Monday, August 9, 2010

Real Questions for Haiti and Its Presidential Candidates

Don't Believe the Hype---or Your Own Press
If you want something done right, you'll have to do it yourself. So... These are the questions that I have yet to see asked by the media to Haiti Presidential Candidate Wyclef Jean, to any of the other Presidential candidates or to current President Preval:

1. President Preval, what do YOU think have been the primary obstacle to getting sufficient aid into Haiti (immediately after the earthquake to now preparing for the Hurricane Season)? We can understand not having an airstrip; but once it was rebuilt, what then?

2. What of the hundreds of millions of dollars pledged to aid Haiti? How do we get those pledges to become actualized assistance for Haiti?

3. President Preval, why are you banning the Fanmi Lavalas party from presenting their own candidate? You do realize this is anti-Democratic, right?

4. President Preval, why does the Constitution not allow for members of the Haitian Diaspora to run for office? Why is the residency requirement five years prior to placing a bid for office? At bare minimum, Haitians in the Diaspora should have dual citizenship.

5. President Preval, if you allow for Wyclef to run by subverting your Constitution (which should be amended, anyway) and yet do NOT allow for Fanmi Lavalas to have positioning in the political structure, you will have (further) failed on all accounts. What do you say to that?

6. What makes you qualified to run for political office in Haiti? How will you parlay your experience in Haiti with making sure the country is prepared to take advantage of the 21st century?

7. Why run for the Presidency? Is there no other way for you to see change in your country without being in the highest office of the land?

8. What is your vision for the status of women in Haiti? As you know, "a nation can rise no higher than its women." And that's a platitude worth repeating... how will you empower the women in Haiti?

9.  How will you manage and leverage the competing interests in Haiti, from the wealthy families, to the neocolonialists, to the U.S. and France, to the NGOs, etc.?

10. Tell us your story. Who are you? What do you do in Haiti and why do you care?

To Wyclef Jean:

1. What have you done with Yele Haiti since the initial investigations and the money started flowing in immediately after the earthquake in Haiti? Can you present a full report, pictures and an accounting? Can you have people and organizations you have helped report back on your progress and assistance? If you have not spent much of the money, why not? The people need immediate and longterm relief. Is it true you have over $8 million dollars that have NOT been spent. If so, why?

2. While it may be true that you were not the accountant in charge of Yele Haiti's funds and, certainly, no one would put you at the helm of the Haitian Treasury, the fact of the matter is that you MUST take responsibility for the sloppy bookkeeping and management of Yele Haiti. For those of us who do not believe you did anything inappropriate yet are still concerned that you did not enact enough oversight to prevent your problems and, thereby, these accusations, how can you convince us that you won't make similar mistakes with the Haitian Treasury and the donations that will continue to come into the country? What safeguards will you put into place to ensure that no one (else) takes advantage of your lack in management skills?

3. Who do you plan to have in your cabinet and what roles would they fulfill? You know you are inexperienced as a political office-holder, so how will you compensate for your lack of experience?

4. You spoke about jobs, security, education, agriculture and housing. As always, the devil is in the details. Please tell us your specific policy plans and ideas to bring these ideas into fruition?

5. Please clarify your position on Aristide, why you supported the rebels against him and asked him to step down (in the MTV interview in which you've been quoted on this issue)?

6. What is the relationship like between you and "Uncle (Raymond) Joseph"? Why is he running against you? And if you win, will he be in your cabinet? And vice versa?

7. What do you envision for the Haitian Diaspora's relationship to Haiti if you win? You have called for the assistance of the Diaspora in providing monetary assistance but I suspect you envision much more for the role Diasporans can play in building Haiti for the 21st Century. What does that look like to you?

8. As an artist with a unique position in the world, what is your relationship like to the rest of the international community? What did you do to spread "goodwill" as the Goodwill Ambassador to Haiti and how will you leverage your international relationships to pull down the rest of the aid pledged and create more opportunities for Haiti?

9. What, exactly, is your relationship like to Bill Clinton beyond being "a fan" as you stated in the interview with Wolf Blitzer on Larry King Live? How will you talk to and deal with former President Clinton's complex relationship to Haiti moving forward in the 21st century? Surely you know that even Bill Clinton has regrets regarding his policies towards Haiti when he was in office? How will you learn from HIS past and try to do better for Haiti with the United States's foreign policy as a backdrop to its future?

10. You have mentioned receiving your calling and being "drafted" to be the President of Haiti by so many of the young people in the country. And yet, you know that young people are also easily duped by conspicuous consumption, uber-celebrity and great promises. How will you prepare yourself and the Haitian people for the extremely unglamorous side of nation-building that requires the kind of change you have discussed in the past? Further, you said you did not mind giving "5 years" but what if the people need you for a second term. Will you give ten years of your life to Haitian governance?

Bonus: What has it been like having an adopted Haitian child? And when you look in your daughter's eyes, what do you see as the future for Haiti?

Bonus+: You've seen "The Matrix Revolutions", right? At first, being Neo seemed fun. All that training under Morpheus, swimmingly dodging bullets and leaping from cars to taste the crisp air flowing underneath his trench coat... But remember when he came back to the ship and all of the hungry, the tired, the poor were waiting for him to attend to them and he had to postpone having sex with Trinity until later? Do you have the level of compassion that would make you want to tend to the needy and yet the discipline to postpone sex with Trinity? Inquiring minds want to know...

I'm serious. If you can answer these questions (well), not only will you be a great President, you just may be one of the greatest persons ever!

Updated: Interestingly enough, I saw this interview a few hours after I posted my questions. See if you think Wyclef is "incoherent" or ANYTHING like Sarah Palin. I think he did a GREAT job, kudos to Wyclef Jean and see for yourself!:


ESP said...

Good questions! I love the Matrix bonus round..

Dr. Goddess said...

Thank you so much! Yeah, I mean, if you want to be "The One", there are certain responsibilities that come with that arrangement :-)