Reigning calypso monarch Dr Hollis Liverpool, also known as Chalkdust, says the world should have addressed the Haitian question many years ago. Liverpool, a Professor of Calypso Arts at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) said Haiti's long-term problems had to be addressed to prevent the first black republic from lapsing into a second spell of poverty and deprivation. In a telephone interview, Liverpool said: "The Haitian question is one that the world should have done something about years ago. The world should not have waited for an earthquake. The great powers of the world created that situation in a sense." Among the factors responsible for Haiti's socio-economic demise were: The blockade imposed after the Revolution in 1804; the destruction of Haitian agriculture; and having to resort to borrowing monies from the United States to pay its indemnity. "The Haitians had to borrow monies from the United States to pay its indemnity to France," he said.
France demanded 90 million gold francs – the equivalent of US$20 billion – be paid to them by the victorious Haitians. "So with all the payments made and the destruction of agriculture and the fact they couldn't market the goods they had, they fell into the hands of poverty. They built inferior goods," he said. "Today, Haiti still manufactures rum from sugar cane," he said. Describing the destruction of the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince as "a painful situation" Liverpool said the world needed to assist them properly. "They should not reach out to them only on a short term basis, but on the long-term," he added. He said long-term planning would prevent migration and emigration to the United States and neighbouring Caribbean territories. "You have to assist them to build their communities so they could have a better standard of living," he added. Liverpool said he and his colleague Dr Kim Johnson were planning to host some Haitian artistes. "After things have settled, we are planning to see how best we can help them by bringing some artistes," he said.
Quizzed on whether he will be defending his title in 2010, Dr Liverpool said he hadn't made up his mind. "I am busy at work and so I don't have the time to compose as I would like. But if my songs go down well and I see I have a chance not to be disgraced, I will take part," he said. Meanwhile, he has been receiving encores at The Revue tent with his 2010 selections – In Praise of Kitchener and Dr Look Lai. The latter addresses his pet subject – the Udecott issue and the implementation of the Property Tax. Prominent politicians like Finance Minister Karen Tesheira, and Trade Minister Mariano Browne, and their shenanigans are mentioned in the commentary. Dr Liverpool won the title in 2009 with My Heart and I (a satire on the perceived dealings between Prime Minister Patrick Manning and Udecott Chairman Calder Hart). He is no stranger to the Dimanche Gras competition having sung in the "Big Yard" no fewer than 28 times in his illustrious career.