Avellon Williams (Trinidad and Tobago)
“Haiti we’re sorry,” The words of a song penned/ sung by Trinidad and Tobago Soca singer David Rudder, can best be used to describe the plight of our French speaking Caribbean brothers and sisters at this moment.
While the Western media is focused on the situation in Afghanistan and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Haiti has been sent reeling by a catastrophic 7.2 earthquake which has left 1297 people dead ( the latest count) 5700 injured and 30250 families displaced. This figure is expected to rise in the days and weeks ahead.
What is even more gut wrenching for the people of Haiti, is the fact its President; Jovenel Moise was assassinated on July 7th, plunging the country into civil unrest.
There is also the threat posed from Tropical storm Grace, which is expected to hit the island sometime tonight (August 15th) it must also be noted that Haiti’s infrastructure has not yet fully recovered from the January 2010 earthquake which claimed 200000 lives and caused damage to the Island estimated to be around $8.5 billion.
The West, to a large extent, has turned a blind eye to the people of Haiti and China and Russia which can assist have also adopted a hands-off approach to the Island.
This Caribbean Island, which gained its independence from France in 1804 is among the poorest in the world and is definitely the poorest in this hemisphere.
This apathetic approach to Haiti had allowed tyrants such as Jean Francois (Papa Doc) Duvalier and his son Jean Claude (Baby Doc) Duvalier to rape and plunder the scant resources of the island.
So natural disasters apart, Haiti has been on the proverbial back-foot for many years, suffering from the tyranny of leaders in the past and the lack of interest in its development shown by the powerful nations of the world.
If this earthquake and the pending tropical storm do not prick the collective consciences of the developed world to rise and give meaningful assistance to the people of Haiti, then nothing else will.
The days of tokenism are over. If nothing meaningful happens then, to the people of Haiti, all this writer can say is, “Haiti I’m sorry.”