Jean Bertrande Aristide’s Lavalas party took to the streets of
Port-au-Prince on Monda to welcome Bill Clinton back to Haiti. Thousand were there cheering the arrival of the former President. Mr Clinton was accompanied on this trip to Haiti by UN Secretary General “Tell Us Who” (Creole translation of “Ban Ki Moon” ).
For some reason I gather that the folks in the street figure Bill Clinton will help bring Aristide back to Haiti, as he did back in 1994. I think that’s a bit naive on their part. Aristide had his chance. I believe Aristide’s Lavalas party needs to focus on some social issues rather than Aristide, but then again, it’s his party, so he ought to be able to do whatever he wants with it.
Bill Clinton seemed to say that Haiti’s hopes are in the future, not in the past. He seemed optimistic. We have had nearly three years of relative calm; however, every time Aristide sends people to clean his house at Tabarre, Haiti’s economic elite freaks out thinking that he’s about to return.
Clinton also made reference to a Haitian girl recovering from AIDS. Eradication of AIDS has been one of Clinton’s priorities since leaving the White House. Haiti’s efforts at combating AIDS are world renowned.
Secretary General Ban Ki Moon talked about the environment and the hurricanes and the Haitian economy. He also spoke about the food riots last year which he said were caused by a spike in prices. I found that to be his most interesting comment because he seemed to know that those prices were intentionally spiked in order to create the social turmoil.
For those of you who don’t remember, the Alexis government fell shortly after the riots. The riots were rumored to have been orchestrated by Guy Phillipe, Yourri Latortue and members of Group 184 including Andy Apaid and Evans Paul, but they were made to look as though they were a spontaneous popular uprising. I repeat, these are strictly rumors.
Madame Pierre Louis, the Prime Minister, is Haiti’s most intriguing political newcomer. The word on the street is that Preval is restraining her, not permitting her to properly do her job. He wants to handle things himself. The international community however seems verypleased with her. I suspect that the international community will insist on her participation in the distribution of aid. Aid, during the Preval years, doesn’t seem to be getting to where it’s supposed to.
Though Preval is not considered a pilferer of funds, some of those around him may be. For the amount of money allocated towards post hurricane Gonaives reconstruction (Senator Latortue territory), it’s odd that Gonaivesis in such a dismal state. People want to help Haiti but they want to give their money where it will do some good. Perhaps the Prime Minister, who’s spent many years with the Soros Foundation, will be of help.
Perhaps Preval, or Madame Delatour, whoever’s running the Palace, will be forced to give Haiti’s Prime Minister more room to run the government, as dictated by the Haitian constitution, in exchange for some foreign aid. The concept of micro credit as a form of aid also seems to be gaining popularity. The upcoming donor’s conference will speak volumes. Preval’s representatives at past donor conferences have failed miserably. I recommend he make some changes.
As for our band RAM, we’re scheduled to be at SOB’s in New York City on May 1, 2009 and La Villette in Paris, France on May 15 2009. We don’t do politics, we do music… which, unfortunately, is sometimes”politics” in Haiti.
RICHARD MORSE runs the Oloffson Hotel Port-au-Prince Haiti and the leads the Haitian band RAM.