Online panel talks Haiti
BARBADIANS seized the opportunity to log onto the NATION’S Facebook website Thursday evening to participate in the live discussion on Haiti and the reconstruction effort.
The panel included Publisher and Chief Executive Officer Vivian Ann Gittens, United States Embassy Charge D’Affaires, Dr Brent Hardt and USAID Director for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Jim Goggin.
Participants expressed concern about the many social problems still affecting Haiti such as housing, crime, education, unemployment and the distribution of resources and funding.
One woman made an impassioned plea on behalf of the women who have become targets of physical attacks in Haiti, suggesting there be the deployment of what she called anti-rape personnel.Another participant pointed to the high unemployment situation in the earthquake ravished country and asked how Caribbean businesses could assist in providing employment.
“Rather than bottled water, how about employing the Haitian men to dig wells or in the drilling of boreholes? Encourage them to farm, woodwork, carpentry, constructing sheds rather than waiting for the importation of tents,” she suggested.
Goggin, in responding to the troubling rape issue said security measures had been enhanced and the Haiti police had helped with their foot patrols but he admitted that more needed to be done.
“The needs and voices and concerns of women must be considered as part of the reconstruction and longer-term recovery effort by the government and society of Haiti, as well as by the international donor community,” he said.
He also said the greatest needs now were the re-establishment of the institutions of the Haitian government and the co-ordination of the funding. He said unemployment was very high but international donors were offering employment opportunities.
Dr Hardt, pointed out that the rebuilding process in Haiti “would be a long one” but he reiterated the need for Caribbean countries to continue providing aid and support to Haiti. He said the Interim Haitian Reconstruction Commission, which was established by the government in April, was mandated to ensure that Haiti was rebuilt better than it was before.
In terms of the BDS$1.2 million, which was pledged through the Starcom/OCM Radio Network Help Haiti Now Radiothon, the Nation’s CEO said $1.1Million was collected and was handed over to the Medianet Haiti Relief Effort fund. (MB)