Haiti: Too many Carnivals- not enough Jobs

Sunday, August 5, 2012 1 comments

By Paul Sanon  

Traditionally, Haitian politicians are wired to use carnival as a drug that can heal all Haiti's sicknesses. Surprisingly, it has never been the case. And 1985  Jean-Claude Duvalier  super carnival,  is a vivid example. It is  also absurd to utilize carnival as a medium to change Haiti's image and to promote tourism. To be true to ourselves Haiti does not have carnival in the proper sense. What we call "carnival " is simply a chaotic get-together for Haitians  with no international values." Fèt Sodo, Limonad, Laplèndino, Tigwav toujou chaje ak moun tou" .

It is very simplistic to gauge our carnival's success by the number of local revellers. As a matter of fact Haitian carnival is not among the 15 most popular carnivals in the world. Elaborate costumes, intricate dance routines, and creative thematic blend of past, present and future are essential criteria for carnival succes. Haitian carnival is simply  a " populaire bamboche". There is almost  nothing cultural  and artistic about it. Most of the the costumes are made of  imported goods.  It is more about a lot of people  without uniform winning after a float with very loud  and offensive sound system. It is all about decibels ! A war of decibels- kale yo , souflete yo, mache sou yo, me eikopte a- Rans

Pushing, elbowing," gaganning" punching,  fopwen, kicking, fil fe, kout baton,  and sometimes stabbing are naturally part of the whole experience. How can we attract foreigners in this condition? We are not lobbying against carnival, however, we must redesign our carnival and make a calculated choice of its  costs.

When a government adds new carnival in the schedule,it must take into consideration that besides spending a lot of money that we do not have, DGI is not making money and there is a  loss in productivity.  To convert three business days into holidays in our terrible economy is an aberration.  A country can not be governed like a muisic  band or a personal business as people follow their whims and caprice. A country is a collective heritage and the politicians must learn to listen to the private sector. Everything must be in tune with the global vision . What really has changed after this carnival?

Some people may argue that  carpenters ,  hotels, seamstresses, car rentals, and small retailers make money during carnival time. But how many hotel-rooms , rental cars, and restaurants that Port-Au-Prince has to counter-balance the expenses ?  As a point of fact, there are other carnival's hidden costs such as : increased stress on health and justice system, unwanted pregnancies, Aids, rape, large number of police officers  on extra duty and a spike of crimes.

Our politicians must set out goals in order to prioritize. They must research, calculate, and analyze projects  to bring durable changes." Carnaval des fleurs" and "carnival des DJ "are  like : we are expecting  a step father to pay for our own children 's tuition while we are having fun, dancing,  gouye, and drinking under the name of promotion.   If Carnival was a win-win endeavor, Brazil  with all its infrastructures would hold one every week. Too many carnivals in the calendar is an indice of our unemployment rate and a clear indication of our  irresponsibility as a nation. We keep begging  all over the globe  while we built lavish stands for three days of pseudo- carnival ! Shame on us !


  • Anonymous said...

    Haitians refusing to promote the culture are a part of the reason why our kids are ashamed to call themselves Haitian Today.... While Jamaicans, Trinidadians, and others promote their cultural traditions. We find every reason not to. But unbenounced to you, it is a source of revenue for the people directly as well as the government. Not to mention a MAJOR promoter of tourism from the Diaspora (the Largest Contributor to the Country's Economy). Carnival is not a party it's a tradition that just so happens to actually produce revenue yet you find fault with it without even researching its true impact. SMH Think Deeper My People.