Tuesday, June 6, 2023
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Being President in a country like Haiti?

Oftentimes, observers are asking themselves this crucial question in a country with countless frightening issues to be resolved why do politicians aspire to accede to the presidency? Apart from some rare exceptions, the leaders have no clue about governing; and they voluntarily pay no attention to the quest of the population for food, to have access to basic health care, or to send their children to school.

Those who are familiar with Haiti’s glorious past history are very disturbed by the economic and collective failure of such a great motherland which is ours. Today the state virtually depends on assistantship and therefore can do very little without foreign support; and lots of so-called leaders feel at ease with such reality. They have no political beliefs and no patriotic values. Sociology Professor Herold Toussaint righty said that “It looks like they have lost the ability to feel ashamed”.

The new President, who assumed power last February 7th, cannot shape as yet his government because several lawmakers are demanding favors from the executive branch in exchange for their votes to confirm a designated Prime Minister. A government official with knowledge of the issue reported that one of them asked for control of the management of a high school in Port-au-Prince. Everyone wants to make money, in any way possible, while thousands of people are abandoning the ship, under dire circumstances, for the West Indies, Chile, Brazil, Mexico or even Equator. We may indeed need a constitutional reform to contain the power of these corrupting influences.

If in other places political elites come to power to serve and to deliver on their promises, in Haiti, it is a lot different. Career-old-style politicians aspire to accede to authority to change their social and economic standing. For instance, this week in daily newspaper “Le Nouvelliste” a cartoon brilliantly depicted the level of widespread corruption in the country. The caricature showed a dog representing the legislature stating if the executive does not distribute money the designated Prime Minister, Jacques G. Lafontant,  is not going to be ratified.

The new President even with all his vision to get the county out of despair will shortly find himself in a roadblock.  All economic indexes are now in the red: Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has regressed in the past five years, growing trade deficit, depreciation of the national currency on the exchange markets, etc. The State in basic terms is toothless and does not adequately instigate any sustainable development agenda. And President Moise candidly continues to make promises to the population as if he were still campaigning.

It’s obvious a way to solve the various matters Haiti is confronting is that we must start by changing our collective mentality, fighting bribery and nepotism, which are the most significant barriers to any endogenous development plan. For any vision to take effect, a good number of academic institutions must be restructured for the reason that they do not teach modern concepts of education and skilled training to youngsters.

All in all, being president in a country like Haiti or just occupying a public function should include a sense of duty to serve rather than to acquire material comfort at the expense of the disadvantaged. We hope that Infohaiti.net’s readers will appreciate the first article of that ongoing chronicle.

Romeo Estinvil/ estinro@hotmail.com
The author is a former Radio Lumiere Journalist

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