Last week, I wrote a piece suggesting that the Haitian government find a way to institute a tax system on the Haitian diaspora. As much as I am aware that this would not be an easy feat, nor would it be very popular in the Haitian diaspora, nonetheless I strongly believe at this point in time, it is a suggestion worth pursuing.
When we take a close look at the Haitian landscape, especially as far as businesses are concerned, we can see an array of businesses being run or heavily invested by Haitian diaspora, unfortunately for the most part those businesses are not considered to be important factor in the formal economy of the country.
But the Haitian government needs to move seriously toward giving the diaspora its right to Haitian citizenship and participate in the decision making process, otherwise it would be impossible to tax them.
Still, we have come to the point, where a simple vision is not the only remedy for moving the country forward. We must find a way to not only state what we want, but how we will get them and the timeframe for the implementation. We can no longer afford open-ended commitment. Every plan put forth must have a deadline and a clear strategy on who will be responsible for it.
I took a look at the Haitian government’s plan for the country’s future, although it is a nice read and seem to be touching on almost every point that has been inhibiting progress in the country; it is nonetheless another ineffective strategic plan put forward by people who are out-of-touch with the common folks. The plan as it is, failed on many fronts, and none bigger than clear timelines on when anything should be accomplished.
Haiti has been a country in a perpetual state of rebuilding. Ever since I can remember, people have always been preaching about how things will get better. We have had many instances where one could have actually believed those hypes, such as with the election in 1990, 1995, 2006 and lately after the Earthquake with the eyes of the world strongly focused on our country.
Time after time, the only result experienced by the vast majority of Haitians is a big disappointment. Now, a short three months after the biggest natural disaster to ever hit our country, that sinking feeling of despair and disappointment is creeping up ever slowly in the psyche of the population.
Many people are forcing themselves to accept the current conditions, which are by far surpassed subhuman conditions, it must be said that most people affected by the earthquake are now living in a state of complete disgrace and with no end in sight.
The more we tend to rely only on outside help, the more it seems that the Haitian people are being subjugated or conditioned to accept regression as normal. People, who had a roof over their head before January 12, now have no idea when they will be able to sleep inside of what a call a house. Those who could get a meal a day, now have to settle for a meal every other day as the new normal. The conditions are so dire that any perception of help is considered a miracle. We are entering a state of social disintegration, where the ambitions of a better tomorrow can only be seen as a grandiose folly.
In the midst of all these hopelessness, I can still sense hope. As we sit in the obscurity of the abyss, I can still see the ray of light and a way to reach higher ground. I know that I am not alone, and it is that awareness that is propelling to continue to sound the alarm on behalf of all those who still find the courage to hope and have ambitions of a country dignified and suitable for human life.
The suggestion for a tax system on those who can afford a contribution to the state is not a preposition for charity, but rather it is convocation to answer the cry of a dying nation by its children. A friend of mine even suggested that maybe Haitians would not embrace this idea because after all, those who have left might not even value their Haitian citizenship to agree to a 1% tax. This is a hard idea to accept, but it is possible that my friend might be right.
The impression that the Haitian diaspora gives to foreigners is that we do not consider Haiti as our primary home; most of the time we are quick and proud to call ourselves diaspora. We seldom talk about any concrete action that we will take to better the lives of our compatriots back home. Many of our friends only hear us talk about Haiti, if we are going for some festivity, or if something horrible happened like the event of January 12th. Many foreigners are able to deduct that the Haitian diaspora is not very serious about contributing to the welfare of the collectivity. This is a perception that we can change. We must love our home more than a stranger and we need to stop loving our neighbor’s home more than we love our own.
A tax is not a burden that the state put on society, but rather it is a fair way to make sure that those who have will play a role in helping those who do not have. Haiti is a country that can move forward, but Haitians who have attained certain social, educational and economical status must be engaged in the struggle. And that takes courage, pride, and above all the pure love for the native land.