Overview:

Capitalizing on Haitian Flag Day, U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky, along with Co-Chairs of the Congressional Haiti Caucus, Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick and Yvette Clarke, have proposed a resolution to implement a 10-year, $50 billion investment plan for rebuilding and stabilizing Haiti.

In a landmark move, U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), along with the co-chairs of the House Haiti Caucus, Representatives Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (D-FL) and Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), introduced a resolution on May 17 to stir Haiti from its multidimensional crisis. This resolution proposes the establishment of the Louverture Investment Plan, a comprehensive, long-term development program aimed at rebuilding and stabilizing Haiti. Named after Toussaint Louverture, a celebrated leader and pioneer of Haitian independence, the plan outlined in the resolution includes a 10-year, $50 billion development program for the Caribbean nation.

According to a press release from Congresswoman Schakowsky, who spearheaded the effort, the Louverture Investment Plan was unveiled just before the 221st anniversary of Haitian Flag Day (May 18). It is designed to adopt a holistic approach to improving the well-being of the Haitian people. The plan aims to stabilize Haiti by bolstering democratic and judicial institutions, establishing good governance structures, investing in vital infrastructure, promoting sustainable economic growth and improving opportunities for entrepreneurs, women and youth.

In their joint statement, the three democratic congresswomen stressed the importance of the United States providing thoughtful and substantial aid to its close Caribbean neighbor, which has been ravaged by political instability,  a humanitarian crisis and escalating gang violence.

“Between the political turmoil engulfing Port-au-Prince, a food supply shortage, devastating earthquakes, and soaring violence, Haitians are facing an unprecedented crisis,” Schakowsky said in the press release. “The United States must thoughtfully and meaningfully help its close Caribbean neighbor, Haiti. That is why I am introducing a resolution with co-chairs of the Haiti Caucus, Reps. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick and Yvette Clarke, calling for the establishment of the Louverture Investment Plan - a 10-year, $50 billion development program to rebuild Haiti,” she added.

“It is undeniable that Haiti has made a significant contribution to the struggle for freedom and democracy in the world. Unfortunately, the instability and the current humanitarian crisis have led to devastating famine, violence, and poverty. The importance of United States support for Haiti cannot be understated.”

Sheila Cherfils-McCormick, co-chair of the U.S. House Haiti Caucus

Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, the co-chair of the Haiti Caucus, emphasized the significance of U.S. support for Haiti. As a Democrat from Florida and the only Haitian American member of Congress, Cherfilus-McCormick expressed her pride in introducing the resolution. She also highlighted her commitment to enhancing the relationship between the U.S. and Haiti.

She stated: “It is undeniable that Haiti has made a significant contribution to the struggle for freedom and democracy in the world. Unfortunately, the instability and the current humanitarian crisis have led to devastating famine, violence, and poverty. The importance of United States support for Haiti cannot be understated.”

“This resolution will not only support the well-deserved reconstruction plan for Haiti but will also encourage a Haitian-led effort to restabilize the country,” Cherfilus-McCormick said.

The other co-sponsor, New York Democrat Yvette D. Clarke, echoed the same sentiments, highlighting the critical need for U.S. support in Haiti and stressing the moral duty to secure progress for Haitian communities in America and abroad.

The resolution met with enthusiasm and cautious optimism among supporters and advocates for Haiti

In addition to support from members of the Congressional Black and House Haiti Caucuses, the $50 billion plan proposal has been met with enthusiasm from various circles.

Mary Estimé-Irvin, vice mayor of North Miami (District 3) and chairwoman of the National Haitian American Elected Officials Network (NHAEON) expressed excitement about the U.S. Representatives’ collaboration, championing a significant plan for Haiti amid its current political and socioeconomic turmoil.

“I am excited about this collaboration between Reps. Schakowsky, Cherfilus-McCormick, and Clarke as they champion a $50 billion Marshall Plan for Haiti,” she said. “Through this resolution, we envision a promising future for our neighboring nation as it endeavors to reclaim its esteemed historical position as a resilient and self-governing nation.”

However, others have expressed a certain degree of skepticism regarding the likelihood of such an ambitious plan being approved by the U.S. Congress, especially given the current Republican majority.

Some members of the Haitian American community, who were consulted during the development of the plan that led to the drafting of the resolution, believe its passage in the U.S. House of Representatives will hinge on various factors, including the political climate surrounding the upcoming elections.

Despite the apparent challenges, a source familiar with the congressional process told Go West Now that Congresswomen Schakowsky, Cherfils-McCormick and Clarke have been working on a strategy and are confident that the resolution will garner sufficient bipartisan support for its passage.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the source stated: “In reality, most U.S. Congress members recognize the need for action to assist Haiti in achieving stability. There may be policy differences between Democrats and Republicans on how to proceed and ensure the long-term sustainability of our engagements in the troubled country. However, a consensus may be reached because providing aid to Haiti aligns with our national interest and contributes positively to U.S. foreign policy.”

Advocates for Haiti acknowledge that implementing this plan will be more complex and require more groundwork and negotiations than a typical emergency humanitarian aid package. While they hope that the Louverture Resolution may pass the approval step from the House floor and transition into a bill, they recognize that many of its initial provisions may change as the lengthy process progresses.

The resolution is proposed amid a series of discussions and roundtables organized by the U.S. Congressional Black and House Haiti Caucuses to raise awareness among policymakers and advocate for immediate, effective U.S. policies in Haiti. One roundtable, which took place on Capital Hill on May 8, included several Haitian American community organizations. It focused on addressing concerns and formulating policy recommendations for sustainable solutions to the nation’s challenges.

Award-winning journalist Fritznel D. Octave is a distinguished professional who serves as Haiti Editor of Go West Now. Dedicated with over 25 years of experience covering Haiti news, his book "Haiti Between Pestilence And Hope" is a testament to his unshakable commitment to impactful storytelling and social journalism. Issues he has tackled range widely from social justice and politics to environment, healthcare, and economics. Beyond journalism, Fritznel specializes in business growth strategy and personal development.

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1 Comment

  1. Excellent idea, but such a disbursement would have to be managed by none of the current or active politicians.The masters of corruption and crimes are still around. Be cautious and be patriotic.
    Fred
    05/20/2024

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