AP PHOTO/DIEU NALIO CHERY
Mr. Prime Minister
Garry Conille ’ 99 (MPH) might
be the perfect candidate for the position he acquired in mid-October —
prime minister of Haiti.
The Caribbean nation is still reeling
from the earthquake that struck in
January 2010, killing 200,000 to
250,000 people and causing $8 billion
to $14 billion in damage. Since then a
cholera outbreak has taken the lives of
an additional 6,700 people and infected
nearly half a million.
In addition, Haiti has the dubious
honor of being the most impoverished
country in the Western Hemisphere,
not to mention a long history of violence and political strife.
“I see Haiti as a patient, a dying
country that needs to be revived,” says
Patrick Sylvain, a Haitian language and
culture instructor at Brown University.
“Therefore,” he says, “a team of doctors
would be the best possible group to
Conille is a doctor, with a medical
degree from the University of Haiti to
go with his master’s degree from UNC’s
Gillings School of Global Public Health,
as well as extensive experience as a
United Nations’ development specialist.
Many forces at work
Regardless, it will be a long and
Haiti, which is roughly the size of
Maryland, has a population of 9. 7 million people, more than half of whom
live in poverty.
Conille also is grappling with the
divide between supporters of Haitian
sovereignty and a so-called “shadow
government” formed by the myriad
(including U.N. peacekeeping forces)
that operate in Haiti.
His development background,
experts note, is suited to the task.
From 1999 until he became prime
minister, Conille worked as a development expert for various branches of the
United Nations. His work took him to
Ethiopia, Niger and back to his homeland, where he had a lead role in creating the Interim Haiti Recovery
Commission (IHRC) and served as
chief of staff to the U.N.’s special envoy