By Henry Robert Beaucejour
Henry Robert Beaucejour is CEO of Sans Frontieres Technology and founder of Haiti Tech News.
While the country is in a hysterical mood regarding the upcoming elections, there is one segment of the population which does not care, or perhaps, does not even know about it. The youth of Haiti have always been ignored by successive governments- it is as if they do not exist. They have the highest rate of unemployment, the highest rates of violence, the highest rate of imprisonment and also the highest rates of death. Most of the youth in Haiti have seen a hard life.
Successive governments for the past 40 years have been promising something to everyone, but no one ever promises anything for the youth. The result is that this forgotten or disenfranchised generation now does not play a role in politics.
The youth of Haiti have the lowest turnout during voting.
It does not matter what the event it, Haitian youths just do not show up. The chief reason is that they know no one cares about them. Young people have lost trust and faith in the political system and the government.
After decades of lies and dishonesty, the one population in Haiti that has seen the most struggles are the youth. On any given day hundreds of youths are on the streets, begging for food or money, looking for a job, sleeping in the hot sun, wandering what tomorrow will bring. Most have lost hope and have given up on life. Deep down they want to vote but they also understand that the politicians do not care about them or their views. There is a general feeling among the Haitian elite and middle class, that Haitian youth are common criminals and of little use to society.
But this is a myth of gigantic proportions. Haitian youth have the same dreams and aspirations as any person in Haiti or anywhere else. They all want a job and want to succeed. They all want opportunities but being born in Haiti are a major strike against them.
Many surveys indicate that Haitian youth are intelligent and aware of the politics but many just do not trust the system anymore. Turnouts among youths at presidential elections have been very low for decades. The other problem with Haitian politics is that the politicians have polarized Haitian youth, turning them against one another, inciting violence and often death. At the end of the day, the only people who suffer and die are the youths. What is even more tragic is that for the past two decades, not a single politician has recognized the plight of the youth and their failure to vote.
Now some schools have started organizing political education for Haitian youths and gaining their trust. The youth are being told that it is only through voting that the corrupt systems can be changed. By voting the youths will have a far greater role in politics than they realize.
What these youth want more than anything else are jobs and education. Most are not unrealistic and do not want fancy cars or bigger homes. They all want enough money so that they can feed their family and go college.
It is only the present-day economic crises that have started to attract Haitian youth to the polling stations. For the first time, it appears they feel that they can play a role in the future of Haiti. What Haitian youths do need to understand that every vote counts and they play a vital role in the democratic process. Sure, corruption and evil will not be eliminated overnight but with their participation, the principle of democracy will be kept alive and hopefully a leader will be elected who will listen to their concerns and predicaments.
So it is our hope that Haitians youth will not be resigned to fate but think of the present elections as a stepping stone towards a better future.
Finally Haitian youths should remember that it is their votes that will make the future brighter for their children. All of us have had enough of the corruption, violence and dishonesty in Haitian politics. We all want to see change and a leader who cares more about the people than hiséher pockets. So for any Haitian youths reading this, make your vote count. It may not make your life better immediately but trust me; it will bring hopes to the future generation.