Haiti Briefing 2 years on and what has changed?I was happy to attend the above briefing yesterday 12th January 2012 on behalf of the CWU at the TUC headquarters, Congress house, 23-28 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3LS.
In attendance were Mr Mario Joseph Avocat and one of the leading civil rights activists in Haiti, with Mr Owen Tudor head, European Union and International Relations at the TUC was chairing this briefing.
There were 3 members from the Haiti Support Group and other leading Union Officials from different sectors attending this event.
Mr Joseph spoke about how there were no creditable Trade Union in Haiti with many accepting money and gifts from the Government in return for not representing the members when they need the Union most of all. Mr Joseph went on to say that a MP in Haiti has tried to get the minimum wage increased from $2 Haitian Dollars to $5 Haitian Dollars per day, and it was the so called Trade Unions not supporting this cause, with many receiving money and gifts in return.
Mr Joseph spoke how 2 years on and not much has changed in his country in fact it’s been made worse since the arrival of the United Nations (UN) Troops who were sent to help the people of Haiti after the terrible earthquake. When UN troops arrived from Nepal they were found to be dumping their human waste into the nearby river causing Cholera resulting in 7,000 deaths so far and rising, with half a Million infested and on average 200 people a month dies.
The UN are being sued by Mr Joseph as well as the former Government, tests done by the UN, France the experts all point to the same conclusion that UN Troops from Nepal are the cause, Haiti had been cleared of Cholera for over a 100 years.
Mr Joseph pointed out that the IMO (International Missions Outreach) are working with private landlords, telling the refuges to jump on to waiting trucks as there are new houses for them to move into only to find out after driving around and around there is nothing, and then being dump at a Police Station next to their camp. Some are getting $20,000 Haitian Dollars around 500 US but this is not enough to put a deposit or to rent a property and some young woman are being forced to give sexual favours in return for the money.
There are unfortunately many more that the people of Haiti have to go through every day just to survive. When some try and join a union they face the sack, leading official face problems everyday some not being paid in months and the Government spend over a 100 Million Haitian Dollars last month with no control and it’s the UN paying the Civil Servants and not the Government.
Money is not always the key but it helps, what is needed most of all is making sure the organizations working in Haiti are paying local staff a proper and fair rate of pay equivalent to what Western staff are being paid.
To get Unions from the United Kingdom (UK) to get Representatives to go to Haiti to sit down with them, talk about the pride you feel Representative your members, showing that no matter what part of the world or background there are many like minded people out there fighting for the rights of the working class. If this is not possible maybe try to sponsor Union Officials from Haiti with the help of Mr Joseph to learn online, or to be able to get out to the workplace and spread the word without the fear of being sacked and not being able to provide for there families.