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Brian's Beat: Haiti - Ohhhh, the Bureaucracy

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Ward 11 official website

Today was an exercise in frustration.

For the end of this mission, by the time I leave on Saturday evening, I have to submit a report on my findings and a suggested work plan for the coming year as well as for the next five years to achieve the project goals. While I am working on the governance issues within the program and the communities, others are working on things such as fiscal reform, service delivery and integration with a number of overarching federations. All this will then be combined into a work plan for the Program de Cooperation Municipale and its partners. And today, I began to collate my notes from the past week's meetings and put together a go-forward plan.

And all of the challenges in the government structures that get in the way of making substantial progress kept rearing their ugly heads. In Haiti, it feels like everywhere you turn, there is another "organization" or "commission" that adds a layer. And navigating the route from the national government and its multitudinous ministries down to actually getting basic services on the ground for residents is as tortuous and full of pot holes and gaps as the road system itself! Trying to find the leverage points, to find the place to bridge the gaps is challenging and frustrating.

But it must be done! There has to be a way to do it. It feels like the one missing ingredient for the government here in Haiti is the people.  The citizen must be at the centre of the process, and their experience with their government is defined by the services they get. As for services, this is a country without a water system, without a sewage system (yes, Port-Au-Prince, a city of 2 million people does not have a sewage system), there is very little to no garbage collection. And while everyone sees these are basic services that need to be delivered, everywhere you turn there are governmental roadblocks preventing it.

But, there has to be a way. We must find a way to support effective government delivering efficient basic services for the people of Haiti. The people I have met during the past week; the wonderful, friendly, open people of Haiti, they deserve it. They deserve a country that gives them the opportunities to excel. The people of Haiti deserve a chance.

This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.

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