Commentary: Ayibobo! The departure of the UN mission in Haiti MINUSTAH is imminent!
By Marcel Duret
Former Ambassador of Haiti in Tokyo
“After 13 years, the UN mission in Haiti MINUSTAH is leaving next October” ~ statement by a representative of the United Nations. I should be glad to hear this good and marvelous news! I should say that the end of a period of shame and humiliation of my country is at the end of the tunnel! The Haitian people should perhaps be thrilled!
But a deep anxiety, an unbearable pain invade my heart and my soul. Why this sad feeling continues to haunt me every minute, every second?
First of all, I wish that we Haitians have requested this departure. Why did the Senate of the Republic choose to vote an emergency resolution on behalf of Guy Philippe and against defamation instead of this state decision that could have given us a little bit of our collective pride from the ignominy of having been occupied that long and repeatedly? Why is it that the epidemic of prostitution brought about by the presence of the MINUSTAH did not spark the sense of urgency among our parliamentarians? How many young girls were introduced to the sale of their body and soul to feed their families! Mothers have closed their eyes to the immoral work of their offspring, or even encouraged them? How many young girls and boys were raped?
Some 10,000 people and counting have died of cholera. Over 800,000 have caught this disease and suffered terribly. $5 billion and counting, what does Haiti have to show for it? If the MINUSTAH’s military and police occupation force has contributed to stability in the political and social life of the country, among others by the establishment and training of our new police force, would we not have been able to do it differently? With all due respect to the men and women of the MINUSTAH, to all the countries in the world which contributed to this force, to the UN, can we consider this mission a success?
The big question is what do we, Haitians, do today to prepare for this departure? What do we plan to avoid a repeat of this occupation of our land in the near future? When will we, as a people, take control of our own destiny? When will this collective “We” be reborn? After reading the statement of general policy of the designated prime minister, after watching the squabble between parliamentarians on the trifles, and by witnessing the muteness of the judiciary, these considerations do not appear to be of concern for our leaders. Are they the least of their worries?
What plan was developed by our future leaders to stimulate our people to embark upon a crusade of stimulus of our sovereignty and our dignity as a nation? How to engage all the active forces of the nation in the development of this common vision?
Yes, my heart bleeds so profusely by this feeling of helplessness while facing the scale of the disaster that we have inflicted on ourselves.
Well! What’s done is done! We cannot go back. However we must plan and build our future. We cannot entrust our fate to foreigners or to other countries.
So, in my soul and conscience, let me make the following suggestions to President Jovenel Moïse:
(I) Without delay provoke the creation of a grand Council of State composed of former prime ministers, of a group of well respected personalities from the civil society, of technicians of high level as well as some presidents of commission of both chambers. This Council of State would accompany the president during his whole tenure. The prime minister and ministers are executors of various programs that have been designed and developed by the president and the Council of State. This body should solicit the participation of everyone, particularly those living in the rural areas, in the conception of the programs. The president of the republic should refrain from taking decisions unilaterally without the approval of this Council. Almost all our heads of state made the mistake of thinking that they could alone solve all the problems of the country;
(II) A media campaign concerning the departure of the MINUSTAH must be initiated as soon as possible to highlight the good and the bad sides of this occupation and especially around our determination to avoid that this occupation is never renewed in the future. This action would take the form of a national campaign on citizenship;
(III) Consider using the infrastructure of the MINUSTAH as the sites of the mandatory civic service program under the interministerial responsibility of the ministry of defence, ministry of youth, sports and civic service, with the collaboration of the ministry of education and vocational training.
It is about time that the MINUSTAH leaves the country! But it is essential that we Haitians, individually and collectively, take our destiny in hand so that our children and grandchildren can benefit from a prosperous country where it feels good to live.
May all the Gods of the Earth bless us and bless Haiti!
Ayibobo! The departure of the MINUSTAH is coming soon!