Monday, November 23, 2009

Boat People, Refugees and other Business Opportunities

From my outpost on the beaches of Comoros, between all important workshops and capacity building exercises I hear rumors of miserable boat people headed for the dignified countries of Europe and I sympathize with the outraged euro-citizenry.

As a matter of fact HRI has successfully offered its services to the policymakers in Europe at large based on a simple philosophy: why spend less money on giving these people the protection they are entitled to, when one can spend much more on inefficient law enforcement-ish workshops and “capacity building” while pushing the limits on acceptable ways to deny protection to people who need it?

My host country, the Comoros, is practically around the corner from the Horn of Africa and it is inhabited by people who own boats. It is a matter of time before they start heading north, joining the “Eritrean route” towards Europe. Therefore HRI is proposing a comprehensive set of activities that involve workshops and capacity building of the Comoros Government, complete with funding of EU standard biometric passports and border technology (we'll hire a consultant for this job, i happen to know just the man, a retired immigration officer from Belgium). The funding would come from the deliciously named Directorate General for Freedom, Security and Justice. Of course, additional funding will be required to “sensitize” the Comoros Diaspora with workshops and communication campaigns. Since none of this makes any sense, HRI will blame any failure on “lack of local capacity” and request more money for “capacity building of local partners”. 

We’ll obviously need more staff to manage the extra workload, which means we’ll need more vehicles and while I’m at it I may enlarge the beach in front of my villa – I grew up in Miami you see and tend to get home-sick, I thought maybe I start a beachpolo club here. 

What was that? How will we get the horses? I’m glad you’re asking – have I not mentioned HRI’s Agriculture & Livelihood Program?

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