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The increasing socio-economic crisis facing the nation continues to baffle even the most
optimistic observers as no end appears to be within sight. The latest attempt to address the
mounting crises is by UN Secretary General, António Guterres, who warned that the tragic
situation facing Haiti threatens the security of the Caribbean region and if the international
community does intervene then unrest might spread and affect the entire continent. During a
closed-door meeting with the Jamaican Premier Andrew Holness, the UN Secretary General
noted that no country has stepped forward to help Haiti, since last October when interim Prime
Minister Ariel Henry made a plea at the UN for the international community to send troops to
address the security issue and stop the surge in gang violence. Jamaica has been the only country
that expressed her willingness to send in soldiers and police officers as part of a proposed
international armed forces deployment. António Guterres noted that efforts at addressing the
various crises are now at a stalemate because of the difficulty mobilizing countries to best lead
the operation. PM Holness who visited Haiti in February as part of a regional push to help
mediate the crisis, said countries that would support such a deployment want to first see political
consensus in Haiti and a timeframe for the proposed deployment. Mr. Holmes added that pleas
have not fallen on deaf ears, but rather there are question about the pace of negotiations and
Meanwhile, the humanitarian needs have reached dramatic heights as Port-au-Price and
surrounding environs have largely succumbed to warring gangs; invading neighborhoods and
indiscriminately killed people in a fight to control more territory. U.N. estimates that gangs now
control up to 80% of the capital. A UNICEF report estimated that more than 115,600 children
will suffer severe malnutrition this year due to food insecurity coupled with the outbreak of
cholera. The estimated number is 30% more than the number the cases recorded last year (87,500
children). There’s also warning about a severe funding gap that could put the lives of more than
100,000 children at risk of immediate death. The UNICEF study came days after the UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights renewed calls for an intervention force in the country to help
the Haitian forces fighting the armed gangs. The US international law enforcement bureau said it
has delivered armored vehicles purchased by the PNH, who are also waiting for the equipment
purchased from the Canadian armored vehicle firm INKAS, that has been delayed for months. In
a speech, Interim PM Henry welcomed the UNICEF study, stating that the study has come at a
time when will be useful for his administration in planning their interventions on all fronts in
their fight against food insecurity.
Elsewhere, the 220 th Flag Day celebrations will be held this Thursday, May 18 , 2023, for the first
time in Cap-Haïtien, instead of Arcahaie which has been controlled by heavily armed gangs for
months. By moving the celebrations to the north of the country, the government was able to
circumvent the gangs in Arcahaie. Gangs such as the Canaan gang, supported by the Village de
Dieu gang, are holding entire sections of this commune and the main roads that cross the
commune hostage. A series of events have been planned by the government to celebrate the
national bicolor on the 17 th when a teachers’ day will be commemorated at the l’université Roi
Henry de Limonade, and the next day a variety of activities are planned. The 18 th day starting
from 7:30 am, there will be a panoply of events and activities including hoisting of the flag, a
laying of wreath at the monument of Emperor Jean-Jacques Dessalines on the cathedral square,
place de la cathédrale, parades and speeches after a Te Deum at the Cap-Haïtien Cathedral to be
followed by an official lunch at the city hall. On the 17 th , some teachers will be honored at the

university while a new school, école nationale à l’Acul du Nord will be inaugurated by the
Prime Minister.
But as the Haitian community around the globe plans to celebrate this important day, the
organization Nous faisons ce que nous pouvons (NSK) is planning on celebrating the day in a
different manner. On Monday, the organization launched a mentoring and support program for
Haitian women entrepreneurs, in collaboration with the “Business Professional Women, BPW,
Montreal, the Haitiano-Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Kaizen Center. Funded by the
Ministry of International Relations and La Francophonie, the program with take place around the
theme “Réinventer son Leadership pour traverser les tempêtes” (Reinventing your Leadership
to weather the storms) with the objective of enabling professional Haitian women entrepreneurs
to reposition themselves and create a platform for the exchange of knowledge and best practices
among the various participating organizations.
Despite the Flag Day celebrations being planned for Cap- Haïtien, not all residents are in favor
of the Prime Minister coming to their city. On Sunday, major roads were blocked as residents
burnt tires and created a difficult situation for others as protest of the coming commemorations in
the city. Cap-Haïtien has been without electricity for about six (6) months now and there seems
to be no improvement in sight. Residents are on edge with the high cost of living and the
impending risk of a tsunami coming their way soon. The city’s close proximity to the ocean and
the high risk of both tsunami and earthquake, students will be participating in a seismic-risk
mitigation drill on Friday. They will be joined by firefighters, police and other key institutions
inside the port city of multi-story gingerbread houses, poorly constructed buildings and seaside
cafes. According to Dr. Garmalia Mentor-William the disaster risk-management specialist
leading this effort, the entire city will be participating. There is a special focus on students
because by integrating them at an early age, they can pass the message to the larger population
and get them to participate.
According to Mentor-William, the region has tsunami evacuation routes, which are part of the
earthquake surveillance work the Bureau of Mines and Energy has been doing over the past 12
years, with the help from international donors, establishing active-fault and hazard maps, and a
seismic surveillance network. Tremors are recorded in real time by a network of seismometers
that receive information broadcast via satellite from solar-powered seismic stations around the
country. Ms. Mentor-William stated that a tsunami alerts go off inside the city at about 9 a.m.,
allowing students and residents to assemble at different points inside the city outside of the
tsunami zone, there will also be role-playing so both students and adults know how to properly
evacuate should there be an actual tsunami. The threat of both earthquakes and tsunamis are real
as the population is constantly being reminded of such events as occurred recently on Aug. 21,
2021, when hundreds died when a powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the southern region
of the country, destroying homes and leaving at least 700 dead and 2,800 injured.
Finally, the Haitian Compas Festival in Miami takes place on Saturday, May 20, 2023, at
Bayfront Park in downtown Miami. The festival which celebrates its 25 th year is the brainchild of
Rodney Noel and Jean Michel Cerenord (Noel and Cecibon Productions), when they noticed an
absence of compas in the outdoor music festival scene in Miami at the time. As one of the largest
Caribbean events in the United States, the festival has not only become a place to celebrate

Haitian music and culture, but also a stage for bands to shine. Along with a lineup of DJs and
artists that represent konpa, this year’s show will also feature Grammy-nominated Boukman
Eksperyans, which popularized Haitians roots music, and Haitian-American and rapper from
South Florida, Kodak Black.
Dela Harlley

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