On Haiti's southern trade route, fishermen sell their catch twice a week to buyers from Port-au-Prince. Buyers pay on credit and pay the fishermen back when they return to Marigot's market a few days later. In this blog post on the IMTFI website I explore whether Haiti's new mobile banking systems could be used for buyers to pay fishermen as soon as they sell their catch, allowing fishermen to pay their debts and return to fishing sooner.
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.
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.
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.