Envoy Hopes For Economic Progress In Haiti
By Candia Dames
5 May 2006
Hope for economic progress in Haiti is building as Haitian president-elect Rene Preval prepares to be sworn in on May 14.
Mr. Preval, who has vowed to restore security and create jobs to help pull Haitiís poor out of their state of despair, won the election earlier this year.
Haitiís Ambassador to The Bahamas - Louis Harold Joseph believes that with economic improvement, fewer Haitians would be inclined to make the desperate voyage to The Bahamas and other countries in search of better opportunities.
"Certainly, a stabilized country will have an impact on the economy," Mr. Joseph said in an interview with the Bahama Journal on Thursday.
"First of all, that will allow the government of Haiti to concentrate on more important matters in the country, particularly alleviating the situation of the poor people in the country and put everything in place for the economy to work properly."
He noted though that many Haitians living in The Bahamas have been contributing to the economic development of the country for decades and believes that there is a way this can continue to happen legally.
Itís why Mr. Joseph supports the establishment of a labour accord between The Bahamas and Haiti - whereby the Bahamas would get labourers from Haiti when needed.
"Since weíre going to have a new government, I cannot get into details because I donít yet know what will be the position of the new government, but I think this is one possibility," the ambassador said.
The labour according is also something that government officials like former Labour Minister Vincent Peet, and Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell both believe can work.
Bahamas High Commissioner to CARICOM A. Leonard Archer also believes that a labour accord would be mutually beneficial for the Bahamas and Haiti.
On Thursday, Mr. Joseph said the kind of stability Haiti is beginning to experience with presidential and legislative elections now history, would also help foster greater investments in the country by outsiders, including Haitians who live in other countries.
"A stabilized country certainly could attract more investments. People will be more willing to go to Haiti and work with the business sector," he said.
"We are on the right path toward democracy and at this particular time Haiti deserves the support of the international community as well as that of all our neighbours and particularly our sister nations in CARICOM."
Minister Mitchell also said recently that CARICOM expects that Haiti will take its seat again around the table after Mr. Preval is inaugurated.
Mr. Joseph said he thinks the promises between The Bahamas and Haiti are great.
He also noted that over the last 15 years or so there was no economic growth in Haiti, but the population has been increasing.
Mr. Joseph said that The Bahamas has traditionally supported Haiti and Haiti expects that that support will continue.
"We need that support at this particular phase because the political situation in Haiti is always fragile, particularly at this time, and we continue to need the support of [The Bahamas]," the ambassador said.