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#5177:Should we analyze+solve or simply blame? Antoine comments (fwd)
From: Guy Antoine <GuyAntoine@windowsonhaiti.com>
Some recent comments (chosen to illustrate my argumentation) :
> Let us be empirical for a while, the numbers show failure: increase in
> insecurity, increase in drug trafficking. Our society is torn apart.
> Our identity is being lost. Do you think this was what the HAITIAN
> POEPLE wanted from its President.
The above begs the question: What has the Preval administration done,
what could it have done, what if anything has it chosen not to do with
the resources at its disposition to address the problems of insecurity
and drug trafficking? What do in fact the Haitian people want from
their president and in what fashion are those needs being prioritized?
It's clearly not enough to say that we have all these problems,
therefore we have a no-good or cynical government. It does not follow.
We need to address issues of responsibility, accountability,
availability of resources, technical know how, management, and
execution. Let's be real! : Problems, there will always be problems.
What about spending some time analyzing what each Haitian individual
should do to reverse those ills? Blaming every ill of the society on
one man is as someone recently said... spitting in the wind. Expecting
René Préval, or Jean-Bertrand Aristide or any other politico to handily
solve all the country's problems for the rest of us is just wishful
> The only way Preval's name would have been written into our
> memory is that he had step-down power after his first or second
> year admitting his incapacity of leading this crumbling country and
> giving another more capable person the role.
And what would this have accomplished other than plunging the
country into even more turmoil? "Capable people", Haiti has them a
dime a dozen. The problem is bridging the gap between capability
and execution. The Prime Minister's job, among other responsibilities,
is to put together a program of social and economic development for
the country. Such a program necessarily requires sacrifices from
individuals and sectors of the population, sacrifices that would lead
to the well-being of the nation. Then comes the matter of political
will from everyone in the Executive, from the President down to
every single public administration manager to make this plan work
in the face of the inertia and downright resistance that will follow.
No one likes to pay taxes, for instance, but in politically more
advanced societies, can we afford not to? Haiti has become a
country whose chief intellectual product is "opposition" at e-a-c-h
and e-v-e-r-y turn. We get involved in an orgy of political power
plays that become the fascination of the world. It's comparable to
watching "Survivor" on TV. When positives happen, we deny them.
When negatives happen, we exploit them. It is so much easier to
focus on the failings of ONE individual, rather than examining just
what prevents our political and administrative system from the
successful execution of even moderate social objectives.
Analyze the problems separately, determine with your peers what
you think the solution should be, and then lobby the Executive and
the Legislative branches for consideration, adoption, and execution.
Do consider also that often times, many of the problems can be
addressed individually and collectively without the direct intervention
of the government. Before saying "Preval has not done anything",
the first question should be: "What have we done ourselves?"
In Haiti, there are so many basic questions that need to be addressed.
To name just a few:
1) On language. If indeed the Haitian language (Creole, Kreyňl,
Ayitian, Ayisyen) is the National and Official language of the
country, why is it that the government does not make systematic
use of Haitian (Creole) in ALL government functions? If there
are some logistical problems that prevent its use, then let's attack
the problems and show some consistency in doing so.
2) Public utilities: Water, electricity, telecommunications. These
are not philosophical issues. Everyone can grasp the problem,
when you are deprived of water, electricity, and a functioning
telephone line. Regardless of who happens to be president, we
need to establish a system of accountability. Having to pay for
services not rendered is a practice that needs to be abolished
yesterday. It is an absurdity. Why has it become the norm in Haiti?
3) Child Labor. We do have laws on the books that have never
been implemented. But more to the point, and leaving the
government's responsibility aside for a minute, what have we done
individually and collectively to stop the abuse of child domestics
in Haiti, or in our own families?
Well, I could of course go on and on, but this is not the purpose
of this particular note. What I wanted to point to is this: Rather
than automatically blaming all of Haiti's ills on whoever happens
to be President, why don't we analyze the problems, think of
solutions, and take some personal responsibility to address those
issues? We could also dress up a list of our concerns, and ask
every would-be candidate in Haiti JUST HOW he or she is going
to address those problems, and in what time frame does he or she
seriously expect to see some tangible improvements in the matter.
Every time someone says "I oppose", we should respond "What
do you propose?"
Imagine KNOWING clearly what even the major opposition
parties in Haiti are about, what they stand for, what interests
they advocate, what solutions they proffer, OTHER THAN
the politics of personality and "Ote toi que je m'y mette"
(Abdicate at once... so that I assume this office!)
This is not meant to diminish the role and responsibilities of the
Executive in Haiti, nor is it a defense of a government or a
political party. This is an indictment of our usual mode of
thinking and the way we practice politics in Haiti; the ever
present readiness to say "This person is not worth a damn",
rather than a true assessment of the positives and the negatives,
and looking to solutions rather than personalities.
Guy S. Antoine
Windows on Haiti