What we have learned in one long year of mourning after Haiti\’s earthquake is that an exogenous plan of reconstruction – one that is profit-driven, exclusionary, conceived of and implemented by non-Haitians – cannot reconstruct Haiti.
No, no, of course not. Profits are bad, M\’Kay?
Education has been a top priority since the first Lavalas government – of which I was president – was sworn into officeunder Haiti\’s amended democratic constitution on 7 February 1991 (and removed a few months later). More schools were built in the 10 years between 1994, when democracy was restored, and 2004 – when Haiti\’s democracy was once again violated – than between 1804 to 1994: one hundred and ninety-five new primary schools and 104 new public high schools constructed and/or refurbished.
How excellent: although this isn\’t so good.
Haiti\’s devastating earthquake in January last year destroyed up to 5,000 schools and 80% of the country\’s already weak university infrastructure. The primary school in Port-au-Prince that I attended as a small boy collapsed with more than 200 students inside. The weight of the state nursing school killed 150 future nurses. The state medical school was levelled. The exact number of students, teachers, professors, librarians, researchers, academics and administrators lost during those 65 seconds that irrevocably changed Haiti will never be known. But what we do know is that it cannot end there.
You never know, profit seeking might mean building to the earthquake code: unlike the building done by the government you led.