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29318: Durban (comment) re 29309 Raber on Gov't Vehicles (fwd)

From: Lance Durban <lpdurban@yahoo.com>

Durban adds to Raber's comments on vehicles for Haitian Gov't

The 89 year old Durban family patriarch visited Haiti from upstate NY
recently and was amazed at the poor state of Haiti's city streets
(Port-au-Prince/Petionville/LaBoule):  Huge potholes that positively
destroy cars.  What kind of democracy is this you have here, he asked?
Don't voters insist that their elected officials get the streets paved?
 Doesn't any self-respecting senateur make civic improvements in his
district a priority?  It would seem that his own self-interest (in
getting re-elected) ought to help get the job done.  Just think of the
huge cost that Haitians must pay in car repairs, tires, springs, etc.

What could I say?  Those of us in Haiti who have learned to navigate
around the existing potholes have it pretty easy of course;  we only
need to be on the lookout for the NEW (hence, unexpected) potholes.
But still, when you listen to Haitian elected officials going on about
what kind of cars they should be assigned (at public expense), you
realize that democracy in a country like Haiti perhaps isn't going to
work.  The concept of taking what you can while you are in a position
of power is just too ingrained.  This has nothing to do with Aristide,
Latortue, or Preval.  It has everything to do with culture, and how
does one go about changing that?  Indeed, any foreigner who suggests
that maybe a new way of thinking is needed is going to be roundly
criticized for unwarranted interference or trying to impose some new
form of imperialism.

Unfortunately, many qualified Haitians who are themselves disgusted by
the public performance steer well clear of public office, leaving the
field to what we got (sigh).

Lance Durban