After all, to have such a stash is the goal of the many political operatives occupying the field in Haiti. Most want the opportunity to have that much cash on hand, as it has looked like the deceased de facto former president Jovenel Moise had in his home. After getting the ultimatum from the U.S. State Department, politicians in Haiti are feverishly working on getting an “accord” or should we say a plan to share the spoils. In different hotels in Port-au-Prince, groups of politicians and militants met and sometimes fought to reach an agreement that will determine what transition Haiti will go through after the death of the sitting president. Of course, most of the deliberations had very little to do with helping the population, or looking for ways to solve problems affecting the country.
While the political situation in Haiti remains unchanged, and with prisons filled with political prisoners – former Depute Arnel Belizaire being the most famous one, held illegally for more than two years – persons in the so called civil society are calling for an agreement to have a transition with solutions brought up by Haitians. In the agreements that those persons are putting forward there is little if no mention of freeing the men and women packed in unsanitary and unhealthy conditions with no trial in sight. Most of them were arrested in roundups targeting opposition supporters and militants from grassroots groups. They are held in the penitentiary and in other prisons where prisoners are packed like sardines in unhealthy conditions. If you don’t have someone bringing you food you will starve in Haitian jails. There is very little water to drink, bathe and generally do your business, so the smell is horrible. I once went to the Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince while working as an interpreter back in 2004. Conditions there are much worse than back when I visited, but I was appalled at the way these prisoners were forced to live. It is a shame that we allow persons to be treated that way, while we worry about mundane matters more, stuck as we are on social platforms. Rather than involve themselves in politics, while claiming to be a civil society, most of these folks need to work on helping prisoners survive these inhuman conditions.
Supplies are being gathered, while fundraisers are being held to help persons still suffering from the earthquake of August 14 in the Southern departments. While some persons in Les Cayes and Jeremie have benefited from distributions of food, water and materials for temporary shelter, like tents and tarps, persons living in the communal sections and in small towns out of the way have received very little. Just like it happened in 2010, a plethora of foreigners working with non government organizations have disembarked in Jeremie, Les Cayes and in other places to reap the benefits from donations and grants. Of course reputed and long established NGOs like CARE, Food for the Poor and Medecin sans Frontiere have done commendable work, which has saved lives and allowed a great many to better support their plight. But many others have shown up to fill the void left by the government, which is unable to help its population. Rather than help, many government officials are demanding control over distributions in order to prepare their candidacy. These political operatives are stopping the help from reaching the population in need, warehousing supplies and preventing distribution of goods in order to look good. In places like Cavaillon, Camp Perrin, Duchity, Arnaud and many communal sections in out of the way places help has not arrived for those in need. Everyday we hear locally elected CASECs on the radio asking for help for people. In areas affected by the quake persons need lumber, tin sheets for roofing and tools to rebuild a durable shelter. They do not need crackers and spaghetti because those places can produce their own food.
Persons living and traveling around the National Highway no. 1 near Cite Soley witnessed a day of fireworks, as bandits decided to fire their guns and block passage near and around Drouillard. After controlling the area all morning on Thursday, the bandits were engaged by some brave members of the Haitian National Police – the PNH – who exchanged shots with the the trouble makers until evening set in. It seemed there were no reported casualties on either side of the firefight, as bravery was tempered by the need to live another day. The population living around the area were the true victims because fear and a disruption of activities were the results of all that. All businesses in the area were closed and many were unable to earn a living.
Around Champs de Mars, militants fed up with the deteriorating political situation demanded the release of political prisoners, as they ransacked the office issuing electoral cards to people near the 2004 Tower. The card called Dermalog because of the contract with the foreign firm negotiated by Martine Moise, wife of the deceased president, is supposed to be available to enough citizens to hold valid elections. Delivery of the precious document has run into numerous snags, and many members of the population are unable to get it for various reasons, especially in communal sections and within the peasantry. So unless enough persons have the electoral card, the elections will not have credibility. According to various reports, a few million dollars were made by the persons who arranged the whole affair through overcharge and other corrupt practices. Use of the card during the election will not lead to a free and fair contest because there are reports of databases with numbers that will also vote massively for chosen candidates. By and large elections are not the solution to problems Haiti faces, persons need to concentrate on rebuilding trust in government and rebuilding the fabric of the country. All Haitians everywhere need to start thinking about ways to help a population that is young, and is facing dark and uncertain times.