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#4796: On Defense of the Ayitian State: Poincy replies to Ulysse


Gina Ulysse said:

“Having electricity, drinking water, phone, transportation, sanitation and 
medical facilities etc. is not development or even modernization. They are 
basic human needs that ought to exist and should have been provided by the 
state. As we all know, historically the Haitian state has never had any sense 
of responsibility to most of those outside of the capitol. Very early, it 
positioned itself against the rest of the nation. I'm of the perspective that 
development anywhere is predicated upon having a state that sees itself as the 
provider of such necessities. Once those are in place, let's talk about 
developing or modernizing what already exists. Again for me at the heart of 
these concepts (both in theory and way too often in practice) are biased 
standards that have, more often than not, undermined, devalued and exploited 
local resources.”

Thinking that the State should provide these basic necessities is a very 
paternalistic It relieves the privates from their duties or obligations to 
improve their well being. The State involvement is to prevent negative 
externalities by regulating the privates’ behaviors. This is where monopolies 
in these areas draw their beauty at the starting point of community 
development. The State is simply a regulator and not a provider. 

The State comes into play only to assist those who, due to their inherent 
inability to earn a buck, can’t afford providing for themselves such 
necessities. Again it does so through subventions or public assistance. We have 
to keep in mind that the State is not a producer (strictly speaking). Hence, it 
is incapable of generating its own revenue. It gets its revenue from private 
activities through taxes and fees which it uses to assist those in dire needs 
or initiate public projects, such as transportation for the privates to take on 
at a later stage, or enter in a form of partnership with the privates. In the 
Ayitian State where private activities are moribund, there is no way these 
necessities can be provided. The Ayitian simply does not have a revenue base. 
Foreign borrowings just don’t cut it.

To call on the Ayitian State to provide these necessities is quite unfair as it 
gives the privates a means to ignore their moral obligations. It is also an 
unfair accusation to say that “very early it (Ayitian State) positioned itself 
against the rest of the nation.”  We have to dissociate the State from those 
running it and no attempt should be made to confuse the two. Yes! Those at the 
wheel early on did the exact thing Ulysse’s statement says and we know they 
were the mulattos; later on the blacks followed suite. I make this remark to 
show that there is nothing to fix with the State itself. The people on the 
wheel need to be fixed. 

Once we have strong, conscious and well intended leaders to carry on the duties 
of the Ayitian State, as an assistant, a regulator, monitor and security guard, 
those basics necessities will be provided by the private themselves.  They are 
the ones in closer contact with their communities and are much more able to 
assess their needs than a distant national body could. This is a more viable 
option to make concrete any form of community development. That’s the 
contractarian perspective which is more hopeful than the paternalistic one. The 
latter is from the old school and with communism in full fledge it proved to be 
a failure as it was far to resolve the pain of mankind. Today small communities 
can flourish in light of the former if the privates take matter in hand and 
don’t except the State to provide this and that, other than performing that the 
functions it was created for. 

Ayiti has lived, lives and will live

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