HAITI: Is MINUSTAH under fire?

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Post by Pbacker » Fri Mar 25, 2005 7:11 am

Michel Nau wrote:

"A foreign expert who wants to stay off the record said that Canada, USA, and the European community want to make sure that their billion of dollars investments in Haiti would bear fruits, and they don't believe that the MINUSTAH is up to the job. "

Can someone please detail and quantify for me the "billion of dollars investments" that these countries have made in Haiti?

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Post by admin » Sun Mar 27, 2005 9:35 pm

[quote]Question 1: Could the MUNISTAH protect the Haitian workforce population to absorb the money equitably?

Question 2: Could you trust the Haitian government to administer 1 billion dollars?

Question 3: When was the last time you balanced you checkbook to the penny? [/quote]
Michel, your questions will probably surprise Pbacker. However, I am sure that he can adequately formulate his own answers. I would like to preface them, if I may, with these cautionary remarks:

1) The MINUSTAH is a police force. Unless the plan from the international community is to drop a billion dollars from the windows of trucks and airplanes, and then expect to put out any riot that may ensue, personally I cannot see how it would be the role of the MINUSTAH "to protect the Haitian workforce population to absorb the money equitably". That would be like asking your neighborhood police force to serve as you
r accountant.

2) Foreign aid is never simply given to a government to handle as they wish. It is distributed over time, allocated, and earmarked for specific projects. Certain conditions have to be met (and oftentimes, those conditions are not in the interest of the aid recipient and were not designed to be so). Interest accrues on the loans, generally from the moment the agreement for aid disbursement is signed, that is to say, interest accrues even before the disbursements are made. Arrears on past debts often have to be paid. Also, a sizeable part of the loan amount goes right back to the donor country, in terms of administration fees, legal fees, project consultants' salaries, etc.)

So the suggestion that any country or group of countries would give the Haitian government the sum of a billion dollars to administer as they please is not only an illusion, but it leads to some extremely facile but misleading conclusions.

Of course, you should expect the government of the state that
receives the aid to have a say (if not a free hand) in the way the monies will be allocated (prioritizing the objectives, presenting detailed plans for project implementation, etc), but also to combat corruption at all levels (surely the "invisible hands of the market" are not all well-intentioned).

Someone else, like Pbacker, may wish to elaborate on just how much control the Haitian government has on Foreign Aid, but keep in mind that promises that you see in the media or even on official documents are rarely respected to the letter. It would be wrong to always fault the recipient country in each and every case. Corruption is always a two-way street, and donor countries often break their promises for often quite arbitrary reasons.

So, let's do away with the simplistic notion that the Haitian government is going to get a bundle of billions (singular or plural) à la Papa Noel.

3) I fail to see the relevancy of your last question. And you know what? I never feel quite right until I hav
e balanced my checkbook to the last penny.

Anyway, I will now leave the question to those who may interpret them better than I do.

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Post by admin » Tue Mar 29, 2005 12:57 am

[quote]With more than 20 years of experience in negotiation, and billions of dollars of federal contracts and grants management, I still need to be prepared to review pre and post management contracts. I constantly review the scope of work over and over again to make sure that I follow the content of the contract. In addition, copies of OMB-A110, A21, A133, Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), and other contract manuals are available for me to use and to review the listing of unallowable charges in every contract. [/quote]

[quote]Guy you are right again when you said that" Haitian people aren't always the guilty party"; [/quote]
It's always nice to be right, I guess, but where exactly did I write "Haitian people aren't always the guilty party" ?

Those words were placed in quotes. This implies that i
s what I said word for word. And yet, I can't remember writing that phrase anywhere.

Could it be that you are making reference to this particular statement I wrote: "It would be wrong to always fault the recipient country in each and every case." ? If that is the case, then you were paraphrasing (even interpolating) quite extensively, weren't you? How many times need I say that this is not a fair practice? While you may think that you have a perfect understanding of my thoughts, you are still not at liberty to quote me with words of your own choosing!!!

Why are you having so many problems on this forum with the concept of quoting people accurately, Michel??? One would have thought that after repeated warnings that you would care to make a greater effort.

How would you feel if we all started to quote you wildly? I bet that you would not like it one bit. We ALL want to be responsible for our words, Michel. Each one of us. We assume a certain level of risk when we state our opinio
ns, because many other people may not like them. But we should never have to assume the risks of words and statements that we did not make in the first place.

Could you get that concept right, once and for all ???

I hope you will.

Once again, I congratulate you for the high level of oversight which you must have exercised during the past 20 years over "billions of dollars of federal contracts and grants management". The sons of Haiti have gone very far, indeed. May the motherland profit from their experience some day.

Guy S. Antoine

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