HAITI: Dialogue and Democracy and Control. By Wilgeens...

Hispanolanoyosoy - April 14 2008, 2:57 PM

HAITI: Dialogue and Democracy and Control.

By Wilgeens Rosenberg
April 14, 2008.
Read more from Wilgeens Rosenberg at:
HispanolanoYoSoy.skyrock.com/

The importance of dialogue is a topic that recently sworn in President Rene Preval has raised repeatedly.

Haitians are masters of the gift of gab...talking, joking, arguing, debating.

However, what is the difference between a conversation and a dialogue?

Both are ongoing...

perhaps a dialogue is a conversation in search of a resolution.

Haiti's history is both compelling and traumatic.

There is a scorched earth mentality when it comes to politics which makes coalition building and consensus very difficult to achieve.

Haiti is riven by divisions and the tendency is to focus on what is different rather than what is similar.

How then to foster dialogue?

Transparency is key as is inclusion.

There are several important steps that could be taken to do so:

1) We have consistently advocated for the broadcasting of parliamentary sessions over the radio - TV is accessible only to a select few, but radio coverage saturates the country.

Think of it as "H-Span".

We need to use the Media for more positive things instead of for all the negatives ones.

2) Prioritize women and farmers - Women and countryside farmers are holding Haiti together, and have a right to be equal stakeholders in any discussion on Haiti's future.

They make up for most of the workforce men in the whole Country.

Women are striving to feed families beyond unimaginable possibilities; yet they are still strong.

Sadly, many times I have seen men unwilling to listen to women and farmers in forums for discussion.

Qualified women and educated farmers need to be appointed to government posts especially in those Countryside provincial areas.

We need to go back to the land. Agriculture and the farmers are Haiti's only hope. We can solve the agricultural challenge Haiti faces by tapping into the Diaspora for help is one mechanism for doing so by addressing them to buy and ship basic gardening tools they can buy from local Home Depot, Walmart etc...

Ship them to a port in the Dominican Republic and drive into there to get them since the cost on tax at the ports are way too high.

3) Address the public often - Chavez and other political leaders have scored popularity points by hosting "Hello President" addresses each week.

Preval should address the Haitian people each week over the radio.

Tackle the tough issues with open debate and phone calls with both other local politicians, the press and to include the people.

Be up front with the Haitian people or at least make efforts to show them that you are actually working for them and you are listening.

We all know that things will not change overnight, let people know why this is, and what needs to be done to make lasting change.

Tell them that they can make a difference, but more than that, let them know how. "Naje Pou Soti" (swim to get out) didn't go over so well the last time Preval mentioned that...

tell them what they can do to get out. Tell them how you will help them.

4) Institute open forums - Government representatives should participate in open forums with the constituents.

Most Haitians might maybe possibly see their representatives when elections roll around, but then they disappear into air conditions offices.

Key officials should be expected to address the public and to speak to journalists on a periodic basis.

Haiti is traditionally a very dangerous country to be a journalist.

Many have died for speaking out against corruption...

they should be protected and it must be made clear that there will be a "zero tolerance" policy for harassing journalists.

5) Reform the justice system - They say when you've hit the floor, there is nowhere to go but up. Haiti's judicial system is broken.

I wish I could say what needs to be done to reform it, but I am no lawyer.

However I will say this, if you build new jails and let the masses know that there are plenty rooms to put them in if they are committing crimes and acting up unruly...

And with the jacked up judicial system in Haiti, they know it will be or take years before they see a judge is none of my concerns.

They should have thought about the crime before the time. You do the crime, well you do the time with or without representation until the Government can figure out a better way later on to fix it. In the meantime, I would let the people know to not expect much help for the Government to fight for them if they can not live together as civilized people by not committing crimes.

You get arrested, sucks to be you, and you go to jail and it would be a long wait. Meanwhile while awaiting trial and rot in jail I would put them at work doing community service that would help with the building construction and development of the Country.

Hard labor while you wait in jail to be seeing by a judge.

I guaranty you, the kidnapping and gang activities would stop drastically.

* I invite people's thoughts on how the judicial system can encourage the rule of law without preference to the powerful and wealthy as has historically been the case. Jean Dominique's unresolved case is proof of the need for future reform.

There are, of course, other steps that could be taken.

These are only a few. I, Wilgeens Rsoenberg a.k.a HispanolanoYoSoy invite you all to blog on my blog at HispanolanoYoSoy.skyrock.com/ to talk about ways and actions in which a dialogue can be fostered...

without it, a participatory democracy will not be possible for Haiti.

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