Archive for August, 2010

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My Opinion

I have a few friends who keep me updated with the news, the rumors and whatever else they think is interesting enough to either help me get a laugh or say hmmm.  They send me emails that they have received from others and there is no analysis made on those texts.  They are from blogs and other sources that are not objective because those lines were written for the purpose of making a case against an entity or simply criticize. While I am a critic of the government of Haiti, I take time to analyze issues before taking a stand because I refuse to make a fool of myself by embracing unsubstantiated anecdotes. I have not given a good grade to the Haitian government since the earthquake.  This Monday morning, I have read a couple of those important articles that everyone talks about: Oil in Haiti.  This is an important topic.

I am perplexed about the situation in Haiti that suddenly transformed a lot of people into experts.  Those experts are there to point fingers and to criticize while they will not do anything to help Haiti.  What’s your expertise? Right now, Haiti needs people who have attended universities here or there with an advanced degree and most of all with integrity and a brain that thinks clearly for the people.  We don’t need demagogues with a short agenda because we are in long term trouble therefore we need long term solutions that will need to be reviewed and revised on a regular basis.  I have heard in the past that those who were thought to be godsend came up with development plans with no option of building human capital.  Who would develop those plans and how would they get implemented are still pending questions. They thought that their megalomaniac point of views would change Haiti’s status and get them credit as the savior of the nation.  There are things that you need to know.  Haiti will not change as long as the people living there don’t change.  From rags to riches, if everyone of those poor Haitians receive $1 million, their millionaire status would not change Haiti as long as they don’t change their ways within their society.  A country is its people. Kesner Pharel talked about that in one of his shows on Radio Métropole, I loved that expression.  We can find dozens of articles related to this expression throughout the web, magazines and newspaper articles.  While diversification is important in the mix of a nation, negativity has no place.  It is like spreading gangrene where the end result will be amputation of a limb or death. Those so-called experts on the Haitian problems come from all walks of life and I am amazed to see that they are also citizens of other countries living in Haiti. 

Well, we all know that every Haitian has the solution to our island nation’s problem.  They do point on everything except the real problem, the people.  A country is its people may be a sad depiction of Haiti right now but I must tell you this is the truth.  We are in chaos because we never plan for the future. We are in trouble because we never thought that we would be hit so hard.  We learned since we were children that we must prepare ourselves to face anything.  We have learned never to trust men but yet we trusted our leaders and for the past 50 years we can barely find anything they have done for the nation.  François Duvalier repressed us with the tontons macoutes, his son Jean-Claude gave us a similar dose.  Namphy, Avril and the other military leaders continued the Duvalier era with a camouflage.  Manigat would have been better, I hope, but he compromised his chances and was ousted by Namphy, he was lucky to be left alive.  Aristide, though a demagogue in his language did not have his chance, Préval, hmmm, I don’t know.  Aristide came back, boycotted by his formers friends and foes, and again was ousted (maybe I should look deeper into that) and Préval again, you’re kidding me right! Twenty four years after Jean-Claude Duvalier Haiti has only gone backward except in few areas but nothing has changed for the nation as a whole.  If I have to repeat that a country is its people, I will blame the Haitian people for allowing such things to come their way.  It is not the fault of those politicians but rather that of my brothers and sisters for letting go even when they see that nothing goes right.  It is time for a new era and this new era starts now.

I made the approach to negativity because I see the tendency in a lot of texts, emails and opinions and facts that I have read since January 12, 2010, the day that doomed Port-au-Prince and many other areas of Haiti. The Americans were the first to go to Haiti because they are looking for oil, the Canadian were next because their governor general has Haitian blood running through her veins.  The Haitian president was complaining that God is really after him because he lost his private residence and his “Palais National”.  It seems to me that the Americans and Canadians were compassionate, they were there even though they did not lose anything, they could have said we have no business there – Oh I forgot, the oil. President Préval did not lose any of those 230,000+ Haitian lives under those rubbles.  He traveled to Ecuador and God knows if his mind was not wandering along the shores of Miami while the people he supposed to lead did not have the basic necessities, I mean the bare minimum.  Where is the negativity in all of this?

I said earlier that we need a new era and this new era starts now.  We need to take charge of our future.  The environment needs to be protected, our legacy needs to kept safe and most of all our education system needs to be overhauled for if the people were literate they would have been able to make intelligent analyses of the political spectrum and not fall for the demagogueries of those politicians of the past 2 decades.  A country is its people.  Haiti accepts unevenness in its government not because its politicians are ordinary but because its people don’t know what’s good for them.  If we do not act now, the presidential election which should be cancelled will bring to power another average politician with no sound agenda and no long term vision for the dying nation.  Here we need to be very careful.

There is ambiguity in the Haitian circle.  Ambiguity we all know is whenever there is a lack of clarity in your words or actions.  The Haitian institutions were dead before the earthquake and now maybe they are buried without a funeral like it was the case for a lot of our brothers and sisters.  What’s next?  Where is the Haitian government?  Those of you who are complaining that the Americans have taken over the Airport of Haiti you need to know that your president, your prime minister and your other leaders are invisible?  Are they still in charge or have they relinquished power? There are 13500 or 20000 American soldiers in Haiti right now.  If it was not for them and the rescue team of the world what would have become of Haiti one month after?  I, Gabriel Benoit, want to say Thanks to the world for what is being done in Haiti.


We need to be cautious and reconsider those political factions in Haiti and make the leaders change the processes.  Why should we have 34 presidential candidates?  Let’s decide it with primary elections.  From 34 candidates we want to reduce it to a much lower number half way through.  After the first round of the primaries any candidate with less than 10% of the departmental vote has reached the end of his/her candidacy.  I also want to say that the 65 political parties that make the political arena in Haiti need to be eliminated or at least mixed to avoid wasting the time of the nation.  In Haiti, politics is on the left, the far left, and this is the same ideologies and trends that continue there is absolutely no difference in political point of views in Haiti but yet the number of candidates never ceases to increase.  There must be some very interesting things going on for ordinary citizens when they become elected officials. While I would encourage many, especially the young Haitian professionals, to run for office, I would also urge them to focus on eliminating corruption.  In Haiti there are some well educated people with solid experience in their areas of expertise.  They should invest in the future of the nation instead of training themselves to become corrupt politicians unable to give accurate accounts of their actions even if they have only one month in office.  We must say We, The People, don’t want the bad end of the deals anymore.  We need to hold everyone accountable for their actions in government without fear of reprisal. 

The office of the President has inherent powers that can regulate the market, fix the fiscal issues and create opportunities for every Haitian among other things.  The office of the President must stop the corruption and use those funds to create opportunities for the people.  The greatest gift of all that the government of Haiti can give the nation is adequate education.  Once this is done and the children of Haiti go to school from a tender age until university or vocational or other third level education, we will be able to claim the success seen in South Korea, Singapore and the other countries of the world that are considered newly industrialized nations (NIC).  It will not take a long time for that to happen just 40 years if it starts in October 2010.

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Haitian nurses honored

Florence Nightingale Award given for the first time to three Haitian nurses.

The following was sent to me by Ariel Colin, my brother-in-law.  Michaelle Colin, one of the recipients, is his sister and of course my sister-in-law. 

Congratulations to you my dear Michaelle in this occasion.  I want to make myself the spokesperson for all of those you have helped throughout your career.  May God bless you.

Here we go

This is the first time in history that the medal, which is being given
exceptionally in 2010, has been awarded to Haitian health workers. This is the
first of this award in 2010. 1,309 exceptional nurses from around the world have
received the Florence Nightingale Medal since it was first awarded in 1920.

The Florence Nightingale Medal is the highest award which can be bestowed on
nurses and nursing aides who have distinguished themselves in caring for victims
of a conflict or natural disaster. It was started by the Red Cross in 1912,
initially awarded to women nurses. In 1991 it was changed to also include men.

The award is named for the legendary English nurse Florence Nightingale
(1820-1910) who persuaded the British government to permit women nurses to
assist male doctors in caring for war wounded. She was dubbed “The Lady with the
Lamp” after her habit of making rounds at night, during the Crimean War. She is
the mother of professional nursing. In 1860 she founded the first secular
nursing school in history. Just as doctors take the Hippocratic Oath, nurses
take the Nightingale Pledge.

The medal is going to three Haitian nurses, Germaine Pierre-Louis, Michaëlle
Colin and Jude Célorge thanks to their work in the Haitian 2010 earthquake
disaster, and other exceptional nursing service. They were chosen for the
exceptional courage they demonstrated helping victims of the earthquake that
struck on 12 January 2010, and for many years of selfless work in behalf of sick
and wounded people. The awards will be presented by another nurse, Christiane
Augsburger, a member of the Assembly of the International Committee of the Red
Cross (ICRC) and chairwoman of the committee that selects the medal winners.
Each of the three Haitian health workers will also receive a limited-edition
silver commemorative coin issued by the Royal Mint of the United Kingdom on the
occasion of the 100th anniversary of the death of Florence Nightingale.
Germaine Pierre-Louis is a nurse who is president of the south-east branch of
the Haitian National Red Cross Society. Despite losing her own home in the
earthquake, Ms Pierre-Louis arranged for hundreds of survivors in the city of
Jacmel to receive care.
Michaëlle Colin, chief nurse at the Port-au-Prince Sanatorium, worked in tents
since the earthquake destroyed the hospital buildings. Thanks to her efforts the
sanatorium, a referral hospital for tuberculosis patients, was the first
hospital to resume services after the earthquake.
Jude Célorge, for many long years has been the head of a Haitian National Red
Cross Society rescue team in Martissant, a problem area in Port-au-Prince.

My primary information sources:
AlertNet news of crises around the world;
International Committee of the Red Cross;
Wikipedia has an article specifically on Florence Nightingale, and also her role
in the history of Feminism, and then there is a stub on this medal.
Tags: Florence-Nightingale, Germaine-Pierre-Louis, History, Jude-Celorge, Medal,
Medicine, Michaelle-Colin, Nurse, Red-Cross

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