Haiti is a testament that the old adage that you reaped what you saw holds true. While most of the world understands that calculated risk takers are often rewarded with exceptional returns, the majority of the people of Haiti is yet to know, let alone grasped, such a concept. Many argue that such a lacking is due to the impoverished nature of the country. We, Le Comité D’Encaissement Pour le Développement Economique du Grand Sud et de la Grand’Anse (hereinafter « CEPDEGSGA, » believe otherwise. We believe that the politic of exclusion, amongst other factors, caused the economic havoc that continues to plague the nation. Our belief stemmed from the fact that Haiti amply demonstrates her potential to handsomely reward investors and shareholders. Institutions such as Digicel, the Marriott hotel and Natcom, whose investors are reaping great returns on their investments, attest to that.
We further believe to a greater extent that in order for Haiti to strive economically and financially she must remove herself from a consuming stance to that of a producing nation. According to the US Department of State, Haiti imports more than seventy (70%) percent of the goods she consumes; and yet, due to the high operating and transaction costs-which include port fees, imports taxes and duties, the final selling price on all imported goods are unreasonably high. High selling price of imported goods plays a major role in decapitalizing the Haitian population. In fact, high selling price of imported goods is among the factors that caused Haiti’s failure to recover from the earthquake that claimed the lives of over three hundred (300,000) thousand Haitians irrespective of the fact that Haiti received billions of dollars in donations from around the world. While the high selling price of imported goods plays a role in keeping Haiti’s economy in limbo, it is by far the main culprit. The death knell, as pointed out by the French government, is the lack of locally produced goods geared for export. The French government, concerned with the impoverished state of Haiti, published in June 2014 an article which gave us a glimpse of the current precarious economic state of Haiti. As per the French government, “Le gouvernement Haïtien doit trouver le moyen de stimuler la production et les exportations afin de réduire la brèche commerciale.” (See, http://photos.state.gov/libraries/haiti/231771/PDFs/ccgfinalcopy.pdf). Such an observation is based on the fact the Haitian government is “able to maintain equilibrium of balance of payments” because of the 1.5 billion dollars received from Haitians living abroad, aka “diaspora,” plus some 750 million dollars received from foreign aids-a number that has been reduced by 60% since 2010. Missing from the publication is the identification of the resources which are at the disposal of the people of Haiti that can be transformed, produced and exported. Nevertheless, the point that the government of France seeks to make is that unless Haiti enters the world of commercial exchange by producing and exporting goods manufactured in Haiti, things will worsen. While the French may offer us hints on how to strengthen our economy, they are in no position to offer us solutions. Viable and sustainable solutions must come from Haitians themselves for they are ultimately responsible for their own fate. As it is said, “who feels it knows it.”
Haiti, as per I’Institut Haitien de Statistique et d'Informatique, houses well over twelve (12,000,000) millions inhabitants of which more than 75 percent live in poverty and extreme poverty mainly because job opportunities are scarce at best. We may ponder why is there a scarcity of job opportunities? Is the island starved of natural resources? Is there a lack of will from both Haitians and the international community to see a better Haiti where the majority of the inhabitants are able to afford life’s basic necessities in dignity? The answers solicited by the questions posed here require an in depth analysis that no amount of time and paper would suffice in dissecting the many factors that continue to chain Haiti to conditions that are worse than the brutal state of nature. Having said that, we would be remiss if we did not at least offer brief answers to the questions posed starting in the reverse order.
The international community, no matter how well intentioned it
is, cannot and probably will never offer Haiti any viable and sustainable
solutions to the many problems facing our society. They neither retain control
over aids given nor do they hold the peoples’ representatives accountable for
the misappropriation, if any, of the aids given. Their attempt to assist in building
sustainable organizations with good corporate governance continuously fails mainly
because the intended beneficiaries, the masses, remain marginalized in all
aspects. So much so that the Gates
foundation believes that Haiti is likely to be the only poor country in the
world as of 2023. Still the international community can assist in the building
of an economically viable Haiti by redirecting foreign aid into Foreign Direct
Investments in Haitian companies in real local industries that engage in local production
geared for export.
As per the Haitian factor, most of them subscribe to the concept of fatalism-“Animal nan mal li nan mal net.” Such defeatist attitude does not only lead Haitians to believe that only a foreign third party can deliver Haiti out of the profound despair that she sits in, but also causes paralysis which always leads to a lack of creativity in problem solving.
Haiti receives roughly 1.2 billion dollars from Haitians
living abroad in 2013 and such remittances are decreasing at an alarming rate every
year because there is a disconnection between the offspring of the older
Haitian generation and their relatives back in Haiti. It is projected that Haiti
will not have the benefits of such remittances in the next decade.
To help alleviate dependency on remittances, which are shrinking year after year, we must learn to transform funds wired by the “Diaspora” from consumer spending to business investment to help fuel national production and job creation. Note that business investment must not include micro financing. Micro loans are structured to maintain the status quo. As argued by University of Michigan’s associate professor, Aneel Karnani, “microfinance doesn't cure poverty. But stable jobs do. If societies are serious about helping the poorest of the poor, they should stop investing in microfinance and start supporting large, labor-intensive industries. At the same time, governments must hold up their end of the deal…”
We know that for hundreds of years the Haitian government has
repeatedly failed to hold up its end of the deal. It creates no incentive to
attract investors. No development programs are put in place to aid young
entrepreneurs, the faction of the society that could strengthen national
production and create countless jobs, with low interest business loans secured
by government bonds. Its corporate income tax bracket is amongst the highest in
the world. Hence, a few reasons why we cannot continue to rely on the
government to lead Haiti out of the abyss of poverty.
Is it because Haiti is starved of natural resources, hence the reason the majority of her people live in abject poverty? Most island nations depend heavily on the tourism industry to wheel in foreign currencies. Haiti, on the other end, has both human and natural resources to create a diversified economy based on mutual world trade. Whether the island is starved of natural resources is a question that has always been answered in the negative. In fact, gold was among the resources that caused Christopher Columbus to land on the island. Whether Columbus was lost in his search for India or not, now we know for fact that Haiti houses gold amongst other precious metals. The island also contains countless deposits of stone quarries ranging from granite, basalts, marble, limestone, soapstone, sandstone, gypsum etc…They are all found within the four corners of the country.
Being so rich in natural resources, oil included amongst the aforementioned, it begs the question why three quarters (3/4) of the Haitian population continue to live in abject poverty? The answer lies in our lack of adherence to our tradition, which unequivocally teaches us that in numbers lie strength- L’Union Fait la Force-Anpil Men Chay Pa Lou. Haiti has the greatest potential of any nation with her unlimited human resources plus her numerous variety of raw natural resources. Haiti can add value to the world and become once more the “Pearl of the Antilles” by developing her mining sector and a world class service sector. Hence the reason we, Le Comité d’Encaissement pour le Développement Economique du Grand Sud et de la Grand ’Anse (CEDEGSGA), call upon all of you, who wish to predict a better future by creating it, to come and partake in building a company that will extract, transform, produce and sell on the international market high quality crème marble and Limestone, best known as the Duchity Creme. It is found in abundance from Duchity to Carrefour Charles, a surface area of more than 70 kilometers square, and is worldly sought-after.
We believe that part of the answer to alleviate poverty in Haiti lies in mining some of our finest stone quarries. Mining does not only represent opportunities but is vital to the rejuvenation of our stagnating economy. Gavin Hilson, in his book “The Socio-Economic Impacts of Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining in Developing Countries” published in January 2003, argues that small-scale mining plays a pivotal role in alleviating poverty in the developing world, and contributes significantly to national revenues and foreign exchange earnings.
With stone quarries, varying in color and characteristics, found in abundance in the Grand Sud and Grand’ Anse, we invite you all to partake in shaping the future of the rural area of Haiti where we live on less than a dollar a day, starting with the Grand’Anse-particularly Duchity, with your purchase of a minimum of one share from the company known as Shaataauh Marbres, S.A. The share is priced at Mille gourdes, the equivalent of roughly $19.61 US dollars. The funds are collected by us the committee and will not be turned over until all shareholders are in agreement with the spending budget presented by the company at a general assembly meeting.
Join us and let us build a better tomorrow for all.