iLocal News Archives

Haiti’s leaders wallowing in moral morass

henry_beaucejourBy Henry Beaucejour

Every day international observers are calling for elections in Haiti. The US is regularly threatening Haiti that, if it does not hold elections, then there will be no more aid. The same applies to many other international organizations. But what these organizations do not know is that Haiti has no infrastructure – forget the politics – Haiti has to deal with issues of poverty and water scarcity on a daily basis.

According to a study conducted by The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, only 55.2 percent of the population has access to an improved water source, while close to 70 percent does not have direct access to potable water. Electricity is sporadic at best. Haiti sector faced two energy challenges: a broken electricity sector and dependency on charcoal.

Even before the 2010 earthquake, the power sector in Haiti was among the most challenged in the region. Only about one-quarter of the population had access to electricity. Just a few days ago, power went off in the middle of surgery and surgeons had to struggle to save the patient’s life.

Is fresh water access not important? Ever since the earthquake, nothing has been built. The former president and his pals have embezzled all the billions of dollars in donations. Just drive a car in port au prince and there are potholes everywhere. Thousands of people still live in tents, most young men have no jobs and the future is bleak.

Haiti’s massive reconstruction effort, still undefined at this writing, will no doubt also demand better governance. Large‐scale public works programs are notorious in Haiti and elsewhere for inefficiency and corruption. Haitian public officials will have to do new things, and do old things in different ways.

These are basic necessities of life, which most Haitians do not have. The sewage facilities are broken, there is little rebuilding of the infrastructure and everywhere there is junk and debris. While Haitians are partly to blame for some of these problems, the point is that elections are not of any importance. The new president is not likely to worry about the infrastructure, as he will most likely have other important things to deal with us – like who to offer contracts so he can be paid.

There are no simple solutions to the problems in Haiti and no one seems to be concerned about electricity or fresh water. Perhaps the problem lies in our leaders but Haiti just can’t seem to find a good leader. Almost every leader in Haiti has turned up to be crooked and a thief.

In Haiti, therefore, improved governance should be central components of development. Given the legacy of poor governance and systemic corruption, how can this be accomplished?

Perhaps Haitians leaders need to know when corruption is widespread, the institutional culture grows sick. The norm is corruption; expectations are that corruption will continue. Cynicism and despair become widespread. Change seems impossible.

Even so, there are cases where leaders have made little progress in changing a sick institutional culture by sending a strong signal of change. Not just words: Haitian people have heard plenty of rhetoric about corruption since the last 50 years and now don’t believe it.

However, it seems in Haiti we have a generation of people who have no morals or ethics. It is not easy to teach young people right from wrong because all they see is purloining by the very people who are supposed to lead the country. While Haiti is stuck in constant turmoil, the last thing it needs is an urgent fraudulent election and more chaos.

IMAGE: Henry Beaucejour is the CEO of Sanftec Datacenter, founder-editor of Haititechews, digital innovation strategist, senior business and technology advisor and a contributor to major news network

For more on this story go to:


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *