EDITORIAL: Hailing Haiti’s triumph over a nightmare
This past Sunday marked the fourth anniversary of the most horrific earthquake disaster to affect Haiti on January 12, 2010, with an estimated loss of at least 250 000 lives and some US$14 billion in economic devastation.
Critical questions remain to be answered by an independent international audit that seems quite necessary, of the financial and humanitarian aid delivered and for which CARICOM and the Organization of American States (OAS) had played significant roles in enabling efforts by international donor agencies and governments.
But no audit is necessary to quantify and analyze the indomitable spirit of perseverance of the Haitian people to survive and rebuild. Their history in struggles reminds us of their tenacity to overcome abject poverty, political oppression and recurring natural disasters. So they moved with determination and kept hope alive after the nightmare earthquake of four years ago.
Not surprisingly, therefore, this was the mood and message that Haiti’s first ambassador to Haiti, Petersen Benjamin Noel, was quite pleased to convey last Friday when he spoke at the formal accreditation ceremony at the Community Secretariat in Georgetown.
Subsequently, at the weekend, top officials of the Caribbean Community and the OAS were commending the Haitians for their heroic courage in moving forward against the odds.
Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza of the OAS, which was involved in coordinating roles in the “Group Of Friends Of Haiti” and “The Haiti Task Force”, has noted: “We have seen the government and people of Haiti persevere, work through issues, find opportunities and secure results.” For Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin, “although much remains to be done, Haiti can demonstrate concrete results and the journey is inspiring . . .”.
Secretary General of CARICOM, Erwin LaRocque, having presided at the accreditation ceremony for Noel, and familiar with progress being made in recovery from the earthquake catastrophe, hailed the progress so far as yet another remarkable display of the spirit of endurance of the Haitian people, who continue to offer lessons on how to overcome daunting hurdles to achieve progress.
CARICOM is currently engaged with the government of Haiti in opposing a new law enacted by the Dominican Republic that has denationalized thousands of immigrants of Haitian descent, although they were born and have been living in that country all their lives.
CARICOM has already made clear its opposition to the Dominican Republic accessing membership of the Community unless it makes relevant changes to its new law, which reflects an immoral and racist dimension.