EYEWITNESS: Moving on… from Haiti

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Once again, Haiti and Haitians are in the news. Poor Haiti…because they’re the poorest nation in the hemisphere, everybody washes their mouth on them. And ironically, they were the very first slave nation to take on the might of an European Imperial power (the French) to throw off their yoke – and come out victorious!!

Now, don’t tell your Eyewitness about the US throwing out the Brits – they might have OWNED slaves, but they were a SETTLER colony. Meaning that the whites in control were seen as one by the Brits. Not so with the Haitians, who had to pay what amounted to a bounty to France for over a hundred years in order to remain free!

Then, to make matters worse, they were saddled with a succession of despotic leaders, like Papa Doc and his son Baby Doc, who imitated the French Monarchs of yore both in their ostentatious lifestyle and their cruelty. Be that as it may, not so long ago, after Burnham was done with us, we reached such a level of poverty that the eminent WI Statesman Alister McIntyre in 1989 announced in an official report that we were precariously perched just over Haiti! So even if it weren’t for their history of fighting for freedom in the region, we ought to be sympathetic to the travails of the Haitian people. We, luckily, were spared the rule of Baby Jesus when his father-in-law (presumably God) inexplicably expired!

But back to the poor Haitians, who’ve been using every means of transport available to flee a life of horror in their native land. By foot to the Dominican Republic, with which they share the island of Hispaniola; by (frequently capsizing) boats to Florida; and now by plane to any country in the hemisphere that would allow them to land. Generally, they then proceed to either Brazil, where a huge community has settled in several slums; or French Guiana, where they are also dominant in their slums. En route, a ton of them have settled in Chile, from where they were supposed to be in- transit.

In all their travels out of Haiti, they’re facilitated by what we called “backtrackers” in Guyana, before the US started handing out visas by the thousands to all and sundry. And to some who weren’t all that sundry!! Guyanese used to pay these “coyotes” US$10,000 a pop. It’s about US$300 for Haitians.

Now, while there’s a humanitarian crisis in Haiti, Guyana has to take control of its border policy…or pretty soon, like Chile, we might have a crisis we can’t control. Cause it’s not just the Haitians…there are the Venezuelans, Brazilians and, soon, the rest of the Caribbean looking for El Dorado.

…up

There used to be an old US comedy sitcom called “The Jeffersons”, which had a theme song, “We’re movin’ on up…to the East Side”. The latter was, of course, the posh section of Manhattan, where all the big ones lived. Like Trump! Well, US Congressman Gregory Meeks – from the boondocks of Brooklyn – has been elected the new Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, making him the first African- American to lead that powerful congressional body. This is even better than movin’ to the Upper East Side!!

Now you, dear reader, might be wondering what Mr Meeks’ meteoric rise has to do with us, but that would mean you’ve forgotten what a salutary role he played in bringing back democracy to our dear land of Guyana. When the Sanctimonious Gangster was trying to Mingo our elections, he’d flown in and called him out!
So now he’ll be calling the shots on Foreign Affairs in a Democratic Congress, let’s see how far Harmon gets with his lobbying!!

…to a Presidential Summit

President Irfaan Ali pulled off another masterstroke when he announced he’s convening a conclave of all the former presidents of our republic to discuss “development”.

Let’s see how the Sanctimonious Gangster explains how rigging helps development!