Haiti Diaspora and Next Elections: Proposals by Stanley Lucas

Jacqueline Merentie - July 15 2010, 1:42 PM

Haiti Diaspora and Next Elections: Proposals by Stanley Lucas for the Next Provisional Electoral Council (CEP)

Future Members of the Council:

I would like to extend my patriotic greetings to the Council.

I am writing to encourage you to formalize participation of Haitian Diaspora in the new Haitian Parliament.

Our contribution to Haiti - financially and technically - has been enormous and merits real representation in the Haitian Government.

As you may know, there are more than four million Haitian Diaspora living throughout the world -- two million is the U.S. alone.

Last year, we remitted U.S.$1.9 billion.

The Haitian National budget is US$2 billion.

The Haitian government collects taxes on our remittances, investments and on our extensive and frequent travel to the country.

Despite our significant contribution, the Diaspora is not represented in Haiti.

A true representative democracy requires the meaningful participation from such an influential group in the political, economic and social issues of our country.

To that end, we respectfully propose that the time has come for Haitian Diaspora representation to be made official.

In the next election, we recommend the Council increase the number of senate seats from 30 to 40 with the inclusion of 10 new seats for the Haitian Diaspora.

Seats should be distributed regionally along the following lines:

United States - 4 seats
• New York/New Jersey
• Washington, DC/Northern Virginia/Maryland
• Florida, Georgia
• Boston

Caribbean - 2 seats
• Dominican Republic
• Bahamas & Turks and Caicos

Canada - 2 seats

Europe - 2 seats

Polling stations could be installed in Haitian Embassies and Consulates as well as offering absentee ballots by mail. The Diaspora Senators would be required to be a resident of the region they campaign to represent and voters would cast their votes in their respective region of residency.

At a future date, and after this model has been tested, we could explore extending Diaspora participation to the House of Deputies.

In the meantime, these elections are a low-cost, high impact way to engage and invest the Haitian Diaspora in the rebuilding and reinvigorating of our country.

The only costs associated with this endeavor would be ballot printing, ballot boxes, and training for polling station workers and monitors.

These costs are negligible and could even be requested from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) if CEP lacks the budget.

Members of the Provisional Electoral Council: There is no better way to begin to integrate the Haitian Diaspora at this moment when the country is so in need of resources, capacity and expertise.

I eagerly await your response.

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