Saturday, August 04, 2007

Distasteful politicking in Haiti?

Perish the thought! Thought that was indeed what was evidently behind this week’s successful passage of a parliamentary motion in Haiti of no-confidence against Daniel Elie, the Minister of Culture in the government of Haitian president René Préval.

The move - lead by Deputies Jonas Coffy and Poly Faustin of Fanmi Lavalas, Laurore Edouard of UNION, Accluche Louis-Jeune of OPL and Isidor Mercier of the RDNP - apparently came to pass because, though Elie staged what is by many account the most successful Carnaval that the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, has seen for many years, and a similarly well-received fête in the southern city of Jacmel (site of perhaps Haiti’s most colorful pre-Lentian celebrations), the Minister did not apparently spread the wealth of the Carnaval budget around enough for the politicians’ liking.

The move by the deputies, some of whom in the past have been highly critical of any judicial oversight of their activities, financial or otherwise, preferring to behave more like rooster in in a yard than the representatives of 8 million plus people depending on them to reduce the misery in their lives, has been seen by some as a warning to Préval himself not to forget about the largess that Haiti’s president’s historically shower on parliamentarians to curry favor and the spoils of corruption which often form its core. Seeing how Préval responds to this challenge, as he sets about strengthening Haiti’s judiciary and police, and instituting a rule of law over politicians as well as civilians in a country where impunity has historically reigned for the powerful, is one of the most telling and important questions being posed in Haiti today.

It will be interesting to see how all this plays out.

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