In my periodic search for news about the most consequential issue for Haitians–right after emergency food and medicine–I came across an Ansel Herz article and as luck* would have it, a 7-year project begun pre-earthquake, to modernize Haiti’s land registry. (Gotta love the Internets.) What follows are highlights, particularly as they relate to the diaspora. The big question, always: how can members of the Haitian diaspora facilitate the development of Haiti? From my perspective, I say, prioritize.
No population relocation, urban planning, transportation planning, infrastructure design, agricultural or tourism development, environmental recovery, or investment attraction will be possible without updated cadastral information….Property taxes cannot be collected…[foreign investment] will not arrive without the security provided by a modern cadastre and land rights infrastructure….
If your thing is women’s rights and safety, you’ve gotta be about the land. If your thing is providing good medical care in Haiti, you’ve got to be about the land. If your thing is harvesting Haitian souls for the Lord, you’ve got to be about the land. If your thing is healthy and educated children, you’ve got to be about the land. If your thing is alms for the poor, you’ve got to be about the land. As far as I’m concerned, the desire to resolve land rights is the measure of a humanitarian’s genuine interest in building a sustainable Haiti. Everything else is either short-sighted or ego.