One year on – Haitian CSO ITECA speaks truth to power in UK parliament. HSG from Palace of Westminister, London, 10-01-2011
To a large committee room in the Palace of Westminster for an event marking the one-year commemoration of the earthquake, which now incidentally, the Haitian government estimates killed 305,000 people not the 220,000 figure still usually cited. In the absence of Eramithe Delva of KOFAVIV, a leading grassroots women’s rights group who HSG profiled in May 2010 in Haiti Briefing No 64 — refused a visa to enter Britain at the last minute — Phillip Wearne spoke alongside HSG’s other remaining Haitian visitor, Georges Werleigh. Georges, the husband of Claudette Werleigh, a former Prime Minister, is one of the founders of ITECA, a Haitian peasant farmers group based in Gressier, near Leogane, right at the epicenter of last January’s quake. Georges’ theme – “Let my People Go!” echoed the foundation of Haiti in becoming the first state to free itself of both imperial rule and slavery simultaneously. He described in detail how Haitians are still enslaved by neo-liberal economic policies imposed by dominant world powers but how groups like ITECA were demonstrating, in microcosm, an alternative. The development of underdevelopment was a theme echoed by Phillip Wearne who described how so-called “development” policies that had miserably failed Haiti in the past were being imposed again with far more money and even less Haitian say by the donor-dominated reconstruction commission, the IHRC.