By Bobb Rousseau
Diaspora Matters Opinion Contributor
Without violating the constitution and increasing income taxes as well as by effectively appropriating municipal taxes, my administration will perform around the principles of decentralization by devolution to fiscally empower local governments, more particularly the communal sections to which the lack of representation and competencies deprives its place in the country’s public policy program.
From the first 100 days of my presidency, I will take decrees according to the establishment of a training center to train mayors, CASECs, and
I will increase the number of municipal councils according to the number of municipal sections that make up the municipalities. In addition to the three mayors already provided for by the constitution, the members of the CASECs, one member per communal section, will sit on a 6-month rotation in town halls to represent and discuss the affairs of their communal section in municipal assembly discussion. Brief, a municipality that is made up of 13 municipal sections will have a municipal council of 16 members; better yet, as many as there are municipal sections in a commune, as many as there are members who will form the municipal council of such a specific city.
I will form a specialized commission to facilitate the organization of indirect elections to establish municipal, departmental, and interdepartmental assemblies. The latter will assume the roles of departmental and district (arrondissement) delegates, will form the ministry of territorial collectivities with 10 members who will each represent their respective territory, will be involved in the formation of the provisional/permanent electoral council, and will assume the tasks of an advisory council to the council of ministers.
My administration will start the economic development of Haiti from the base and the communal sections are the base of this development. To make them attractive and set their leaders up for success for the execution of their five basic dossiers, I will deploy all my efforts on the professional training of local elected officials while I will be strengthening them with a team of technical experts and specialists that will be made up of local executives who will prepare action plans to solve the problems of their community. At the end of their pro bono service, they will have the opportunity to convert their experience into credit hours that might be worth one or two years of higher or professional education.
I will demand a historical account, dating back from 1996, of the performance of the assets of the Contribution to the Fund for the Management and Development of Territorial Collectivities (CFGDCT) and I will order a fair distribution of these assets to local authorities. I will take charge of this fund if I conclude that these assets are exhausted, depleted, or poorly managed. In addition to the municipal taxes that the totality will remain in the municipalities, I will use part of the Social Assistance Fund (CAS), the Road Maintenance Fund (FER) and the Emergency Fund (FDU), among others, to fund the development, the expansion, the aggrandizing or the construction of new town halls to accommodate additional members.
My administration will finance private initiatives by offering loans to entrepreneurs and grants and tax breaks to local and diaspora investors, provided that 70% of their workforce is and remains local at all times. Under my administration, and I hope whoever will come after me, hold this same policy, the communes will no longer finance the activities of the central state; the latter will only play a regulatory role to ensure that residents finally benefit fully from all the country’s resources.
I will develop a matrix of controls to measure success to ensure that my public policy, indeed, brings about the social change I envision. This social change is none other than the self-sufficiency of local authorities by empowering them to take charge of their economic destinies without the muscular intervention of my administration.
In my next speech, I will expose the method I intend to use to decentralize the electoral system to withdraw the central state from the organization of elections at all levels of the country. The plan I will propose will allow each community to renew its electoral staff according to electoral calendars that they will develop. My plan, which will be backed by a robust political literacy campaign, will reduce violence, fraud, vote manipulation, and parliamentary void as well as the appointment of executive agents to replace elected mayors whose terms expire. This new plan will lead to firm dates and on-schedule elections without the interference of the president and that of the international community.
Bobb Rousseau holds a PhD in Administration and Public Policy with specializations in Public Law and Managing Local Government. His dissertation focuses on the diaspora’s political activism and community engagement to incorporate politics and local government.
Dr. Rousseau’s research promotes diaspora investments to strengthen Haitian local governments and weaken the central government. Rousseau firmly believes that the Haitian diaspora in the United States is at a prime stage to build an attractive political force that can shift U.S. immigration, diplomacy, and humanitarian aid to Haiti and to advance the Haitian agenda around the world.
Letters and op-eds are subject to light editing for clarity and to meet The Haitian Times editorial guidelines.
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