Haiti’s crisis, Caricom’s opportunity

I do not think that anyone or any country is ever really prepared for a catastrophe.  The recent earthquake in Haiti is evidence of this and when one sees the devastation that has occurred one can understand why.  The situation in Haiti is heartbreaking not just because so many houses have been destroyed but also because so many persons have lost their lives.  Even though we see pictures of it, it is still hard to imagine what it is like.

The most difficult part of recovering from a catastrophe is recognizing that at some point things need to return to normal.  This is difficult because so many are grieving and there is so much to clean up.  Yet, there are other businesses that need to function and the country still needs to earn foreign exchange to pay for its imports.

Now is not the time to give up, financial responsibility is needed more than ever.  Aid is flowing into the country and pledges are being made for the future.  The responsibility of government is to determine how they can address the urgent immediate needs and how do they plan for the future redevelopment of Haiti.  These tasks are extremely difficult but failure to plan properly could result in more severe consequences.

Similarly, for the Caricom countries they face a difficult choice between giving aid to haiti and the sale of goods and services to Haiti.  The economies of the Caribbean countries are not economically strong and there will come a point where we will not be able to give as much aid as we are now doing.  In addition, the money that comes into Haiti for reconstruction will need to be spent to buy the materials necessary to rebuild.  Caricom is in the best position to meet some of those needs, the Governments of the islands can not sit by and watch all of the work go to the developed world.

I know that it may seem too soon to think about these things but it is true one man’s crisis is another man’s opportunity.

For now let us focus our attention on giving assistance to and praying for our neighbour Haiti but recognize that this horrible crisis could provide two opportunities for the Caribbean.  First, it will foster stronger ties between the English speaking islands and Haiti which in turn will strengthen caricom.  Secondly, it may provide the chance to stimulate their economies as they could supply much needed labour services and various products.  However, if I had the choice I would not have chosen an earthquake as the means of achieving it.

Feedback:  why not write and let us know what you did to help the Haitian people?

1 comment so far
gleanerlegal Posted by: gleanerlegal March 1, 2010 at 5:30 pm