A Haitian on Haiti: Editor Gary Pierre Pierre speaks on the plight of his nation
Nayaba Arinde | 4/12/2011, 5:30 p.m.
"The dead bodies lying in the street were really jarring. The smell of the dead bodies was putrid. They were piled up everywhere. During the first couple of days, the government did a pretty good job clearing the bodies. [[ED: PREV. QUOTES ARE USED IN 1ST PARA. AS WELL]] As much as I have criticized the government...it was a difficult thing that they had to do; and it was a case of damn if you do, damn if don't.
"They didn't have the capacity to put the bodies into morgues so that their relatives could identify them. They did what they thought was best when they did the mass burials. You have a major metropolitan city, and the dead bodies were creating serious mental and health conditions.
"You were spooked out. These were dead bodies. It was macabre. The fact is that there might not have been anyone to claim the bodies--the next of kin might have been wiped out, too.
"This was a natural disaster of biblical proportions," said Pierre Pierre. "Even the U.S. probably couldn't have put a plan together to deal with this."
With discord and frustration being seen on the streets, the paper asked the publisher what it was like on the ground. "People are not thrilled with the government of Rene Preval," he said. "He has not shown much leadership. The people don't see them as responsive."
As for the word that American-ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide wants to return to help rebuild his nation, Pierre Pierre determined, "Aristide is not a technocrat. He's a failed leader twice and was ousted twice. Certain elements don't want him. There's some powers that be that don't want him.
"He had to know basic political science; you are not just the president of the poor," chastised Pierre-Pierre, "you have to manage up as well as down.
"[Preval] he's staying," Pierre-Pierre predicted confidently. "Elections were scheduled, but now what should happen is that they work towards a government of national unity."
There are plentiful red flags a-flapping and warning lights flashing in terms of the aid money and where it's going, along with the distribution of the generously world-donated relief supplies.
"A lot of kind-hearted people are raising money and giving it to the NGOs [nongovernmental organizations]," said Pierre Pierre. "We have to start looking at these NGOs, and the whole business of NGOs because they are the ones receiving all this money; and they can be Americans, French, British, Canadians--foreigners. There's a lot of goodwill, but they are getting the money, not the government of Haiti.
"So are the Haitian people going to be victimized once again? We in the media and politicians have to raise the issue."
As for the 10 Baptist ministers charged with and arrested for trying to kidnap 33 Haitian children, Pierre Pierre pulls no punches: "The governmental structure did work in this case and will take them through the justice system. Due to international pressure on the judge, he has shown leniency, but they were arrested and charged. The government worked this time and this was one of the best things to come out of this thing. It showed that you just can't come in and be a white missionary or whoever you are, and just come in and take advantage of the people."
Pierre Pierre proclaimed that the rebuilding of Haiti begins with discussion, then formulating a plan of action and executing the schematic so that this historic island nation, this first modern Black republic, can return to its righteous status quo.