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Diaspora: Enough is enough


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Article By: Lesly Kernisant

A very disturbing audio exchange is now being heard all over social media in which a very angry French Guyanese national is severely lambasting a Haitian immigrant living in Guyana. With a voice that expresses utter disgust, she made a blanket statement that insults all Haitians. She went on a vitriolic criticism, recorded and paraphrased below:

“International thugs, disgusting bunch of pariahs being chased, repelled by most countries, beaten and even killed in their own neighboring island, the Dominican Republic. No country wants you, Haitians, aimless vagrants, useless parasites of the world. You are worse than ravenous dogs. Go home, you are not welcome here in Guyana either, don’t ever come back”

This xenophobic excoriation of Haitians is usually spontaneous and unprovoked on a daily basis in most host countries that harbor a large number of Haitian job-seekers. This sort of hate-sputtering scene with those seeking asylum is now becoming a worldwide phenomenon, partly created by rogue governments whose failed system of governance pushes their people to wander elsewhere for basic necessities of human life such as food, shelter, and clothing. While it is unfair to compare the Haitian situation with the atrocities of the Assad government in Syria, the irresponsible leadership of our past and present governments have greatly contributed to this continuing mass exodus of our able men and women to other countries in search of a better life. At a time when we need our leaders to build bridges allowing the Diaspora to return home freely, they are instead erecting stronger barriers against an eventual mass homecoming. The recent passage of the now infamous law that targets all Haitians living abroad is not only discriminatory but can potentially ignite a spike of division between the Diaspora and Haiti. Anything that disrupts this long harmonious relationship between the immigrants and the Haitian nationals will forestall any hope of regaining our lost glory as a proud Caribbean nation. Only in perfect harmony will we be able to achieve growth and prosperity.

In my view, such an exclusionary policy will have the unintended effect of keeping “Haitians out of Haiti”, an equally bad policy when compared to Trump’s isolationist ideology “America for Americans”. Those politicians who voted this law show a collective lack of sound judgment and failed to fully understand the Diaspora’s intricate role in the country’s development. This progressive taxation on money transfers, travel-related activities and other arbitrary “Diaspora fees” is not only discriminatory but unfair and illegal. It is an overtly usurpatory move that sends the wrong message to more than 3 million Haitian immigrants, almost a 1/3rd of the total population (10+ million) who are part of the ever-growing Diaspora now expanded into many large South American cities.

That being said, there seems to be an equally troubling set of accusatory messages emanating from the social media megaphones. This clearly signals the beginning of the end of the Diaspora long honeymoon period with their boldly assertive leaders back home. The generational makeup of the new Diaspora is fast changing. They will no longer watch silently and wait patiently for a better Haiti in a distant future. This false sense of optimism has faded over the years. Haiti has since turned into a haven for the unprincipled and a hideout for the unscrupulous. It is time for the Diaspora to switch to a more retaliatory form of activism in dealing with Haitian leaders. Taxation without representation should no longer be tolerated. The new Diaspora mantra should be ” If I pay a tax, I must cast a vote”.

In Haiti, no one in a position of power was ever held accountable for poor governance, a forerunner of poor performance. Poverty seems to have a state of permanence in the psyche of most Haitian leaders. Ineffective laws and corrupt government institutions stifle economic growth leading to mass exodus of opportunity-seeking people. That’s what explains the mass emigration of Haitians toward these rather hostile neighboring states. Unless our leaders understand the reason behind this present Haitian refugee crisis, they will continue to enact bad laws that are economically counterproductive to the country.

The alarm has finally sounded and everyone is ready to reclaim part of their national heritage! The new voices that have joined the campaign to retaliate against this “anti-Diaspora” abuse are now being heard loud and clear. They have remained silent for too long watching the country going from bad to worse with no strategic plan for improvement in sight… They are now wide awake and ready for a change using their collective voice to say to the present government “Enough is Enough”.

Lesly Kernisant
Lesly Kernisant

Emergency Medicine Physician at Sheridan College

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