Fixing Haiti – Can the Diaspora be the Answer?

Go Lean Commentary

Make no mistake; Haiti needs all the help it can get. At this moment, there are many initiatives hoping to impact this country:

CU Blog - Haitian Diaspora - Not the Panacea - Photo 1Despite all of these efforts, Haiti continues to be the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. They boast bad dysfunction!

Many people may argue – and they would be correct – that the reformation and transformation of Haiti should come from Haiti and Haitians first.

Do what you have always done; get what you have always got.

But can Haiti’s Diaspora be their “panacea” – the cure-all for all its societal ills?

Haiti’s problems have been too tumultuous for Haitians on the island to assuage on their own. Consider the news article in  Appendix A below; as a poor country with a far-flung Diaspora, there is some hope for Diaspora financing. So the people within this community continue to hope that their panacea – solution, cure-all for their ills – may come from their Diaspora.

Here we go again. We have seen how one Caribbean country after another put their hope and faith in their young people that they send off to the “mainland”. This precept was communicated brilliantly in the Broadway musical “Hamilton“ with this featured Hip-Hop song What’s Your Name? Alexander Hamilton; consider these lyrics:

When the word got around, they said “this kid is insane, man”
Took up a collection just to send “him” to the mainland
“Get your education, don’t forget from whence you came”
And the world gonna know your name …
VIDEO – Lin-Manuel Miranda Performs at the White House Poetry Jam –

The Obama White House
Published on Nov 2, 2009Writer and star of the Broadway musical In the Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda performs “The Hamilton Mixtape” at the White House Evening of Poetry, Music, and the Spoken Word on May 12, 2009. Accompanied by Alex Lacamoire. (public domain)

This song/VIDEO is relevant to this discussion. Alexander Hamilton was born and raised among the Caribbean islands of Nevis and St. Croix; then he emigrated to colonial New York and became a “Founding Father” of the United States of America, along-side George Washington et al. But one legacy of Hamilton is that he never returned his attention to the Caribbean.

When will “our” Caribbean people learn? A trip (relocation) from the Caribbean to the mainland, tends to be One-Way.

In many of the Caribbean homelands, there is such a high societal abandonment rate that the population of the citizenry is approaching a distribution where half of the citizens live in the homeland and the other half live abroad – in the Diaspora. When this is not the case – as in Haiti – then a majority of the educated population have fled. One report presents that abandonment rate of 70 percent.

As related in a previous blog-commentary, those who live in the Diaspora know “both sides of the coin”, as most of them have lived in the ancestral lands at one point. But the other half, those who still live in the homeland may have never lived abroad.

They do not know what they do not know!

Being a visitor to some North American or European city is different than being a resident, as visitors do not have the interactions of applying for jobs, housing, government benefits, paying taxes, co-existing with neighbors, etc.. These ones in the homeland may naturally assume that the “grass is greener on the other side”. Here’s the truth:

    It is not! (The grass in the northern cities may not even be green at all; it may be covered with autumn foliage or snow).

The movement behind the book Go Lean … Caribbean has been consistent in urging the governments of the Caribbean member-states to NOT put their hope and faith in their Diaspora to look back to their homelands and be the panacea that their societies need. There is preponderance for one government administrations after another to pursue this strategy. This movement has been consistent in this theme. Just recently we published commentaries on this Caribbean pre-occupation, with these entries relating these homelands:

The premise for the criticism of this Diaspora strategy is that these ones have fled the region for a reason; they have been “pushed” or “pulled” away from their homeland. They would be less inclined to invest back in their country; and the historicity is that they have not! All of these previous commentaries relate this basic message about catering to the Diaspora:

The subtle message to the Caribbean population is that they need to leave their homeland, go get success and then please remember to invest in us afterwards.

… It is so unfortunate that the people in the Caribbean are beating down the doors to get out of their Caribbean homeland, to seek refuge in these places like the US, Canada and Western Europe. And yet it seems like the Chief Executive of this Caribbean country is encouraging more of it – there is a similar sentiment in the rest of the Caribbean member-states. As a result, we have such a sad state of affairs for our Caribbean eco-system as we are suffering from a bad record of societal abandonment.

Yes, the problem of this Diaspora-outreach strategy is that it double-downs on the failure of why the Diaspora left in the first place. When we look at Haiti and see the many failures of that country, we realize that the Haitians on the island and the Haitians in the Diaspora cannot, single-handedly or collectively, solve the problems on that homeland. No, something bigger and better is needed.

Enter the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). This is presented as the organizational solution for Haiti; this is the panacea. We need people to stay in their Caribbean homelands, not flee. We need them to prosper where planted. Governments cannot expect to derive revenues from the emigrated Diaspora; this is equivalent to demanding alimony after a divorce. This is unrealistic and impractical as a government policy. There needs to be a better system of governance.

The book Go Lean…Caribbean – available to download for free – serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic CU, for the elevation of Caribbean societal engines – economic, security and governance for all member-states. The book asserts that the region must work to hold on to its populations – especially the professional classes – not see them leave for foreign shores. To accomplish this objective, this CU/Go Lean roadmap presents these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improvement of Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies. Improved governance allows for better revenue options for member-states; in fact there are the options for Two Pies – revenues for the federal government – see Appendix B – and revenues for the member-states.

The Go Lean book – and many previous blog-commentary – asserts that while conditions may be bad for Caribbean (i.e. Haitian) residents in their homeland, Black-and-Brown immigrants to other countries often have to contend with less than welcoming conditions in those countries. It is only with the second generation that prosperity is achieved, but by then, the children of the Caribbean Diaspora is not considered Caribbean anymore; they assume their residential citizenship. (Previously we related how Afro-Caribbean people in the UK preferred to be identified as “Black British“).

It would be better for Haitian people, and people of all the Caribbean for that matter, to work to remediate the problems in their homeland, rather than emigrate and become aliens in a foreign land. But there is no doubt that such work would be heavy-lifting; it requires a reboot of the entire Haitian eco-system. The Go Lean roadmap calls for a technocratic reboot, to do things differently.

This roadmap is not for the Diaspora to come to the rescue, but rather a Caribbean confederacy, constituted by all 30 member-states. This position leverages the Caribbean as a Single Market (42 million people); it asserts that this is better than catering to the Diaspora of just one country; (Haiti’s Diaspora is estimated at 1 million). This is the panacea that the Caribbean needs to assuage its defects and dysfunction. Plus, it also includes the Diaspora, but of all the Caribbean nations combined – estimated at 10 to 25 million. This is a plan for interdependence! This was the motivation for the CU/Go Lean roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 13) of the book:

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xix. Whereas our legacy in recent times is one of societal abandonment, it is imperative that incentives and encouragement be put in place to first dissuade the human flight, and then entice and welcome the return of our Diaspora back to our shores. This repatriation should be effected with the appropriate guards so as not to imperil the lives and securities of the repatriated citizens or the communities they inhabit. The right of repatriation is to be extended to any natural born citizens despite any previous naturalization to foreign sovereignties.

xx.  Whereas the results of our decades of migration created a vibrant Diaspora in foreign lands, the Federation must organize interactions with this population into structured markets. Thus allowing foreign consumption of domestic  products, services and media, which is a positive trade impact. These economic activities must not be exploited by others’ profiteering but rather harnessed by Federation resources for efficient repatriations.

xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

The goal of the Go Lean roadmap is for Caribbean people to prosper where planted; the book therefore provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot Haiti (and the rest of the Caribbean). One advocacy for a Way Forward is the plan to optimize government revenues collections (Page 172): 10 Revenues Sources for Caribbean Administration; see Appendix B below.

In addition, there is a specific plan in the roadmap to impact Haiti. Consider the Chapter excerpts and headlines here from this sample on Page 238 entitled: 10 Ways to Reboot Haiti. But first, understand the concept of the Marshall Plan:

The Bottom Line on the Marshall Plan
By the end of World War II much of Europe was devastated. The Marshall Plan, (officially the European Recovery Program, ERP), named after the then Secretary of State and retired general George Marshall, was the American program to aid Europe where the United States gave monetary support to help rebuild European economies after the end of the war. During the four years (1948 – 1952) that the plan was operational, US $13 billion in economic and technical assistance was given to help the recovery of the European countries. The plan looked to the future, and did not focus on the destruction caused by the war. Much more important were efforts to modernize European industrial and business practices using high-efficiency American models, reduce artificial trade barriers, and instill a sense of hope and self-reliance.By 1952 as the funding ended, the economy of every participant state had surpassed pre-war levels; for all Marshall Plan recipients, output in 1951 was at least 35% higher than in 1938. Over the next two decades, Western Europe enjoyed unprecedented growth and prosperity. Generally, economists agree that the Marshall Plan was one of the first elements of European integration, as it erased trade barriers and set up institutions to coordinate the economy on a continental level – that is, it stimulated the total political reconstruction of Western Europe. Today, the European Union, the latest successor of the integration effort, is the world largest integrated economy.

CU Blog - A Lesson in History - Haiti 1804 - Photo 3

10 Ways to Reboot Haiti


Lean-in for the Caribbean Single Market
This regional re-boot will allow for the unification of the region into one market, thereby creating a single economy of 30 member-states, 42 million people and a GDP of over $800 Billion. Following the model of  European integration, the CU will be the representative and negotiating body for Haiti and the entire region for all trade and security issues.


Marshall Plan for Haiti
Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. But what they have is impassioned human capital as opposed to financial capital or valuable minerals. The CU is a total economic reboot for this country, one that involves developing internally and not thru emigration. To reboot Haiti will require a mini-Marshall Plan. The infrastructure, for the most part, is archaic compared to modern societies. The engines of the CU will enable a rapid upgrade of the infra-structure and some “low hanging fruit” for returns on the investment.


Leap Frog Philosophy
There is no need to move Haiti’s technology infrastructure baseline from the 1960’s, then to the 1970’s, and so on. Rather, the CU’s vision is to move Haiti to where technology is going, not coming from. This includes advanced urban planning concepts like electrified light-rail, prefab house constructions, alternative energies and e-delivery of governmental services and payment systems.


Repatriation and Reconciliation of the Haitian Diaspora
The goal will be to extend the “Welcome Mat” to people that may have left Haiti over the decades and want to return. The return the CU advocates is for the Diaspora’s time, talents and treasuries. In terms of time, the encouragement will be to have ex-patriots at least have a vacation home on the island. The CU will provide the re-patriots with special status to assuage any victimization. In addition, the CU will convene a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to bring resolution to many issues from previous coup d’état, coup attempts and the Duvalier dictatorship days.


Access to Capital Markets
Rebooting Haiti will require access to capital. The CU capital markets will allow for municipal and corporate financial options. The Caribbean Central Bank will manage Haiti’s monetary affairs with the global currency of Caribbean dollars.


National Historic Places


World Heritage Sites


Labor, Immigration and Movement of People
The recovery plan for Haiti would discourage the emigration of the population. Haiti has a population base (10 million) that can imperil other islands if too many Haitians relocate within the Caribbean. As a result, the CU will expend the resources and facilitate the campaign to dissuade relocation for the first 10 years of the ascension of the CU. During these first 10 years, Haitians visiting other CU member states, with Visa’s, will careful monitoring to ensure compliance.


Educational Mandates
Whereas the CU educational facilitation is satisfied at the secondary level, there will be a greater need for Adult Education in Haiti. Because of the decades of poverty, illiteracy is more dire in Haiti than in other CU state. There will be no age limitation for the educational opportunities. The macro-economic principle is “every year of education raises a country’s GDP”; this will allow for easy pickings of the economic “low hanging fruit”.


Language Neutrality of the Union

There have been a number of blog-commentaries by the Go Lean promoters that have detailed Haiti’s historicity and the Way-Forward – the best hope for a new eco-system for Haiti. See a sample list here: A Lesson in History: Haiti’s Reasonable Doubt A Lesson in History – Haiti 1804 Support sought for kids left behind by UN troops in Haiti Lesson Learned from Haiti’s Disaster: The Logistics of Relief Charity Dysfunction: The Red Cross’ $500 Million In Haiti Relief Way Forward: Expansion of CaracolIndustrial Park

In summary, growing Haiti’s Diaspora is bad for Haiti and bad for their Diaspora. Haiti needs more revenue sources and the Go Lean roadmap details the Way-Forward for state finances. Any official policy to extract revenue from people who have fled a homeland is a flawed policy. There is no divorce clause in the citizenship arrangement. There can be no expectations of any kind of “alimony payments” from expatriates.

It is better to have citizens in the homeland. They can help to build up the country and they can be taxed.

So any policy that double-downs on the Diaspora, double-downs on failure. We should never want people to have to leave then hope they remember us so that our communities can have some chance of success. No, we want and need opportunities for success right at home. We need to be able to prosper where planted.

We strongly urge everyone to lean-in to this roadmap to make our homeland – Haiti et al – a better place to live, work and play. 🙂

Download the free e-book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix A Title: Haiti denies reports of plans to tax returning nationals

Government minister says reports are false

Haiti has denied reports that it intends to impose a tax on nationals returning to the country.

On Tuesday, Minister of Haitians Living Abroad (MHAVE), Stéphanie Auguste, told reporters there was no truth to the reports circulating in the diaspora that all Haitians abroad would be required to pay US$86 and a flat-rate income tax of 10,000 gourdes.

Auguste also dismissed suggestions that the new fiscal measures were included in the draft budget for 2017-2018.

Speaking in the presence of Economy and Finance Minister, Jude Alix Patrick, Auguste said “there is no question of paying $86  on arrival in Haiti, neither to the Consulates nor to the Embassies of Haiti for the request of a public service.

“The question of the income tax does not refer particularly to the diaspora, it concerns all Haitian or any national of other countries undertaking transactions in Haiti that involve income, importing goods, selling land, buying / selling a vehicle, or claiming the issuance of a passport…”

The authorities said that citizens whose annual income is less than 60,000 gourdes are not subjected to the payment of the tax.

However, they said it is necessary to present the certificate of filing of final declaration to conclude certain transactions.

They warned that any citizen not in a position to present it, at the time of a transaction or a public service which requires this document, will have to pay the lump sum of 10,000 gourdes, as provided for in the draft budget for 2017-2018.

“It would, therefore, be in the interest of citizens to make their final tax return annually at the prescribed time,” the minister said.

Source: Posted August 31, 2017 and retrieved September 28, 2017 from:


Appendix B Title: 10 Revenue Sources … for Caribbean Administration

1.   CU Services and Infrastructural Returns – Think toll roads, tunnels and bridges

2.   e-Payment Settlements

3.   e-Government Services

4.   Property Tax Surcharges

5.   Income / Sales Tax Add-Ons

6.   Industry Licensing

7.   Regional Services i.e. Radio Spectrum Auctions

8.   Prison Industrial Complex

9.   Natural Disaster Insurance Fund

10. Capital Markets for Treasury Bonds

Source: Book: Go Lean … Caribbean Page 172

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