CaribZone Commentary: Aubrey Campbell –Wednesday, November 23rd
Good day folks and like you, I am grateful to the Almighty Father for keeping me on the wake up list for another morning.
I am borrowing a report from one of the known Caribbean media outlets (CMC), to inform today’s conversation, which I considered timely, coming as it is on the eve of the very important Thanksgiving holiday here in these newly, ‘trumped up/dumbed down (u decide), United States.
And it has to do with Haiti and presidential elections held there this past weekend. This in and of itself, is a big deal. Elections were held and without much incident. Again, another milestone, all things considered.
I don’t know what effect if any, the recent US presidential elections have on the sensibilities of our usually contentious neighbors, who can never seem to catch a break, even from Mother Nature.
Here it is that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Election Observer Mission (CEOM), that monitored Sunday’s presidential and legislative elections in Haiti, is reporting that it was generally pleased with the conduct of the long delayed poll.
In a statement, the CEOM said that it had observed more than 300 polling stations and that the officers of Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) “not only displayed an improved competence, but a uniform execution of their duties,” on Sunday, November 20.
It said it visited polling stations in three districts in and neighboring the capital city Port-au-Prince, including areas affected by Hurricane Matthew that tore through the country on October 4.
CEOM said that it noted “the bold step by the CEP to convene the elections so close after Hurricane Matthew had wreaked havoc on the country” and that in its initial assessments, it was assured the Haitian election management body was well prepared.
It is safe to say that miracles do happen. If after Hurricane Matthew (October 4), and then the US presidential elections here, just over a fortnight ago, if after all that and some and Haitians at home wanted to still keep their heads buried in the sand or the barren hillside, real and/or imagined, then it would just confirm the long held view that much of the country is still in a coma, induced by the Duvaliers, many moons ago.
Haiti needs a government, not unlike the one that will be inaugurated here in these United States in January 2017. A government that will make Haiti great again! A government that will remind its citizens that it was the first free state in the western hemisphere, a government that will establish a sound economic foundation, put people to work for a living wage and thereby stem the flood of people leaving by boat, in the middle of the night!
Donald J Trump won the key battleground state of Florida, which on any given day, can be easily mistaken for Port au Prince, especially in the south, where Little Haiti is not a misnomer. He is going to build a wall. So, soon and very soon, that underground sea route will be no more. And I want to think that that underground sea route is one aspect of the dissonance with her more well-off neighbors in the region.
To me, CARICOM, seems unwilling to offer real time help because it does not see ‘eye2eye’ on a number of critical, developmental, sustainable issues and challenges with this French/creole-speaking member. It’s boat people being one of them.
Then again, election is one thing. A government is another. The real clinker is having a government that the citizenry can trust. Make no mistake, Haiti’s political divide is unique to the region. From the days….oops, not days, from the century of the Black Jacobins and the Tonton Macoutes to now, I don’t know what ideology has shaped the government of the day, plantocracy, democracy, socialist, authoritarian, communist, centrist?
So inept is the government structure that no amount of help seems to be make any difference to the quality of life of ordinary Haitians.
Thanksgiving is tomorrow in the USA. In Haiti, the voting is out the way. Polls are closed and will remain so for quite a while yet. The CEP says counting of the votes will takes days, weeks, months maybe!
And what if the outcome is not what is/was expected? Should we expect the ‘Trump effect”?
At least six million Haitians were eligible to vote for one of 27 presidential candidates, as well as for members of both houses of parliament in elections that had been repeatedly delayed for various reasons, violence being one of them.
Celestin had placed second in the 2015 ballot that subsequently was cancelled. The other candidates include Maryse Narcisse, who was a spokeswoman for former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who had endorsed Narcisse and encouraged his supporters to take to the streets in protest if her candidacy failed.
This conversation, though, is a change of heart for me. I am inspired by Thanksgiving and what it represents in this great country, the USA!
After Hurricane Matthew ripped open the festering underbelly of Haiti’s western province, exposing boxes of weapons of mass destruction, destined for the underworld, it was pointed out that some of those same weapons were enroute to Jamaica, and I literally cried. And in that fit of rage I said I would not support anything Haitian.
Those same weapons have turned my boyhood playground, my backyard in Montego Bay, into a killing field!
Here I am, on the eve of Thanksgiving, taking back that talk, which, as a journalist, I don’t do! Haiti deserves better. Let’s start by giving thanks for what we have.
Folks, that’s today’s conversation. And as always, you have the last word. Share your thoughts even as you share from the pot.