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Editorial: We Need A Marshall Plan For Haiti

They came in their hundreds to mourn the dead.

Twenty-two caskets stood in the hall, holding the bodies of victims of the Abaco boat tragedy.

Few were there to speak in their name, to remember who they were, what made them risk a journey that turned so deadly.

They were strangers to many of those who crowded into the hall – and yet still, the mourners came.

Some had to be supported by their friends, held up as they cried for the fallen. Some came to show solidarity with their countryfolk.

They came to offer comfort, they came to hear the speakers try to say something meaningful in response to so many meaningless deaths.

“We are all one… we were deposited on different islands but we’re all one,” said Rev Dr William Thompson to the congregation.

We still do not know how many died when that boat struck a reef off Abaco and tore apart in the dark.

Thirty-one bodies have been found so far – but so many more remain missing. It’s said that 83 people may have been aboard that vessel when it sank. Eighteen were rescued, leaving the fate of so many still a mystery.

We hope they found a way to shore and safety. We fear the truth is far worse, however.

The atmosphere at the Enoch Beckford Auditorium was sombre. There were tears, there were shouts of disbelief, and there were speeches that could not come close to facing up to the horror of the moment.

There was too a sense of powerlessness. So many speeches urged people not to come, not to risk that deadly journey by sea – but how many people do we think make that journey without realising it is a gamble? Who among us thinks that boarding a crowded sloop, leaving our belongings, our families and our life behind, is an easy option? Who boards that boat, with drinking water short in supply because it would take up room where another person could fit, with only the eyes of the crowd to stop one becoming a victim of crime on the journey, and doesn’t understand the danger involved?

We know the solution isn’t as simple as saying “Don’t come”, but we say it because the solution needed is so much bigger than that. The solution needs a more prosperous Haiti, a place where one does not want to leave, where a family’s future can be secured without having to resort to the danger of that sea voyage through the dark.

Elsewhere in the world, when nations have needed rebuilding, there have been global efforts to help them. Germany and France were aided by the Marshall Plan after the Second World War, Vietnam has received huge assistance following the war there and China has gone from receiving substantial aid to being one of the world’s most dominant economic forces. Where is the Marshall Plan for Haiti?

But that solution eludes us for now – whether impossible to achieve or through an inability to attempt – and so we say “Don’t come”.

For now, we mourn. We join with those who held hands and cried yesterday, who said prayers for those they never knew, who longed for a way to undo this tragedy that took so many lives.

In the end, Dr Thompson’s words are true. We are all one.

Comments

pingmydling 2 months, 1 week ago

A Marshall Plan for Haiti? A good idea. How much is the Tribune contributing? I'll match it.

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sheeprunner12 2 months, 1 week ago

What did the USA do when they occupied Haiti in the 1920s and the 1990s????????

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pingmydling 2 months, 1 week ago

One can tell the Tribune editorial is written by elderly individuals. How many younger Bahamians have ever heard of the Marshall Plan?

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sheeprunner12 2 months, 1 week ago

It also says something for our intellectually unwashed masses ........ SMT

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pingmydling 2 months, 1 week ago

Sheeprunner ---- when the US occupied Haiti they did the same thing they did in all the Central & South American countries they have invaded. ( Monroe Doctrine) They raped, pillaged and generally stole all the natural resources of each country. When they left (sometimes they have never left) Democracy behind. --- What a joke!!!

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sheeprunner12 2 months, 1 week ago

Indeed .......... they learned well from the English (and in the case of Haiti, France)

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pingmydling 2 months, 1 week ago

Different time, different outlook, ( you will be quoting the Greeks & Romans next) Fact remains the latter day imperialists, e.g. Drump, John Bolton, Pompeo, Stephen Miller, Linsey Graham,etc. are the worst of the worst and must be rooted out and destroyed. Vote Democrat!!!!

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My2centz 2 months, 1 week ago

We need a plan, first and foremost, to question and hold accountable those mourners who identified the deceased and facilitated this dangerous voyage for them. Many were not strangers, let's not continue to play dense. Haitian-Bahamians are well aware of the schedule for these illegal trips.

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pingmydling 2 months, 1 week ago

Another conspiracy theorist. The Haitians are coming to get us. My2centz would be right at home on the Mexican border with Trump.

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My2centz 2 months, 1 week ago

No conspiracy, just facts. THEY really came and bodies were identified within 24 hours. Or do you honestly believe it was Haiti's hi-tech DNA analysis and computerized government that led to the quick identification? La La Land might be nice for you, but I have no intention of visiting.

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pingmydling 2 months, 1 week ago

If you had bothered to read the initial police reports you would have learned that the identification of the non-decomposed bodies was done by the survivors, not your Haitian mafia.

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My2centz 2 months, 1 week ago

Now youre just being ridiculous. Illegal Haitians who are supported by other illegal (and legal) Haitians, and people like you is a real problem. Continue to bury your head in the sand and more of this will inevitably happen.

Believe what you want, but that funeral was not filled with strangers overwhelmed with grief. It's not the survivors, but the surviving relatives in Bahamas, that would have supported them all. Take your head out of the sand. Even the multiple boats that were caught last month was known on social media before they were caught.

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sheeprunner12 2 months, 1 week ago

Haitians who live overseas send home billions of US dollars each year ...... That is Haiti's biggest revenue earner. So what happens to all of this hard currency that is injected into the Haitian masses??

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pingmydling 2 months, 1 week ago

My head may be in the sand. I guess its better than where yours is --- where the sun don't shine.

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My2centz 2 months, 1 week ago

Not there, sorry. But I'm sure that's where you'll find your missing brain.

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pingmydling 2 months, 1 week ago

I see that quick repartee is not your particular forte ,so I will bid you a fond adieu kind sir.

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