Thursday, March 18, 2004

Hti: OAS electoral chief says forget Aristide

Amb. Orlando Marville, chief of OAS electoral mission to Haiti, founding board member of Haiti Democracy Project.

A recent session of the United States House Foreign Affairs Committee on the situation in Haiti immediately revealed that everybody was interested in Aristide (to demonise or beatify him) but no one seemed really interested in Haiti.

Oddly, the situation as it is now represents probably the last window of opportunity left for that great country, riddled with poor governance and abominable leadership. The first need is to disarm the various thugs that control or roam the streets of Port-au-Prince. That has evidently vaguely begun.

The next step would be to provide food, clean water and other humanitarian needs to the people of Haiti. This would have to be followed by the reconstruction of the police force as a non-political control within the country and the rebuilding of the justice system.

Then one could begin the long – at least over two years – the process leading to a general election. This would require bending the constitution, which requires that an election for the presidency be held within forty-five days after the resignation of a president. That deadline is likely to be exceeded under any set of circumstances.

It is necessary to forget Aristide, even if he is back in Jamaica. He was elected in circumstances that would not have been acceptable anywhere else in CARICOM and he has polarised the country, put murdering gangs on the street and created a great deal of wealth for himself and poverty for the people. He is unlikely to be a positive force in any Haiti of the future.
What role does Amb. Marville envision Caricom will play in creating a viable Haitian state, one wonders? Also, has PM Patterson heard what Marville has had to say? Does he care?


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