Ilio Durandis: Why Haiti Must Invest in an Innovative Revolution

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - May 10, 2012

By Ilio Durandis
CJ Contributor

Haitian government officials are saying that the country is ready for takeoff, but the destination is unknown, and how the country will take off is still not clear. The time can no longer be about restating the glorious events of two centuries ago to convince a modern world that Haiti is open for its investments.

As a people, we have our work cut out for us. Like a marathon, the clock is ticking ever so slowly, only for the winner to arrive at the finish line ever so quickly.

Before we know, it could be all over. The unfortunate and massively destructive earthquake of January 2010 has left us no choice but to start anew, with a cohesive national vision, and an all-inclusive social contract.

There are many ways to improve the present and secure the victory for the future, but nothing can be done until the country invests itself in an innovative revolution. It is evident to even a newborn that conditions at present within the country are unacceptable and inadmissible to sustain human life. Therefore, our national focus should center on how best to build a modern state for future generations, while engaging and demanding much more from the present stakeholders.

This innovative revolution would not use destructive weapons to build that prosperous future; instead, its weapons should be the will of the Haitian people and their desire to break from more than two centuries of subhuman conditions.

It is a revolution that should be cemented in the grandiose ideals of a people that once taught the world that peace and liberty do not have to be supported by oppressive measures such as slavery and torture.

If the chains of slavery were dissolved in a river of blood, the heavy load of poverty that the Haitian people have been forced to carry could be unloaded through the ingenuity of innovative ideas.

The world is not short on great ideas, but the human capacity to execute them seems to not have the will. Our moment to make change happen has arrived.

Haiti can invest in its own development by making sure that a bonded all-inclusive social contract between government officials and the population is respected.  After so many false starts, this engine must start for good if the taking off is to happen. No long lecture is needed to propose the immediate steps that must be taken to start the engine of Haiti’s development.

For starters, Haiti ought to revolutionize its educational system. Students need to learn materials that can be applied practically and successfully in the progress of the nation. Of course, money is needed to build new vocational, technical and professional schools, to train new and brighter teachers; however, more importantly, Haitian educators must come up with an innovative curriculum that suits the sustainable development of the country.

Education should no longer be confined to the physical walls of a school building. With all the advances in technology, universal free education is now doable, regardless of location.

The physical reconstruction needs to happen, but unless a sound investment is made toward reconstructing the fragile Haitian mentality, any physical reconstruction will be short-lived.

As part of the new social contract, an effort must be made to empower those who have been marginalized for too long, especially Haitian women, unemployed youth, the handicapped and definitely those who live in rural areas.

The talk of decentralization is great, but it must be supported financially, and local authorities must be given the power to work autonomously.

One of the greatest innovations that this new revolution must lead to ought to be a solution for Haiti to become self-sufficient in food production. Agro-industry must be allowed to flourish, and detrimental importation policies must be revised. More programmes and grants should be made available to students, entrepreneurs and others to take full advantage of Haiti’s potential to completely feed itself.

An ambitious goal to make this happen within the next five to 10 years must be the order of the day.

Lastly, this innovative revolution must promote a national altruism value, where every Haitian would allow themselves to see beyond their own self-interest, while focusing more on what is good for the country as a whole.

It is a challenging proposition, but great leaders make daunting concepts easy to understand and apply. Our leaders must set the good example and serve as ethical models.

Everyone wants to see Haiti takes off, but not to just anywhere or to come back to the same place in worse shape than when it took off. The fuels that will ignite the engine are expensive, scarce and valuable.

We have been fortunate in the sense that we still have a chance to start over: therefore, let’s not overplay our luck. It is the moment of truth; history will not be kind to us, if, once again, we do not take care of the present and strategize to win the future.

Every one of us has a role to play in executing and taking part in this innovative revolution. Haiti must invest in its own future and sustainable development.

Through the power of innovation, we won our liberty from our oppressors and that same innovative thinking can give us peace of mind, peace in our pocket and eventually peace in our belly.

Haiti is open for an innovative revolution.

Ilio Durandis, a Caribbean Journal contributor, is the founder of Haiti 2015, a social movement for a just and prosperous Haiti. He is a columnist with The Haitian Times.

Follow Ilio Durandis on Twitter: @durandis

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