It is difficult to express our emotions; we can only send our profound condolence and sympathy with those from all around the Caribbean and the world to the people of Haiti at this tragic time.
The situation brings into our conscience and consciousness though, what has lain dormant and ignored for centuries. How Haiti came to be the most impoverished nation in the western hemisphere.
The history of Haiti has been ignored for far too long and it is time that ALL of us be reminded. Our feature by Sir Hilary Beckles – The hate and the quake – gives a very poignant and timely reminder to those of us who are not familiar, of how Haiti got to be where it was before the quake.
The role of Haiti’s more recent leaders cannot be ignored, the Duvaliers; Francois – Pappa Doc Duvalier 1957-1971 and son Jean Claude Duvalier (Baby Doc) – 1971-1986 would be the most notable for their period in power. Jean Claude Duvalier, still an exile in France has pledged US$8 million to the American Red Cross. Where is the rest of the massive fortune he apparently miss-appropriated from the country? In which off-shore account does it sit?
We wholeheartedly support the bringing fully into the CARICOM family Haiti and its people. CARICOM has received pledges amounting to US$5million from around the region, and will be meeting to discuss a sustained response from the community. We urge them to consider the full integration of Haiti into CARICOM and an end the discrimination against Haitians wishing to emigrate.
As citizens of the CARICOM community it is time for all of us to re-evaluate long held beliefs; to re-educate ourselves with the history of Haiti and the role it has played in all our histories. It really is time we all lived up to the early ideals of the likes of Toussaint L’Ouverture and Henri Christophe. A good place to start would be with the article by Sir Hilary Beckles; reprinted here in Kittivisian Life.
We take this opportunity to implore you to give generously to all the agencies working in Haiti just now on behalf of the Haitian people.