, cement, flour, and rice etc. to satisfy their daily needs. With this type of economic approaches, Haitians will constantly be desperate for dollars in order to satisfy their needs. Either way, they must reengage themselves in the business of agriculture. Both the state of Haiti and the farmers can do it together with respect to each other.

It is also my personal belief that many money transfer companies such as Hatrexco, Bobby Express, Cam, Unitransfer, etc can financially lend their hands to the economy of Haiti. They can definitely do their transactions directly through the State Bank of Haiti. In return, the state bank will have some flows of dollars rolling through its system on a daily basis. Actually, these companies have become part of the problem by the way they do business, which is keeping almost everything they earn for themselves. They can surely adopt and/or participate in socio-educative projects in partnership with some schools -- be it public or private. Society, as a whole, will benefit from such venture projects, if they are well implemented.

The State of Haiti quickly ought to overturn this primitive way of collective its dues and taxes by cash. Eliminating the method of paying by cash for services rendered and taxation must be definitely voided in this 21st century. It only encourages and enriches the pockets of the “magouilleurs” and some of the impudent directors _ surely not much money goes into the coffers of the state. A money order, personal and teller check sold by a state bank and/or its outlets will simplify the problem and put the state back in charge of its receivable accounts. The leisure currently held by directors to unblock funds must be rethought. Also a system of fixed/specified tariffs and special service taxes must me established not only for all goods exported and imported but also all the services provided by the state. Furthermore, people of a particular region should be able to receive their services at their own locality instead of the capital, which would facilitate services and open the road to decentralization. These steps being taken, the city of Port au Prince will be less congested, and perhaps will become little by little decriminalized.

Lastly, the government of Haiti can now institute a “money order and teller check” only payable to the administration concerned for service rendered instead of cash. As thus, the civic, academic, and social education of the Haitians will somehow begin. Posthumously, I dream of a day that Haitian will understand, empathize, and accept each other as human beings, and also as sons and daughters of one land. Then, the West will begin to respect them, and our ancestors, more especially King Henry Christophe – one of the great Haitian leaders and economists – will smile from their graves......

 Previously published in Le Floridien, 16 – 31décembre 2002


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