Lil Wayne and Chris Brown Were in Haiti for a Concert of Controversy

On Friday, June 26, 2015, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, Swizz Beatz and a panoply of Haitian artists came together under the label of Big O Production of Olivier Martelly, the oldest son of President Martelly of Haiti, to produce the biggest and most controversial concert in the entertainment history of the nation.

According to The Source, an American entertainment magazine, “over 100,000 people” turned out on Champs de Mars, the country’s largest public square, to witness history being made.

Days before the kickoff of the fest, Haitians from all walks of life came out on the radio, street corners and social media to shed their commentaries in support or against it.

The people were diametrically divided on the tenure of the event. If some believed that the moment was not to celebrate, especially not at a time when the Dominican government was deporting illegally and indiscriminately thousands of our people, Olivier Martelly believed otherwise. He saw in the free concert an opportunity to put Haiti in the international spotlight and on the global tourist map. Speaking to Ticket Magazine, he stated:

I am personally very passionate about everything having to do with my country, Haiti. The artists are aware of everything and hope to attract positive attention to the country […] Haiti is back on the world tourist map for some time. Welcoming these megastars is a huge publicity campaign for us. Check out the commentaries on the internet ever since the word about the concert has been out, everybody is talking about it.

Carel Pedre of Radio One, opined along the same lines as Olivier on his radio show as reported by Le Nouvelliste in an article entitled Un concert qui tombe mal. He just could not see how a free concert could harm anything. For him, all the polemic that surrounded the concert was due to the fact that the people were left with the impression that the government did not seem to care about the deportees, who were arriving on our soil in record numbers from the Dominican Republic.

Two things had caused and fueled the controversy that surrounded the concert:

a. the unexpected sociopolitical conjoncture created by the deportation of thousands of our brothers and sisters from the Dominican Republic;

b. the people behind it are related to the country’s political leadership.

Both Olivier and Carel were right on target –from an entertainment perspective. But too bad they are not politicians. They were looking at the concert, and I would not hold that against them, only from an entertainment perspective. That’s where they got it all misconstrued. Whether they wanted it or not, and it was very unfortunate, the event had more of a political connotation than anything else.

In politics, there is this concept called TIMING, a major factor in thinking through political strategies and actions. We have seen such concept played out all the time in American politics. You have to be able to choose the right timing to make political moves. Otherwise, the political fallouts you would have to deal with could be very dreadful and cataclysmic.

Regardless how one is going to spin the politics of the concert to make it fit all rules of political correctness, it is not going to sit well in the court of public opinion, not when it was hosted by the President’s son at a time when we are dealing with an unprecedented sociopolitical situation with the massive deportation of thousands of our people from the Dominican Republic.

The idea behind the concert is great. I personally support it and think we should host concerts of such magnitude in the country every Spring Break or summer in an attempt to sell the paradisiac nature of our country and attract tourists on our shores to come spend money in the economy. The only issue with it was that the timing was POLITICALLY off. But aside from that, I think Big O Production should not and must not let the politics that surrounds this first experience stop him from putting together other concerts of this envergure in the future.

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Haitians: Stop Acting Like The Dominican Republic Is So Indispensable To You

Some of my fellow Haitians are crying blood over the fact that the Dominican Republic is placing immigration restrictions on Haitians to travel over there. What is the big deal? I myself do not see what the fuss is really about.

Let us look together what the new immigration restrictions put in place say. According to the Dominican ambassador in Haiti, Mr. Ruben Silié Valdés, for now on, no visas will be granted to third parties, including these local travel agencies, on behalf of individuals like it used to be. That means if you are going to make a demand for visa to visit the Dominican Republic, you must do so in person at one of their consulates.  Also, it is required of anyone making a demand for visa to submit an array of documents, such as proof of employment, bank attestation and invitation letter. It is now a violation for employers based in the Dominican Republic to hire illegal Haitian migrants.  

To be honest with you, I applaud their decision. That shows you they are taking care of business. That is the way it should be, and no one should hold that against them. Instead of engaging in a futile diplomatic uneasiness with them, we need to learn from them how to structure and organize our system. If your government does not care about who enters your country, do not expect governments from other countries to have the same attitude.

I really do not see the issue at hand that is getting some of my people to go ballistic. Some of us act as though the Dominicans owe us something. No, they do not. That is their country, and it is their prerogative to enact whatever policy deemed necessary to protect their territory for whatever reason. You can call the policy discriminatory however you want, that’s your business. But that is their country; therefore, they have to do what they have to do to protect their territory from whomever and whatever.

You don’t have to travel there. Don’t you have your own country? Okay, then. Stay in your country and place restrictions on foreigners to enter like everybody else is doing. I have yet to see you going on a rampage because the other countries -the United States, Canada, France, etc… -ask you to submit these same documents and even more.

Stop complaining like it is the end of the world for you if you do not travel to the Dominican Republic to be humiliated and mistreated for the most part. When a seller makes it so hard on you to purchase their products, in a free market economy, what do you do? You take your money some place else or make the products for your own consumption, don’t you? Okay, then. You do not go ballistic because they do not want to sell their products to you. Some of you make me sick making an issue out of a nonissue. Stop acting like the Dominican Republic is indispensable to you.