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7644: Durban Answers the Challenge (fwd)
From: Lance Durban <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Thanks to those few who responded to my challenge to help
President Aristide; I guess the assignment was a little too
tough for most of you. Although conditions in Haiti do appear
grim, it seems to me that President Aristide still holds most of
the cards. Which is another way of saying that performance is
now pretty much up to him, his hand-picked Prime Minister, Mr.
Cherestal, and his largely-controlled legislature. Is good
performance possible? Of course it is, but it needs (1)
management skills that have not yet been demonstrated, and
perhaps even more importantly, (2) the will to get the job done
OK then, I lose points for going slightly over 300 words, but
here are 10 immediate actions for President Aristide to
1. Promise now to not bend the rules to seek a second
consecutive term. Name a single, trusted advisor to handle all
future negotiation with Convergence, with the only
non-negotiable demand being completion of his current 5 year
term. Tell his negotiator to report back when he has something
to sign and not before.
2. Thank supporters, but strongly denounce all acts of violence
perpetrated by people claiming to support him. Encourage
supporters to follow his example and IGNORE the Convergence
3. Make weekly radio addresses to the nation detailing
accomplishments of the past week and plans for the next.
Addresses should not be aimed at his traditional constituency,
but rather to that small middle class...no dumbing down. Goal
is to win the grudging support of people who doubt him, thus
giving him a chance to succeed.
4. Thank the international community and encourage them to help
Haiti by channeling ALL aid through the non-profit sector,
including food aid. Forget foreign loans and international
handouts to the Haitian government. Better to do without and
5. Announce government hiring freeze, and advise all Ministers
to cut their ministry headcounts by 20% by end-April through
voluntary or involuntary terminations. Civil servants not fired
must agree to give up 50% of their salary for the months of May
and June... funds which will be used to cover severance pay for
the 20% terminated.
6. Insist ministries develop formal measurement systems to
evaluate how well they are performing.
7. Announce anti-corruption campaign to crack down on
government bribe-takers. Use sting operations to find examples
and drive the point home.
8. Establish Independent Electricity Board and require EDH
apply for any future increases. Announce major investment in
street lights for poor areas, but warn that un-metered
connections to EDH will no longer be tolerated. Send armed
police support with EDH crews to remove illegal connections
right after the new street light goes in.
9. Initiate program to develop property taxes as the major
source of government revenue, gradually replacing customs
10. Encourage job creation by removing the many layers of
red-tape that presently make Haiti one of the most difficult
places to do business with in the Caribbean.
That should keep him busy for the first 100 days, and would no
doubt antagonize some of his followers. But looking long term,
it would lay the important groundwork for substantial progress
over the course of the next 5 years, and that is what he should
really be focusing on now, in my humble opinion.
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