Opinion

Haiti’s National Conference, a utopia since its inception

Dr. Bobb Rousseau

The national conference is a continuous dialogue that is held among all the different sectors of a nation with the intention of such a nation achieving economic self-sufficiency, fostering international relations, and improving its electoral system while implementing social projects and respecting, respecting the fundamental rights of all citizens, regardless of their gender, social status or sexual orientation. In Haiti, the national conference had been utopia since its inception due to the lack of government initiatives and the commitment and skills of political actors.

 Since 2005, the debates on the realization of the national conference do not reduce the widening gaps between the government and the people, nor have they opened the doors of the dialogue among the various sectors of the country to lead Haiti towards peace, harmony and sustainable development. It seems that the national conference is not in sight because the government is showing no interest herein and because neoliberal contracts hang like a noose around Haiti’s neck. Headlines socializing the holding of the national conference have been so numerous in recent years so that it has become a cliché held by several political leaders without them having a concrete vision of the procedures, the participants, or the talking points for its realization.

Until it is, here is an alternative that encompasses all the anger, frustration and hope of the Haitian people, as well as that, may lead Haiti toward societal, social, political and economic sustainability as well as to its independence from the international community:

1. Access, availability, affordability, and continuity of medical care so that health in Haiti is no longer a luxury, a privilege, a death sentence, or a slogan, but a fundamental right in the true sense of the word.

2. Access, availability, affordability, and continuity of education so that it is no longer a challenge for some students and a burden for others

3. Access, availability, affordability, and reliability of electricity

4. Decentralize the electoral system so that each municipality organizes its elections

5.  5. Strengthen local governments with experts in the fields of administration, public policies and program management so that local authorities become attractive territories of opportunity

6. Conclude public-private partnerships for the distribution of public services and for municipal taxes to finance local projects

7. Organize indirect elections for the formation of municipal, departmental and interdepartmental assemblies

8.  8. Review, revisit and reinforce public diplomacy to ensure that international conventions are aligned with the will of the people and that humanitarian aid policy benefits national sovereignty

9. Strengthen the country’s institutions to regulate and monitor public spending.

10.  10. Oblige political parties to present action plans based on political literacy at the lowest level in the country

11. Redefine national production to reflect not only cultures, but also outsourcing, offshoring, and knowledge management.

12. Apply the tools of digital technology or artificial intelligence to bring the country into the era of e-government and e-governance.

Such an alternative is aligned with Haitian law and international conventions signed by the country. It will conduct an inventory of Haitian skills, aptitudes, expertise, and capacities to be divided into clusters. For example, doctors will form the health cluster, lawyers will form the justice and law cluster, teachers will form the education cluster, engineers will form the energy cluster, entrepreneurs will form the employment and industry cluster, and so on until all skills are inventoried and implemented. Each cluster will organize sessions during which members will reflect to identify problems in their specific area of ​​responsibility and develop action plans to resolve the problems identified. Clusters, in general, will be responsible for developing strategies, which, once implemented, will connect communities and reduce the central government as a backup to local governments.

The 12 public policy points of this alternative promote and ensure effective representation of the country’s population, skills, and persistent problems. Unlike the national conference, this alternative does not require government initiation, convening, or authorization; it may be initiated by political parties, activists, and political activists as well as by social investors and executives of the country. However, it can serve as a blueprint for the Sovereign National Conference in case it is held. The 12 points revolve around social communication, harmony, awareness, and the proper use of the country’s skills in the sense that each cluster will intervene in the fields in which they are experts. Like the universal sovereign national conference developed in 24 points by author Gaston MAHOUNGOU and which is being advocated for Haiti by  Patrick Pierre-Louis, this alternative is also a political program to establish an influential, powerful and successful Haiti.

The obstacles to national dialogue reveal that the formation of the commission to organize the sectoral general assembly must be initiated by the central government; thus giving the government the supreme authority to direct the national dialogue. This alternative is different, better, and more pragmatic than the national conference in the sense that it is the initiative of the people and that it can be initiated at the local level, by the average citizen or by municipal assemblies, to identify the local problems to develop local solutions. Also, the opposition, political parties, and civil society have the ultimate power to force the government to initiate this so-called conference. It is a question of changing the narrative to require that the government take a public position on the results of surveys and community action plans.

Dr. Bobb RJJF Rousseau is a legal and economic development consultant and a frequent contributor to The Haitian Times

Haitian Times

Haitian Times

The Haitian Times was founded in 1999 as a weekly English language newspaper based in Brooklyn, NY.The newspaper is widely regarded as the most authoritative voice for Haitian Diaspora.
Haitian Times
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Jul. 22, 2020

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