Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Editorial: The Uninspiring "Dialogue" of President Preval
January 30th, 2009
By: Wadner Pierre - HaitiAnalysis.com
What kinds of words do the Haitian people need to hear from President René Préval during these hard times? Do Haitians need the hopeful discourse of US president Barack Obama?
One would think that President Préval, a man with high level government experience dating back to the Aristide administration of 1991, would know how to address the Haitian people. Honesty need not crush hope, and false hope is useless. From the time of slavery Haiti has been plagued by commissions that do nothing for the people. The reason for their failure is simple. They exclude the people who know and care the most about Haiti. Any well intentioned leader must always bear this lesson in mind and ensure that it guides his actions and his words.
On January 1, 2009 in front of the cathedral of Gonaives, Préval gave a speech to the nation to open the year – something countless Haitian presidents (most of them illegitimate unfortunately) have done. Préval gave a mundane speech that highlighted road construction and “dialogue”. When parliament opened on January 12, Preval pledged to continue with the “dialog” that he thinks has brought peace to Haitians.
However, Senator Jean Hector Anacasis from “LESPWA (hope)”, the party of President Préval, announced something more significant. He said that in April a commission would be formed to review the Haitian constitution that would include “all sectors”. However, the Préval administration has already formed commissions that exclude the largest sectors – the peasants and the urban poor.
Préval was criticized for not saying when the UN Occupation forces would leave Haiti – and for not saying when exiled President Aristide would be able to return. Aristide is currently residing in South Africa where he was welcomed by President Thabo Mbeki shortly after the coup d'état of 2004.
Through elections Haitians have already engaged in much of the “dialogue” that Préval keeps talking about. The problems of Haiti cannot be solved in a month, but Préval needs to mobilize and inspire the people who most urgently want and need to solve them. If he were to do this then progress could be made.
The exclusion of the poor must end. One sided, uninspired “dialogue” must end. Foreign troops must leave as demanded by the Haitian constitution. Criminals who run free mist be brought to justice. Our exiled leaders must return to Haiti. If their elected leaders could say these things it would give Haitians good reason to be hopeful.