Haiti We Are Sorry

The recent earthquake in Haiti which devastated the capital Port-au-Prince has sent shockwaves across the globe. In an era of instant communication, the horrific pictures of the carnage afflicted on Haiti has been emotional for many who have witnessed it. Some say hundreds of people are dead or injured, others say hundreds of thousands. Only time will tell the extent of the injuries and damage to humans and property. The devastation has been enough to force many to ask, why Haiti. This is a country which has had to endure perennial suffering whether manmade or acts of God.

BU is heartened by the global response to the cry for help by Haiti. In the past similar humanitarian relief efforts have been hampered by corruption in the distribution efforts of aid. We hope that those responsible in administering the relief efforts in Haiti will do what is right.

Now is an opportunity for the Caricom region to respond as a region to what is required to effectively help Haiti. It is good we have a few regional Prime Ministers flying into Haiti to see and hear for themselves what is required to support the humanitarian effort. Is this a PR exercise done to satisfy our obligations to a regional member? Time will tell!

Already the catastrophe in Haiti has revealed how religion can expose the ignorance of some people. It has been reported that Pat Robertson who is an American Christian televangelist has blamed Haiti’s pact with Satan as the cause for its suffering. We are flabbergasted that a man of such influence and suggested intellect would be driven to spout such bovine excrement.

On behalf of the BU household we hope and pray that those behind the relief effort will be able to mobilize quickly and to do what is required to relieve the suffering to those who are alive and to bring dignity to those who have died so tragically.

Haiti I am SorryDavid Rudder

618 comments

  • Pat unfortunately sending US money to Haiti involves digging into our international current account… I would love to give de million that I got stashed but the Government may not have de US to convert it into… you understand of course… Haitians can’ spend Bajan money…! I don’ believe dat wid only two months “Import Cover” (phrase designed by Mia Mottley) we shouldn’t be sending none of it anywhere..! I gave a whole host ah toiletries, they were already purchased at the expense of the current account..

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  • Is Xe/Blackwater in Haiti?

    Why are they building Abortion Clinics in Haiti?

    Why white people stealing BLACK babies?

    Something is stinking…Oh No!

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  • @ BAFBFP

    At least you did your part and gave. We were asked to send donate money and not food or other goods. We may dig deep again later when the rebuilding starts. Right now, it is for survival of the survivors.

    @ Hopi

    Where did you get that information about the abortion clinics? Blackwater, who would have hired them to go there and to do what? They are mercenaries. No place for them in a disaster like a quake.

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  • Why did RaRat solicit/select Bill Clinton and George Bush to ‘run the show’ when there’s not enough water in the ocean to wash their blood drenched hands?

    @Pat…Wasn’t Iraq a disaster when Blackwater went in? Why is there a need for so much military might in a quake zone?…Pat you think this is a picnic?

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  • I wonder how the victims of Hurricane Katrina, the thousands who could get no help from the Government of the world’s richest country feel today, seeing Bush in public on some mercy campaign…!

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  • For BAFBFP, google a map of the C’bean and “connect the dots”.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8476395.stm

    “A new US assessment of Venezuela’s oil reserves could give the country double the supplies of Saudi Arabia.”

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6248500

    An oil discovery in Belize could be a windfall for this poor, underdeveloped Central American country. But there are concerns that the government will mismanage the resource and allow the new oil industry to destroy Belize’s pristine wilderness.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7675234.stm

    The state-owned Cuban oil company says the country may have more than 20bn barrels of oil in its offshore fields – more than double the previous estimate.

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  • Onlookers:

    Observe what happened when Hopi — unrepentantly — incited to ARSON above.

    That tells us even more about he underlying problems with our region than the actual threat above.

    Perhaps, we need to remember that there have been at least two murderous attacks in churches in the region in recent years?

    Passing over such threats as if they are par for the course (and as thought hose who make them are behaving within bounds of reasonable conduct) is enabling behaviour, and should be stopped.

    David, you need to take the issue seriously.

    This is not a matter of “calm down,” it is a case where a set of unapologised for and insisted on slanders — remember GP, Zoe and my objections to and corrections of the “blue eyed blondy god” caricature and slander in previous threads? — has now been turned into a claim of racial oppression and “justification” for what would be murderous terrorism.

    Remember, there is always a half-mad fringe out there who will take this sort of thing as inspiration and permission to act out incendiary rhetoric and threats.

    (Recall the drunken comment by a former king of England: “Who will rid me of this pestilential priest?” Remember what happened to the relevant “priest” in his Cathedral as a direct consequence? “Life and death lie in the power of the tongue . . . “)

    And, Zoe is therefore right to report a threat of and incitement to arson.

    This is serious.

    D

    PS: I further observe that “out of he abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” People who are serious on positive contributions — which will in this case have to go well beyond some cash and old clothes (as reformation and transformation are indicated) — will show it by how they habitually speak. [Contrast the Auroville people on earthquake resistance to the remarks above trying to deflect us from the implications of evidence of shoddy construction, to see what I mean; and BTW I have already begun to pass that very page on to relevant authorities and institutions.]

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  • @Dic

    That kind of paranoid thinking is not good for the soul. Only you perceive a threat and you proceed to remotely link it in completely different circumstances.

    Is it that you would like to mow down everybody because you don’t trust your own shadow. Like you and Zoe fighting back to back.

    By the way, you really think that you should be fighting though? You and Zoe blazing an ungodly war against everybody; belligerents.

    Meanwhile everybody else at peace with themselves. What arson what? Pure assinine relief.

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  • Onlookers:

    Some final notes on possibilities for helping to transform Haiti — FYI and for your own reflection and action; it being plain that this thread (sadly, given the known potential influence of this blog) is not going to progress further:

    1 –> One of the key blights of Haiti (and Kingston, Ja etc) is the problem of urban migration of rural people, as the countryside has been long starved of opportunity and attractions.

    2 –> This, due to the problem of subsidising the town at the expense of the country that Adam Smith long ago analysed. For, urban concentrations draw the eye and the effort, while rural people, being dispersed, are easily overlooked.

    3 –> But in our time of networked multimedia communications, there is no good reason why villages should not grow into small townships with quite good enough facilities and resources to become a network of distributed centres that avert the denudation, idling and depopulation of the countryside and the creation of overpopulated, overstressed, explosive and unsustainable urban concentrations. (I think here of SE St Elizabeth, Ja, and the astonishing development of the township of Junction as an informal model to study and learn from.)

    4 –> A key step is the de-bureaucratisation of business formation and taxing systems. For, as De Soto showed convincingly for Peru [cf Institute for Liberty and Democracy here], a lingering mercantilist pattern of regulation, monopoly and cartel easily emerges that locks out the innovative small or micro entrepreneur through creating a bureaucratic maze backed up by blocking access to capital save by the already established.

    5 –> the rise of capital starved informal micro enterprises, squatting on lands, inability to acquire lands, etc etc are all characteristic features of such,a nd are already familiar form a simple glance at Haiti (and of course Jamaica etc).

    6 –> Instead, regulatory and taxing systems need to be greatly simplified, more comprehensible to the uninitiated, helping-oriented and less punitive. On this De Soto’s comparison that similar businesses took an afternoon to set up in Miami [no bribes] and a year or so in Peru [with bribes], is telling.

    7 –> Similarly, his contrast of two neighbouring communites in Peru, one ghetto-like, the other showing obvious pride of ownership, is telling. When people can own their own land and homes, they have ownership and access to a capital base that can give collateral for prudent business investments [and if designed right, can often house the relevant cottage industry].

    8 –> Multiply by strategic cash crops [including the ever-growing list of nutraceuticals, especially superfruit tree crops — reforestation!], agricultural co-ops and competent marketing systems that turn small plots into cash cows.

    9 –> Blend in well managed credit unions and development banking. (And, CDB is a world class effort along these lines. the basic needs trust Fund should get injections from all sorts of people, as a way to energise a known centre of excellence.)

    10 –> Take village churches, schools and community centres, and augment them to include micro-campus centres, supports for business formation and development, clinics and community micro-power radio.

    11 –> Add to these the proved power of the business incubator.

    12 –> Back all up by a long term programme of capacity development and transformation through education and renewal . . .

    _______________

    So, there it more or less ends, as I have to make a triage decision on where to put in limited effort in the face of overwhelming need and plainly mounting hostility and incivility.

    G’day

    D

    PS: I will continue in my own blog. (And, no, there is not a free for all comment system there [comments are moderated], as I have had problems with abusive secularist commenters when a looser policy was in effect.)

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  • PPS; ROK just above sadly typifies precisely the sort of enabling behaviour I discussed. had Zoe threatened to burn down the HQ of BANGO — which, obviously he has not (just the opposite, he has “threatened” to report a threat of arson made in this, a public forum) — you would have heard a very different sound from him. but, you see, it is churches that are being threatened, and on a slander that ROK himself has helped promote in this blog and refuses to correct. So, he is doubly an enabler on this. ROK, understand where your rhetoric leads [once we understand there will always be a lunatic fringe], and do better next time. Goodbye.

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  • PPPS: Techie, if you had bothered to check you would have seen that this thread is a think it through — and initial capacity-building — effort and has been joined to approaching relevant agencies to act. That is above and beyond the usual financial giving relative to what one has. And on the principle that one does not do good to trumpet it before men, you will get no further details. Shame on you for your insinuation in the teeth of easily ascertainable basic facts! G’day.

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  • Hello! Like you did not understand my post? There is already a lunatic fringe as you so aptly demonstrate.

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  • P4S: As a parting present, read this interview.

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  • Dictionary,

    You list some good ideas for the structural retransformation of Haiti.

    Each in of themselves they do not depend on improved education but do depend on improved technical training (farming etc).

    However, for all, the long-term success of those initiatives inidividually and collectively leading to a successful Haiti will certainly also depend on improved education, if as we have been informed, the literacy level is so low.

    This has two implications.

    Firstly, immediately after initial search, rescue, medical, temporary (short and medium term) and security issues have been addressed as priority, the early reformation must include an immediate education programme, for adult and youth, such that the transformation of Haiti can begin with the active participation of her people, not as ‘serfs’ but as active individuals and communities with an understanding of the reasoning behind the methods and the aim of the methods.

    I must add, that ‘transformation’ in this context is not meant to refer to bringing Haiti to the same philosophical outlook as anyone other specific group.

    In this context it is meant to refer to bringing Haiti to a level of self-capability and self-determination.

    Now, to expect say a three or four year ‘crash course’ in education and technical skills may seem either impossible or unrealistic, but unfortunately, if this is not done as one of the foundations of the rebuilding (in the context of not only structural, but as a nation of people), than all else may eventually prove futile.

    This is obviously along the lines of the old phrase of teaching a man to fish instead of giving him the fish.

    Merely putting up structures, farms etc may certainly alleviate some misery, but while in the short term foreign contractors etc may gain much from the aid given for this purpose, the long-term goal should be to have Haitians and not only elite, but the everyday Haitian, benefit from money flows and thus create an independent people and a vibrant economy.

    It is my view therefore Caricom leaders, should address the education of Haiti, as a priority, as much a priority as any other redevelopment effort.

    To reinforce a point, the initial effort must not only be to set up an improved schooling system, but implement as an interim measure, an ’emergency education programme’, with the help of internaitonal authorities and the Haitian authorities.

    If one wants a long-term Haiti, this is essential.

    We must give thanks yet again, that Errol Barrow saw the necessaity of education as a developmental tool.

    And, we must forever resist ANY attempts to take free educaiton from Barbadians.

    Indeed, those of us who wish for an improved world, must seek the furtherance of a sound even if basic education, for all peoples, as a necessity for development.

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  • I wan’a know who dis blogger name “Onlookers:” is.. I can’ fin’ he posts. Listen “Onlookers:” whoever you is, stop responding so dat de big wind baffoon would tone it down a tad…!

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  • @BAFBFP

    You barely beat me to it. I can’t understand, the man getting on as though he in the ring. The audience don’t participate? What onlookers what?

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  • Feel free to discuss Haiti here.

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  • @Technician

    The Haiti We are Sorry blog has been closed because we have started another this morning. BU has NOT stopped discussion about Haiti and you would see we have provided link backs. It is not the first time we have taken a decision to ensure we manage a discussion on a particular matter properly. As you correctly opinied BU is about unfettered debate which means we have to read the good and the bad of comments. Again BU takes this opportunity to ask commenters to set their egos aside.

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