The last thing that Haiti needs as it faces the monumental task of recovering from the earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince and its environs on January 12 is a lack of good governance. Yet, some members of the Haitian blogosphere are bracing themselves for more of the same when it comes to the 2010 earthquake recovery effort.
Twitter, as has been the case since the dolorous news broke, proved the quickest way to transmit opinions: Musician and hotelier Richard Morse, who has been regularly tweeting as RAMhaiti, continues to be quite candid with his:
Six years ago was presumably September 2004: About 3,000 people died when Tropical Storm Jeanne unleashed her wrath on the northeastern end of the island, causing disastrous floods and mudslides in Gonaïves. Calamity struck again in September 2008, thanks to a seemingly unending succession of storms which battered the already beleaguered country.
The recovery process becomes more complicated when Haiti's political climate comes into play. Morse seems to have little faith that relief money will get into the hands of those who will use it properly:
He explains in a later tweet:
He is referring to Michèle Pierre-Louis, who, after President René Préval nominated her for the post in June 2008, faced a tough battle for approval by the country's Parliament. She was eventually confirmed, but lasted just over a year in the post, causing some bloggers to question the circumstances of her discharge. But that wasn't the only controversial development in the country's political arena: Fanmi Lavalas, the party of ousted former President Jean Bertrand Aristide, which still enjoys considerable grassroots support in Haiti, was barred from contesting the country's next elections, which had been carded to take place at the end of February this year.
Haiti falls at position 168 out of 180 countries on Transparency International‘s 2009 Corruption Perception Index ranking. Morse unabashedly refers to 2009 as “the YEAR of FRAUD” in Haiti, adding in another Twitter update:
He also responds to @ZOEmagazine quite sardonically:
…but is careful to clarify his statements:
Morse is not the only Haitian blogger talking about alleged corruption on Twitter. thehaitian puts the practice in context with this tweet:
Still, he concedes that the government's track record leaves something to be desired:
RAMhaiti seems to concur, sharing a bit of his own experience:
thehaitian yearns for transparency in the way the aid money is disbursed:
…and suggests that:
Haitians in the United States appear to have lost confidence in the current Haitian government and its handling of the aftermath of the earthquake. Three-fifths of the respondents agree that the Haitian government has practically disappeared since the earthquake and 63 percent disapprove of the reaction of President Rene Preval and the Haitian government to the earthquake. The concern about the ability of the Haitian government to deal with the crisis is so strong that a majority of Haitians in the United States feel that officials from the United Nations and the international community should govern Haiti “at the very least until it recovers from this catastrophe.” And the poll reveals that most Haitians are not concerned about the large American military presence in their country.
$1-3 billion is coming Haiti’s way: maybe more Will the crowd pay attention, or will they buy their relief, recovery, and reconstruction goods and services abroad? At the risk of being politically incorrect, perhaps the international community might consider Rwanda strong man Paul Kagame’s words: “TRADE not AID”.