Haitians ready to vote for fundamental changes

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michel martelly

Michel Martelly, President of Haiti.- Photo courtesy of atlantablackstar.com

Haitians will go to the polls on Sunday, August 9, 2015 after almost 5 years.  The country’s government has not held legislative sessions since January 2015. President Michel Martelly has been governing basically by decree.

Sunday’s elections will not be for the election of a president, this will take place in October, 2015.  About 1,855 candidates will be vying for 135 seats in these elections

It is predicted that voter turnout will be low —15% of the electorate. In the last elections 30% of the electorate participated.

In a recent statement The UN Secretary General  Ban Ki-moon stated, “These long-awaited elections constitute a major milestone for democracy in Haiti.”

He also urged the Haitian people to become more involved in the election process and stressed that  “Credible, inclusive and transparent elections are a key to long-term stability and promotion of a vibrant democracy.”

The election climate in Haiti is turbulent and surrounded by ‘dirty money’ in campaign funding, explosive acts of violence, and apathy by the disenfranchised.

Since the devastating earthquake of 5 years ago where more than 200,000 lost their lives and 1.5 million Haitian citizens thrust into homelessness, billions of aid dollars intended for aid relief, have not efficiently been spent. More than 60,000 persons are still homeless and live in squalid conditions.  Who is accountable for the money?

Various aid agencies have been resolute in eradicating the pangs of poverty and homelessness in Haiti. Through the magnitude of problems, one such NGO, World Vision, has be vigorous in its efforts to help.

World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Haiti to rebuild their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities.

Did you know that?

  • Water sanitation, food and nutrition are severe problems in Haiti
  • 25% of all Haitian children are malnourished
  • The GDP per capita is US $500
  • 44% of Haitians are illiterate
  • Unemployment rate is 40%
  • The population is 10 million people

Are there good attributes of Haiti and Haitians?  A big yes! Haiti has a rich history, diverse cultural heritage, beaches, lakes, buildings, academics, entertainers, athletes, etc., and, most of all, ambitious and loving people at home and abroad. I personally, know Haitians who are brilliant, astute, ambitious, sincere, kind, and the most hospitable people I have ever associated with – from grandma to babies!

Haiti has produced many brilliant people in all aspects of life. Haitians are not to be marginalized because of economic or social situations. Like every nation, given the right opportunities, support, and value of its citizens, Haiti can be a dominant and productive force of the Caribbean and the world.

Haiti’s elections will inaugurate a new season of accountability, clarity, equality, and economic and social development eagerly awaited by Haitians.

My comments can be summed up in the words in a recent op-ed  by Ms. Jessica Faieta UN Development Programmed (UNDP) Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. She said,

“While it is important for Haiti’s international partners to continue to lend generous support to the country’s democratic process, it is equally crucial to recognize the work of the Government of Haiti in ensuring that its institutions can fully take charge of the elections,” Ms. Faieta continued, “underscoring that Haiti’s longest period of institutional stability in recent history has a positive effect in the Caribbean and beyond, helping promote sustainable development and strengthening our region.”

stand up

Image courtesy of islandmix.com

One day in the near future I would love to visit the highest point of Haiti — Pic la Selle, at 8,793 feet and stare down on the beauty and splendor of the 10,714 square miles and a populace living in its glory and chant Life is beautiful. → Lavi se bèl.

By Karl A. Haughton

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