MY POSITION ON THE CIPHA SOUNDS CONTROVERSY

People have been asking me to position myself on the Cipha sounds stupid and ignorant remark, where he said: “The reason I’m HIV negative is because I don’t mess with Haitian girls.” So, after thinking about it for days, I think I am ready now to come out of my silence to position myself.

It is always the same ineffective routine –getting infuriated and protesting for a few days -whenever we are being wrongly talked about, treated or discriminated against as a community. We need to change gear. We cannot be using the same ineffective approach over and over hoping to see better results.

I am not condoning the ridiculousness he had spewed out on the air last Friday about Haitian women on his show on Hot 97 WQHT, but I think, to some degree, we are allowing ourselves being distracted and not focusing on the things that really matter -the survivability and sustainability of our people.

The man had made a stupid joke, and he apologized for it. I saw the apology clip on Youtube. Without being judgmental, I think he was sincere. If he knew he was going to face so much heat for the controversial statement, I guarantee you he would have not made it.

Yes, putting pressure for him to be fired is okay, but how is that going to help cure the discriminatory disease going against us? He dropped the bomb already, and the damage has already been done. Having him fired will not take away the fact that our beloved Haiti is being constantly called the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere; having him fired is not going to efface the inhuman situations our people are living in back home; having him fired is not going to get the victims of the earthquake out of the tent cities; having him fired is not going to get Preval out of the leadership of the country; getting him fired is not going to get MINUSTAH out of the country; getting him fired is not going to address the cholera epidemic killing our people back home.  

This is a disease going against us, and Cipha’s stupid and ignorant remark is only the manifestation of that disease. Let us not get distracted by the symptoms. To cure the disease, we must use a causatic approach, not a symptomatic one. If our only focus is to take care of the symptoms while leaving the root cause of the disease untouched, we are doing nothing but cheating ourselves. In other words, we are jerking ourselves off for a quick psychological ejaculation.

The reason why he and many others before him could make those stupid, ignorant, disgusting and incendiary remarks about us is because we are a weak community, though we have potentials to be a strong one. We are not using our strengths effectively. This is the materialization of the “kabrit gade je met kay avan l rantre” philosophy.  

What we need to do now going forward is to GET THE DIASPORA ORGANIZED so that we don’t have to deal with another stupid, ignorant and ridiculous remark again from anybody. ONLY THROUGH A STRUCTURED COMMUNITY CAN WE BE STRONG, POWERFUL AND RESPECTED!!!

WHAT ARE YOU GIVING HAITI FOR CHRISTMAS?

Earlier today, I twitted: “What are you giving Haiti for Christmas?” My friend Zaffa asked me for suggestions, which basically pushed me to write this piece. Some of you promised to give her clothes, money, bags of food, etc… Those are great!!! However, I think we can and must use a much better approach since we have been giving her those things every year and nothing has changed really. The reason for that is because those things are perishables. We need to be giving her durable goods.

The future of Haiti lies in the hands of the Diaspora. We outside the country are the only chance Haiti has, and we cannot afford not to deliver effectively and efficiently.

We are the brain and backbone of Haiti. In other words, we represent Haiti’s central nervous system; we are the reason why she is still standing, breathing and alive.

Let’s picture this battle-fighting metaphor to grasp the point for effective and durable action I am making. Haiti is on the battlefield fighting for her life, and the Diaspora is the only round she has in the magazine of her weapon to fire and make a difference; the enemy is furiously approaching. This has got to be a one-shot-one-kill type of situation. She must aim, shoot and annihilate the enemy. That’s how eminent the Diaspora is for her survivability and sustainability.

The question is now this: how can we transform the dormant Diaspora into a change engine to bring about the necessary changes our country Haiti desperately needs?

Right about now, we are scattered like a shattered glass. With such an outlook, there is no way we can be as effective in our delivery as we should. So it has become a matter of urgency to reconstruct and restructure the Diaspora into one bold and compact entity. Remember, only in unity there is hope and strength.

We need a bottom-up type of movement to start in the Diaspora. For that to occur, we need to start with each and every single one of us to integrate the ranks of a grass-roots organization. That is the very first step towards the reconstruction and the restructuration process. Once we do that, the next step should be to have all the organizations in each state to fall under one umbrella organization. Then delegates from all the state umbrella organizations are to convene in a general assembly to elect the Haitian leadership for the Diaspora.

Whether you want to admit it or not, politics is everything; therefore, we must do whatever we can to conquer the political landscape in the country. We do not have a people problem; rather, we have a problem with people in politics.

Every year, we in the Diaspora contribute $2 billion to the economy back home. So no need to mention that we already have the economic upper hand we need to give us the political leverage needed to impact the game of politics in the country. If we are structured and organized, then we will be able to endorse and finance the campaigns of candidates (running for the presidency and congress) sharing our political, economic and social agenda. Let us not fool ourselves thinking that the political takeover is not important. Yes, it is extremely important, for the decisions coming from the executive and legislative branches of government will determine the course the country must take going forward.

So as you are putting your thinking cap on to figure out what to give Haiti for Christmas, think of giving her durable, not perishable goods. We have been giving her perishable goods for I do not know how long; nothing concrete and positive has come out of it. So a change of strategy is urgently needed, and that change must pass through the restructuration and organization of the Diaspora to represent an economic and political force to propel the country forward.

AXAN ABELLARD: JUST MY TWO CENTS

Presidential candidate Axan Abellard of KNDA

First, let me thank you, sir, for having left this video interview on my page on Facebook. At least, it gives me an idea as to where you stand on some of the key issues. You make sense in most of the things you said, but you left me a little perplexed for having not said a word with respect to the integration of the Diaspora in the development of the country and the reform of our system of justice. I understand the time allocated for this video interview may have not been a lot, but I think you missed a golden opportunity. How could you not be addressing these issues?

You talked about a program of job creation, and I think that is great. But how can you possibly think of any developmental plan without reaching out to the Diaspora, especially when we contribute over $2 Billion dollars a year to the country’s economy? We in the Diaspora have our own issues too, sir. We are tired of being economic contributors with no representation. We need to have a say in the internal politics of the country and have our own representation in Congress. And for all that to happen, the Haitian citizenship must be granted to us Haitians who happened to acquire the citizenship of our host countries.

In terms of the military, you are speaking my language -the return of the HAITIAN military to replace the MINUSTAH. I think that’s a must. You score some heavy points with that agenda item. To restore confidence in the foreign investors and the Haitian investors living in the DIASPORA, you have got to put the wave of insecurity under control. And so far, the UN troops currently occupying the country are not doing so. That was great to see you speaking in those terms.

You talked about a specialized intelligence agency to fight the corruptive practices in the public administration. I disagree wholeheartedly with you on that, sir. We don’t need another bureaucracy to fight corruption. We just have to enforce the law. By the way, don’t we have a Court Superieure des Comptes? It should be and it is the responsibility of that institution -to audit and investigate fraudulent practices in the public administration. Here in the US, we have an Inspector General (IG) inside almost every institution serving as watchdog to make sure things are being conducted according to the established internal rules, regulations and policies. So you don’t need another bureaucracy. We already have one. Let me tell you what we need. We need CAPITAL PUNISHMENT for these people. We need to be killing them. Once you prosecute and KILL five of them publicly, you will see if things will not be under control in a matter of weeks. I think you are a little too soft on this issue. I am for tough measures to fight corruption, especially in HAITI where it has become a CANCER. Well, again, I cannot blame you for your softness, for you are a politician running for office, meaning you have got to always be politically correct in your statements.

Well, though I disagree with your approach, unlike your rival Wilson Jeudy, at least you have a plan. That man plans on building a prison on the island of La gonave to jail the senators and other high government employees who are found guilty of stealing the people’s money. And the rationale behind that is that if the prison is destroyed and the prisoners are trying to escape, they will have the sharks in the sea waiting for them. That’s his plan to fight corruption. lol lol lol 😀 Excuse me, sir, if you see me laughing out so loud. This is the most ludicrous stuff I have ever heard in my life. lol lol lol lol lol 😀 I am sure you are now laughing too.

On the issue of taxation, I commend you for planning on working with our international friends to modernize our system at the General Bureau of Taxation (DGI) and train the staff there to make them more effective in their efforts to bring tax revenues into the country’s treasury. But I think it should be made a CRIME to not pay taxes in Haiti. Once we have the modernized system in place, we need to come up with laws to criminalize tax evasion. Then again, you cannot enforce something when you don’t have the system to do that. That would be foolish, would it not?

I see that you dodged the question on how to restore the authority of the state. You said: “Il faut moderniser l’etat” as though that is going to restore its authority. Yes, the computerization and modernization of our system is important, but I am not sure if it will restore the authority of the state.

I do agree with you on the necessity to strengthen the municipalities. The mayor in a city is the administrator, the president, the head of that city. If everything someone in the cities needs, it must be handled by somebody in Port-au-Prince, then what is the sense of having the local governments? Just have one central administration in Port-au-Prince and have everyone travel there for everything they want. Wait a minute!! Isn’t it the way it is now? What am I talking about? lol

Overall, it was a great interview. Many things you said I disagree with, but I do agree with you for the most part. Good luck, sir! You have a winning message. Just get out there and market it to see if the buyers will be interested in buying it.

P.S. Here are some issues –education, healthcare and agriculture -you slightly touched on but did not really get into details: 

  1. On the issue of public education, you only stated that 40% of our school age kids are not going to school. I would love to know what your plan is to remedy to this gruesome reality.
  2. Health care is a serious situation in Haiti. You mentioned that many pregnant women in labor in Haiti are being transported on the back of a horse to get to the nearest health care center, which, in many instances, is located tens of miles away. I am wondering what you have in your social agenda to fix this health care disparity issue.
  3. I did not hear you say anything about agriculture, a key component in our economy. Just let me know how important that is in your economic agenda. I hope it is somewhere to be found in your plan to reform our economy.

NINE MONTHS AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE: Haitians Are Still Waiting on Santa Claus

Regardless the countless openings made available to us by the peoples that welcome us as guests in their home countries, we in the Diaspora cannot be living in our misperceived comfort zone of Chinese food eating and Kool Aid drinking to think that Haiti can do without us. Somehow, we need to find our political voice and activism to get involved in the political, social and economic debates going on inside the country. We, not the international community, are the savior of Haiti. No one can love and care about the country we call ours more than we do.

After the earthquake of January the 12th which basically put the country on its knees, it is more pressing today than it has ever been to get united around one agenda so we could do for ourselves what we have been desperately waiting for decades on others to do for us. We cannot and will not accomplish anything if we do not put aside all the bickerings and wranglings that are keeping us apart, thus preventing us from coming together as one people to overcome the challenges and solve our problems.  

The unity movement we are propagating needs to have three legs –social, political and economic. We already have the economic upper hand. We have been contributing about 2 billion dollars a year to the country’s economy. This is no small contribution; it cannot and must not be overlooked.

In any country, the economic power is the engine that tilts the political balance in one way or the other. If you do not represent anything economically speaking, do not expect to weigh anything on the political scale. Your economic standing is the drive that determines your political strength to influence the politics of things. Now that we know we have the economic upper hand, how can we capitalize on it?

We need to create and develop liaison organizations and establish partnerships with the political powerhouses on the ground. Politics is all about cutting deals and making compromises to get what you opt for, which in the world of politics we call LOBBYING. This is a world where you do not get anything with nothing.

If we organize ourselves in a systematic way, playing the game of politics on the ground in Haiti to get, for instance, the dual citizenship bill introduced, voted on in both chambers of Congress, and signed into law by the president of the country will be a piece of cake.

That should not be a matter of political struggle, not when we are all Haitians who just happen to be living outside the country. We do not need to be subject to a citizenship test to prove that we are Haitian. Being Haitian is not just a matter of nationality; it is also a matter of heart. Your home is where your heart is. And for most of us, our hearts are in Haiti.  

Way before the earthquake, the country was severely hurting with a brain drain phenomenon –skilled people leaving the country and migrating to foreign lands. The situation has gotten amplified as a result of the disaster. Now very few people with skills are left inside the country, explaining the reason why we are relying on these NGOs to take care of the country’s business. As I’ve said many times, the economic brain (skills/savoir faire) and blood (money) of the country are in the Diaspora, not inside the country. So any politics of isolation of the Diaspora is doing nothing but further alienating the country.

We have enough manpower and expertise in our ranks to rebuild our earthquake-stricken and poverty-stricken nation. Quite frankly, I refuse being entertained with the idea that a foreign country or dignitary has the solution to our problems; I reject any proposal that wants to make believe that the international community is here to rescue the country from the abyss it finds itself today. Believing in such foolishness is to believe in Santa Claus. Nine months after the quake, we are still sitting on our butts allowing ourselves being played by an international community that does not really give a damn about us.

It is time that we open our nostrils and start smelling the coffee. If these guys were going to do for us, they would have done so long ago, especially when some of them were and are still in control of the leadership of the world. In fact, some of them have their prints in the economic and foreign policies that got us where we are in the first place.

It is up to us Haitians to do for ourselves what we want and how we want it done. The rescue of Haiti lies in the hands of the Haitian people. Bill Clinton, however compassionate and sympathetic he may be with respect to the Haitian cause and struggle, cannot do anything for Haiti if we Haitians do not come through to set the tone and tell him what we want and how we want it done.

Finally, we in the Diaspora have this date with history which we need to show up for. We cannot stand her up this time. We need to come together as one to build our nation physically and psychologically like the Jews did to give birth to their independent nation of Israel six decades ago. We –dark-skinned and light-skinned Haitians, peasants and professionals, rich and poor, young and not so young, men and women across all social, religious, economic and political spectrums –need to converge our efforts with our brothers and sisters on the mainland to realize a social and economic 1804. We can make it happen. This is the moment for our generation to write its chapters in Haitian history. We are no different than our forefathers who brought amazement with their heroic spirits to the minds of the skeptics with their political movement that culminated in the independence of our great nation. So let’s not let this date with history bypass us.

ROLE OF GOVERNMENT IN A FREE MARKET ECONOMY

Some, if not most, in our society are very confused when it comes to the role government must assume in a free market economy. There is a reason why it is called “free market economy.” It is called so because government must not dictate the course the economy should take. When you have government controlling and/or interfering in the course the economy should or must take, then we have an economy that ceases to be free.

The role of government in this type of economy is to guarantee the fluidity and complete functioning of the world of business. That is so easy to say. But how can government make that possible? That’s where the bulk of the challenge lies.

Government makes possible the fluidity and functioning of the business world by enacting and implementing laws/policies that could guarantee the rights of the individuals to own properties and have these rights secured and respected. Also, government must strengthen the institutions that could guarantee the security of the physical aspect of all private investments in a stable political climate.

There is no doubt that government alone cannot make an economy work for the betterment of all its citizens. It does need to partner with a progressive private sector (watch the emphasis put on the word progressive) to make that happen.

Government must not position itself as the ultimate competitor, which, sadly, is and has long been the case in Haiti, our beloved country. When you have government -whose primary job is to guarantee a safe environment suitable for business -competing against the private sector, the market tends to become unfair, which in itself is a detriment to economic development and progress.

It is imperative that government guarantee a secure and politically stable playing field where all the players in the economy can play freely within the realm of fairness and dignity.

What we need to keep in mind is that business people are like migratory birds. They would build their nets and lay their heads wherever they can find their peace of mind to operate, without having to be reminded of the possibility of their investments being ransacked. So when you have a volatile political climate -where any unexpected thing can happen at any given time, which may put in jeopardy the security and good operation of private investments -then you have a situation that cannot synchronize itself with the expectations of the private investors. What will happen next? That’s when you start seeing private investors leaving the economy for places where the security of their investments can be guaranteed, creating an anemic economy.

We need to do more to attract private investments from foreigners and Haitian natives living in the country and in the Diaspora. Money is just as important to the economy as blood is to the human body. No economy can survive without money circulating in it.

I’ve said this before and I am going to say it again –this time I am going to say it louder so it can finally register in the carcass of your heads. THE ERA OF “DECHOUKAJ,” “KRAZE BRIZE,” KIDNAPPING, INTOLERANCE AND LAWLESSNESS MUST BE OVER!!!!! These practices have not produced positive results for the country as a whole and the economy in particular. We have been doing “dechoukaj” and “kraze brize” since 1804, the year our nation was officially created, what have we gained? I can tell you that we have not benefited anything positive. Instead, we are progressing backward.

So, what is the job of government in a free market economy? It is to make sure that the democratic and institutional structures are in place and strong to guarantee a stable political environment and a strong economy. That’s when we’ll start seeing investments coming in, and we will be able to keep the ones that are already in the economy. Needless to say that security and political stability are paramount.