Building Back Better Communautés, il n'est pas
- Sunday, 19 Juin, 2011 11:31 am
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Présenté par la Commission Intérimaire pour la Reconstruction d'Haïti (CIRH), le mercredi est le reconstruire en mieux Communautés (BBBC) initiative qui vise à construire des projets de logements à travers la nation d'Haïti. Plonger plus profondément dans le projet, il semble que l'initiative ne sera pas à la hauteur de son nom et de fait va construire pires communautés que même avant le tremblement de terre du 12 Janvier 2010.
The big-picture problems with the BBBC is the same problem that two other projects that took place in Haiti, in the past 30 years, had; they did not address the real problem. And if you think the problem is housing, than I will reply with a common American phrase, no, "it's the economy, stupid."
The two projects that I speak of, one was the eradication of native livestock in 1979 to be replaced by imported livestock, the other, the replacement of native grown rice in 1993, to be replaced by cheaper imported rice, both measures had an adverse effect and caused a further decline in the Haitian economy.
In 1979, an outbreak of "African swine fever" struck neighboring country, Dominican Republic. There was a fear that the fever could spread to Haiti and perhaps to the United States. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) , introduced a campaign that the Haitian government undertook to exterminate the pigs in Haiti. Farmers were compensated with pigs imported from the United States but these pigs were more vulnerable. This breed of swine was more expensive to maintain, with a significantly shorter life expectancy.
The pigs were a form of equity in Haitian life. They would be sold to pay for big purchases such as funerals, marriages or school tuition. It was a way that rural Haitians were able to build modest wealth over time. This plan to eradicate the Creole pig , could be looked at as the start of the decline of the agricultural sector, and the migration of many poor farmers and families into the city of Port-au-Prince.
In 2010, U.S. President Bill Clinton apologized for what he encouraged President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to do in 1993, which was to open the Haitian economy to imports by dropping protective tariffs.
Clinton, later than most Haitians, realized that this was a colossal failure which caused the already damaged Haitian economy from the 1980 USAID initiative, to drop down even more into a crawl. Farmers could not compete with the imported rice. Many left their farms and moved into the city.
I am not an economist, but on its face Building Back Better Communities appears to be no different than the measures of '79 and '93, and will most likely have the same effect on the economy.
A Canadian-based company announced Sunday in a communiqué de presse that they are one of the finalist to receive part of the $4 Billion [USD] home building project, BBBC, by the IHRC and the Haitian government.
The basic operating model of the BBBC project is to have companies, outside of Haiti, build homes, outside of Haiti. These homes will be shipped to Haiti where they will be assembled. There are building supplies in Haiti. Earthquake resistant homes are not new to Haiti either.
Some might look at the fact that the homes will be assembled in Haiti, most likely by Haitians, as a boost to the Haitian economy, but those some should look again. These companies receiving contracts to send homes pride themselves on how fast and easy it is to assemble one of their units. In fact, the press released reads, one home can be assembled in 2 days. The IHRC expects to build 400 homes in 100 days. If one makes the fair assumption that these assemblers will be paid hourly, the BBBC really doesn't amount to much.
Beyond the shear economic malpractice that will take place with this project, with respect to Haiti, of course, there is no understanding of how these materials will hold up. Earthquake resistant and hurricane proof does not add up to wear and tear proof.
With respect to build blocks of 140-home models across the nation, these are nothing more than housing projects, that hear in the U.S. are wrought with crime and poverty. No matter how appealing to the eye the homes are, they decrease property value and it is doubtful that any Haitian will truly own the home, let alone, the land that it's on.
Just say no. It is the hardest thing to do, after having been on a drug for so long but the Haitian government needs to say "no" to this plan. It has more cons than pros.
The home mortgaging plan of "Kay Pam" is much better. It puts money or vouchers, in people's hands to purchase materials and labor to build their homes to their liking. It puts value on the property and the home. There is real ownership, and it builds the economy. These are all good things, it is a wonder why this isn't the only plan.
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Source: Digital Journal