Sassine even went so far as to suggest, in response to a question by Senator Cardin, that Cholera and HIV/AIDS were under control.
It should be mentioned that in his written testimony, Gary Shaye of Save the Children, addressed the cholera epidemic and the urgent need for sanitation infrastructure, the only panelist to do so.
In an incredible disconnect, the “live” responses never addressed the real, immediate and urgent needs of the Haitian population. This omission was glaring until Barjon once again stepped into the conversation.
Appearing somewhat incensed. Barjon fired back that Bernadel’s response was a way of “looking for other people to come and fix Haiti’s problems.” She added, “Illiteracy does not mean stupidity. The people of Haiti know what they want. This is an agricultural country, with two thirds of the people working in agriculture.” The people of Haiti want and need local food security so they are “not subject to global price fluctuations.”
Perhaps the best moment of the hearing came when Senator Cardin asked Barjon how women are being empowered in the Agricultural sector, digressing to a line from his press release, demanding equality in land tenure.
Searching for common ground, Barjon suggested that Cardin was correct that women in Haitian society endure the same challenges that women in the US face. At the same time Baron said “Look at me. I’m a girl, I meet with the men in the fields, I’m their boss, they see me there.”
If Cardin wanted to empower women in agriculture, Barjon suggested that he help repeal the Bumper’s Amendment, a law prevents U.S. government aid from being spent on programs that could benefit crops that might compete with American exports on the global market.