Mirlande Manigat visits Marche en Fer

February 11th 2011

Would-be President Mirlande Manigat visited Port-au-Prince's newly renovated iron market this morning at 11.30 EST. Vendors crowded around as Manigat toured up and down the stalls in both the produce and tourists markets, stopping to talk with vendors who hugged her and showered her with policy requests.

Her entire visit was enveloped by the sound of vendors dancing and singing 'Vle pa vle Manigat, vle pa vle ban-m Mirlande Manigat', which translates as 'Want or not want Manigat, want or want not want give us Mirlande Manigat.

Round two elections: Promises and pitfalls

February 4th 2011

If you had blinked when the candidates for the presidential runoff were announced at 7.30am this morning, you would have missed it. After an hour of trawling through the vote count by area, the candidates-to-be were announced so fast that it was entirely possible that you could be glued to the TV and still miss the whole thing.

Is democracy now the greatest good for Haiti?

February 3rd 2011

As I sit here, having given up on hearing Préval announce Haiti's election results tonight, I can't help but wonder what semblance of democracy Haiti salvages, and whether it matters.

A number of events over the last few weeks call into question the idea that democracy is always concerned with the greatest good for the greatest number. Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier's return to this island after twenty-five years is a case in point.

Rebuilding Haiti: What has been achieved?

January 28th 2011

There has been a great deal written in the international press about how little has been achieved in the year since the earthquake that hit Port-au-Prince on the 12th January 2010. Reasons given tend to be either that the Haitian government is corrupt or incompetent, that the Haitian people are disorganised, or that development agencies simply are not responding adequately. Millions of dollars sent by the international community appearing to be falling into a black hole.