Haiti:Lucas to Clinton Diaspora to Develop Plan

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Haiti Earthquake: Stanley Lucas to Clinton, Diaspora coalition to develop strategic plan; monitor adoption activity
The Honorable Hillary Clinton

Secretary of State

Dear Madame Secretary:

I would like to thank you, the Obama Administration and the American people for the huge support to the earthquake victims in Haiti.

We are deeply moved by the outpouring of support and by your personal commitment to the people of Haiti.

The Haitian Diaspora living the United States and myself are focused on ensuring that aid is really getting to the victims while ensuring a better future for Haitians.

As you may know, there are more than two million Haitian Diaspora in the United States.

We currently remit $US1.8 billion to family and friends in Haiti accounting for a significant portion of the people's income.

Internationally, the Diaspora community is coming together to address both short and long term priorities.

The infrastructure of the Haitian state has collapsed; several ministries have been destroyed as well as the command center of the country, the National Palace.

The Haitian government has been completely devastated and lacks staff, resources, expertise, and functionality.

Several ministries have lost almost their entire staff.

Simply put, they cannot do this without support.

It is almost impossible for the Haitian people to begin to think about reconstruction while there are still so many immediate needs, and we are in such deep mourning.

However, we know the rebuilding process will be a long and complicated road so we must begin to consider how to move forward even while the relief workers continue their missions.

The Diaspora groups around the United States and internationally are coming together to establish a coalition focused on developing a recommended strategic recovery and rebuilding plan for the Haitian government.

We intend to convene a seminar in Washington, DC in March to discuss and finalize this plan. One of the major issues that we will address is effective deployment of international aid. Clearly, U.S. and international aid will play a central role in rebuilding Haiti.

This crisis has cast a spotlight on the lack of progress and development in the country despite $US13 billion in foreign aid that has gone to Haiti over the past 25 years.

This must change.

With the world watching, Haiti must get this rebuilding process right.

The Diaspora coalition will include goals and benchmarks for the infrastructure and social institutions along with recommendations for how to ensure an open, transparent system for managing reconstruction projects.

And above all, we will call for accountability.

I hope that we can partner with the State Department and USAID in support of our efforts.

I believe the Diaspora community is poised and ready to help fill some of the voids in the country and its management.

Separately, and more urgently, we are growing more concerned about the welfare of the approximately 4000 Haitian orphans.

We all desperately want to see the Haitian children adopted by loving families.

This is one of the most heartbreaking consequences of the earthquake.

In fact, my own sister will be adopting.

It would be a tremendous benefit if the Department of Health and Human Services, the State Department and non-governmental actors could provide support to the Haitian government by vetting the families seeking adoption and ensuring that all adoptive parties are cleared through the registered sex offender databases.

As you know, in the aftermath of the tsunami in Southeast Asia sexual predators took advantage of the urgency of the situation to adopt children.

Haiti has already experiences problems in this regard in the past. Recently, a convicted pedophile, Douglas Perlitz, was arrested in Haiti for abusing children.

I know of your strong commitment to children's issues, so I am hopeful that this is an issue you might adopt.

Your commitment to this issues would go a long way toward ensuring that our orphans find the loving families that they deserve.

Finally, I am dedicated to helping my country reach the potential that I know it has. From the devastation, there might be a chance to break free of this failed-state legacy and show the world who we really are: a strong, proud, resilient and resourceful people who can rebuild from the rubble a vibrant, developing country.

Thank you for your consideration.

If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to have your staff contact me at (202) 256-6026.


Stanley Lucas

The Haitian Coalition

Stanley Lucas, January 23 2010, 5:52 PM

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