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Should Haiti’s State-funded Carnival be cancelled?

Samuel Maxime

Editor-in-Chief

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (sentinel.ht) – Every year, for the past 6 years students have missed dozens of days of school, including 150 days in 2013. It is always the same reason, months and months (in some cases years) of pay for teachers not received. Teachers in Petit-Goave are currently on a 6 day work-stoppage.

Students teachers on Tuesday, who have been occupying the grounds of the Ministry of Education, vandalized the offices on Tuesday. For some reason, likely tied to money, they have not officially received their papers for work in the school system since graduating; although some have begun working.

Considering strikes, of months, over the past two years that have been held by doctors, nurses, medical professionals, at the public hospitals in the country for backpay, does spending $10 million-plus [USD] for the National Carnival make sense? Minding that, at best, 100,000 people (0.9% of the population) actually participate in the event. Even if a half-million people participated, that would only amount to less than 5% of the population, a third less in percentage if we include potential Diaspora participation.

Even if the $10 million or so spent can’t fix all of these issues, it can help and in either case it’s a slap in the face to teachers, doctors and others on strike. These facts give credence to the allegations that the National Carnival serves as nothing but a major money-laundering operation for state actors and criminal elements. Indeed artists, the few dozen or so invited to perform, earn money, but for the hundred others, their keep comes from play on the radio and single LP sales.

My thought, has always been my thought, is to get the government out of the business of funding the Carnival or cancel it. What is yours?

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About The Author

Samuel Maxime is a Haitian-born citizen living in the United States. He founded The Haiti Sentinel to bring Haitian issues to an English language audience.