Open Letter from Dr. Reginald Boulos to the Haitian people
Time is of the essence. The nation is in danger. The social fabric is torn. The economy is in tatters. The Republic is cracked in all of its political and institutional components. Insecurity has invaded our streets and homes and we are worried. There are few moments in our history when the foundation of our country has been so shaken. This crisis is so new and so severe that we all are asking with anxiety: “Where is Haiti heading?”
The crisis is scary. From Haitians in the diaspora to those living in the country, the concerns are multi faceted: The child unable or prevented from going to school, young people delivered to chronic idleness and no prospect of a better tomorrow, the pregnant woman who can not get to a hospital, the patient who is unable to obtain medical care, mother and infant weakened by hunger, homes permanently deprived of water, food and electricity. Feeding and housing are even more difficult and remain, more than before, luxuries unaffordable for the majority of the population. These days, life is not that expensive. It has become impossible.
This multi-dimensional crisis highlights the limits of the political and economic leadership that governs the destiny of the nation. It reveals the handicap of these elites in understanding the root causes of the Haitian social tragedy and in establishing a model of governance and economic equity capable of guaranteeing the social mobility of young people through education, work and remedy the many sufferings of the people. Suffering that has lasted too long and is too neglected. The people are demonstrating because they are hungry. The people demonstrate because they are demanding opportunities for all. The people are demonstrating because they reject the deceptive and false current and inhuman democratic sociopolitical system. The people are demanding change and will not accept anything else. Our ruling elites must listen and serve the nation as a whole. The legitimacy of the demands of the masses demands it. The time is ripe to put down this iniquitous, fundamentally criminal system, and to engage in a quiet revolution that will rebuild the nation on new terms based on social justice along with citizen and republican ethics. A new Republic built from ideas of enlightenment, progress and humanism. Otherwise, we will all perish like useless fools, vulgar profiteers, ugly rentiers.
The solution to our ills will not come from foreigners. National salvation lies in the collective citizen awakening and in the joint effort of all citizens for a new beginning. It is urgent that bona fide women and men of our country volunteer to mediate between the different antagonistic sectors of the political spectrum. Dialogue between each sector is an unavoidable necessity in the current context of violent social unrest and political polarization. It is high time for the President of the Republic to come out of his confrontational stance and extend a sincere and honest hand to those who are fighting against him and vigorously demanding his departure. It is time for our leaders to understand that the future of the country and its youth is more important than partisan political ambitions. Opposition leaders must not think that the rage of a people in misery is a validation of their positions of systematic rejection of the rules of the democracy.
Civil society, trade unions, employers and professional associations, the religious sector, politicians of various persuasions, must be engaged and understand that the time has come for dialogue not only with the government but also with each other. They must accompany the Haitian people in their eternal struggle for betterment and another just and prosperous Haiti. They must publicly reject the inflammatory statements of anti-republican anarchists, including violent acts by armed groups directed against the homes and businesses of peaceful citizens. The landing in the country of foreign mercenaries equipped with weapons of war will not reassure spirits of peaceful citizens. This fact, both reprehensible and surprising, bears witness to an evil and dark will to reign through terror and to further sow panic on our streets and mourning in our families. The judicial system must investigate this case with complete freedom and impartiality and especially with seriousness and diligence. The nation is waiting to be built.
We must all shout: “Stop right here”! The people have suffered too much from the incivility of their elites, from the unpreparedness and blindness of our policies. The political protagonists of the crisis are like two cocks in a fight where they are too tired of fighting and unable to defeat the opponent, find themselves out of initiatives winning and promising. The hole in which the country now lies is the result of these perpetual and unimaginable lacerations between its sons and daughters under the amused gaze of the slanderous foreigner. The President must do everything to ensure that an honest and civil dialogue is held as soon as possible, while respecting the values of the freedom, dignity and pride that characterize our nation. As we recognize our national interest, we must all make it clear that the time of the diversion and strategies of the dilatory is gone.
This dialogue begins with talks between the President and his Prime Minister in order to harmonize the institutional relations between these two high authorities. It is clear today that they are in conflicts These discussions could be conducted under the direction of the Presidents of both Houses of Parliament. I propose, in case of stalemate in the talks, that they put together a presidential commission which will be charged with initiating political negotiations between the different sectors. This commission will be made up of all the former Heads of State of Haiti, and coordinated by former President Ertha Pascale Trouillot. The negotiations initiated must lead to a definitive resolution of the crisis in the best interests of the nation, the suffering masses and the population in general.
In case of systematic boycott and provoked initiatives as proposed, and aiming to always favor an institutional solution, it will ultimately be up to the Parliament to assume its prerogatives and trigger the constitutional procedure of impeachment of a non performing president, not concerned with his peacekeeping responsibilities, the smooth running of institutions and the overall stability of the country.
The future belongs to patriotic Haitians who say no to violence, the social and economic decay of their country, and who embrace the values of modernity, prosperity, peace, justice and reconciliation for the advent of the New Haiti.
Long live Haiti!
Dr. Réginald Boulos
Entrepreneur / Engaged citizen
Port au Prince
February 20, 2019