Government of Haiti's Favorite Child, Bas-Peu-de-Chose

Bas-Peu-de-Chose is a community for rich Haitians. A quiet neighborhood, each block contains only a handful of properties, with fenced-in yards, land-scaped lawns, and fruit trees. Inhabitants are government ministers, doctors, clergy, military, and relatives of highly-placed government officials.

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Some of the homes are modest, others palatial, survivors of the colonial period. But all contain one, or several varieties of trees, among them cherry, breadfruit, grape, orange, and coconut. Birds abound, pecking at the dew-moistened grass in the early mornings.

Besides the verdant environment, one other element sets the neighborhood apart from many communities in Haiti, the paved roads. Why this particular anomaly in Bas-Peu-de-Chose? Haiti is a country so poor it occupies a permanent spot on the failed states index. One does not need to look far for the answer. Bas-Peu-de-Chose is the government of Haiti's (GOH) extended family of retired government ministers, military officers, and mothers of ex-presidents.

If GOH would pave roads--not just in Bas-Peu-de-Chose-- but in all Haiti, that alone would improve the economy. With free flow of commerce between towns, accessibility to goods and services would be possible, construction projects would not stall or stop, and investment opportunities would flourish for private investors.

The GOH has it all wrong. It's not about raising Haiti's diplomatic profile as the answer to the mired economy. It's about rebuilding and maintaining dilapidated road infrastructure. With navigable roads everything is possible. The number-one priority on the GOH's to-do list should be a nation-wide overhaul of its road system.

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