It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light

Mwen se echantiyon yon ras kap boujonnen men ki poko donnen

Si vous voulez vous faire des ennemis essayer de changer les choses

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Threat of Coming Natural Disasters: Open Letter from Stanley Lucas to President Rene Preval

The hurricane season begins on June 1, 2010, and Haiti is likely to face more natural disasters for months to come.  We are all wondering if you have made sufficient plans and provisions to protect and support our citizens?


Since January 12, 2010, an emotional insecurity lives in the hearts of our compatriots as a result of you and the Minister of Interior, Paul Antoine Bien Aime, failure to live up to your constitutional obligation to protect the Haitian people.  You had sufficient and clear notification of the certainty of an earthquake in Haiti, and yet no plans were put in place on how to deal with such a crisis.  Specifically, the Ministry of Mines issued a report on October 7, 2002 that clearly stated a 100% chance that the country would face an earthquake in the near future (for more details see: ).  You had eight years in which to put in place a plan, and quite clearly there was none.


Haiti is on a fault line and in a hurricane alley.  Yet, during the past twenty years, serving as the Minister of the Interior, Prime Minister, and your rise to President – twice – you have done nothing to put in place a plan to address and cope with natural disasters.  In reviewing your track record, you lack of action has cost our people and our country in unthinkable ways (for more details see: ).


But a past review of performance is not the objective of this missive.  Rather, this is a plea for your attention to three specific natural disasters that threaten Haiti now.  The Haitian people have heard nothing from you on any of these questions to date.


1.     Oil giant BP’s massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico poses a grave threat to the Caribbean.  The oil has already reached the shores of Cuba and there is a strong possibility that the spill will reach the Northwest, Northeast and Northern regions of Haiti.  If this happens, this will have at least a 10 year impact on those regional economies.  Has your Administration met to discuss a plan to take precautionary measures and explore legal and diplomatic options to address this situation?  If so, what are the measures you have put in place?   


2.     The threat of earthquakes remains The Southern, Southeastern, Western, and Northern Departments face the greatest risk.  What measures has your Administration taken to construct shelter, educate the public on an emergency plan, and provide emergency and humanitarian relief for the 1.7 million citizen that could potentially be affected?  Is there even a plan, Mr. Preval?


3.     There are between 14-23 named tropical storms and between 8-14 hurricanes predicted for this summer (beginning June 1) – three to seven of these storms could be significant.  Mr. Preval where is the national plan to address this reality? Is there one?  How many government officials and mayors have worked on or consulted on this plan?  How many town halls have you conducted to disseminate information on the emergency plan?  How have the country’s civil society organizations received information on the plan?  What links have been created between civil society organizations , the Diaspora and the government to cooperate on plan implementation? Have you made improvements to the shelter in the 1,350 camps inhabited by 1.7 million Haitians?


Mr. Bien Aime and you have a clear and significant constitutional responsibility to manage and plan for natural disasters.  The Haitian Government is in charge of developing a solution.  Prevention and action and planning will save human lives. Without these actions, cynics might come to the conclusion that you actually wish to capitalize on the misery of the people.  If you and Paul Antoine Bien Aime are simply not up to this massive challenge, then you owe it to the people to resign.  Leave the management of the country to the Haitians who are able to take action to protect the future of the nation.