Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Haiti Elections 2015: Political Intervention, CARICOM Deficiencies & Missing Aid

Map of Haiti/Haitian Flag
It is no secret that elections underway in Haiti have been filled with allegations and reports of wide spread fraud, intimidation, violence, external interference and general corruption; all are components of past and recent Haitian democratic processes.

But with the Nation still recovering from a devastating earthquake that only served to weaken its public institutions, the United States' State Department has taken guidance over the current presidential vote, with CARICOM merely an observer to the proceedings.
Democracy Protests

Even as the State Department overlooks the process there are further reports of misconduct among the political actors only adding to growing unease of the common Haitian and placing democracy further away from them.This has led to on/off clashes between democracy protesters and Haitian security forces before, during and after the voting in August and October. Voting continues in December with still occurring clashes daily.

Haiti Special Coordinator Kenneth Merten 
In his teleconferenced remarks on November 16th about the Haiti elections, Haiti Special Coordinator Kenneth Merten acknowledged "the disagreements" among the political players then stated "the good news is that the elections are taking place" and response to a question asked by the moderator Dr.Theramene(Haitian Americans for Progress) to elaborate on whether or not there is political interference by his government, Merten explained "We will work with whoever or whatever president comes out of this process." Even if 900,000 party monitors received credentials to vote at multiple voting centers.

Haiti Military Coup
His statement falls inline with the subvert quarters of US foreign policy which is protect their interest though by inducing "stability" - the key word - in simple terms, the works of democracy are shelved for a government, any government so that business as usual may carry on.

The flip side to that shortcut approach is that the peoples dissatisfaction and the governments spoon fed power often end up clashing and this creates instability leading to what we saw in Haiti before in the military coup..


The United States(US) is apart of a Core Group in Haiti and as stated by Merten, that includes Brazil, Canada, France, Spain, European Union and representatives of the OAS; the US has the major influence and is working accordingly.With the US committing $31 Million to support election activities its not too cynical to say they will expect value for their money.

Why CARICOM's Limited Role?

The group with least influence though and seemingly with the least interest in the Haiti's current critical democratic redevelopment is the 'regional' body: Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Caribbean people, with little to no Caribbean media coverage of the current events.

Not to unfair to the regional body and its people, CARICOM past actions of support for Haiti count as admirable between the banning of illegitimate Latortue government, Aid, observer missions to recent support against Dominicans Republic's policy making Haitian descendants stateless.

Although most of the electoral observer missions were joint operations with the Organization of American States(OAS). CARICOM  has once again limited itself to spectator seat of a overheated election.

The Caribbean media on the other hand seem to have descended past the usual local market driven news content when it comes to Haiti with almost a complete black with most content coming from extra regional sources.I will not question the news editor choices but only urge newsroom rooms regional to encourage regional interest of some sort.

But Haiti has long been wrongly classified as the stepchild of the Caribbean and continues to be seen as economically 'dispensable' and a "burden"  to CARICOM. Although Haiti's relationship with the organisation has not been steady since its admission in 1999 there is no question in my mind that this is a critical juncture for Haitians in their redevelopment.

CARICOM needs t be ready to gain and have greater influence for the strengthening of a regional integration with shared values,similar economies, common culture and geopolitical interest the reasons deepen Haiti-CARICOM relations out weigh disadvantages.

CARICOM's ability to intervene as the regional overseer is hampered not only by financial andresources restraints but by its own unwillingness to create powers to intervene beyond strong worded statements and the cold shoulder:

Hon. Dr.Kenneth Anthony

Hon.Dr.Kenny Anthony of St. Lucia noted in a speech delivered in 2001: "The organization [CARCOM] is not fully seized of the significance of its involvement."   

This calls for reform and restructuring of the regional organization to better suite the current regional integration unions and political-economic area blocs that supports wider influence locally, regionally and internationally.

C.Grant states in his 2007 paper for "Intervention, Border and Maritime Issues in CARICOM" entitled "CARICOM:Non-Intervention & Intervention" that

While the current diplomatic modus operandi has served the Community reasonably well, there is the need for indicators for intervention to be developed and for a formal institutional mechanism to mediate political conflicts among stakeholders in the political process of the various Caribbean states to replace the reliance on ad hoc interventions such as those utilized in Guyana and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.”

Humanitarian Fail: Where are the Missing Aid Funds ?

Haiti 2010 Earthquake Aftermath (NPR)

I end on an extremely sour humanitarian note that concerns Haiti's aid pledge; Its reported that of 15 000 homes promised to be built only 900 have been delivered, US $7.6 billion has been disbursed and little to show for it, lack of accountability leading to corruption surrounding aid, relief and rebuilding expenditure means the many of those suffering from the 2010 quake are still in tents, on the streets, children not attending school, living conditions and hygiene at inhumane levels.

By all means Haiti is still in the midst of a Earthquake and its allies lead by the US and CARICOM are not back to pre-2010 misconceptions, mistreatment and disregard of Haiti-Pearl of the Caribbean and the free Haitian people.