Hilary and Haiti

Clinton’s Long Shadow

“Hillary Clinton may never be called to account for her role in Haiti’s ongoing political crisis.” by

Excerpt from the article:

Throughout her term as secretary of state, Clinton made Haiti one of her top foreign-policy priorities. She and her chief of staff Cheryl Mills closely managed the internationally financed effort to rebuild Haiti after the quake. Bill Clinton pitched in as co-chair of a commission tasked with approving reconstruction projects.

As Clinton wrote in her memoir Hard Choices, rebuilding Haiti was “an opportunity . . . to road-test new approaches to development that could be applied more broadly around the world.”

Wielding an unparalleled level of influence over massive flows of public, private, and philanthropic capital, the Clintons set out to turn their slogan — Haiti “built back better” — into reality.

As Katz told the Washington Post: “There’s nowhere Clinton had more influence or respect when she became Secretary of State than in Haiti, and it was clear that she planned to use that to make Haiti the proving ground for her vision of American power.”

In retrospect, the Clintons’ bold, new vision for Haiti looks more like a mirage. The “new” approach was the same old “sweatshop model of development,” pursued by the United States since the Duvalier days, in a slick new package, and it had the same disastrous results.

A multi-million dollar industrial park the Clintons promoted as Haiti’s economic salvation was a flop on its own capitalist terms, generating only one-tenth of the promised sixty thousand jobs.

Meanwhile, mammoth new slum areas have sprung up north of Port-au-Prince, a testament to the mind-boggling decision to prioritize building luxury hotels for foreign tourists, NGO workers and businesspeople over permanent housing for the over one million Haitians made homeless by the quake.

 

Nikolas Barry-Shaw is a Montreal-based Haiti solidarity activist. He is the voting rights associate for the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti and co-author ofPaved with Good Intentions: Canada’s Development NGOs from Idealism to Imperialism.

 

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Food Co-op Law

Interest in food cooperatives is growing, due both to increased interest in local, natural, and organic foods and to increased awareness of economic vulnerability in many of our communities.

More and more communities want the products, stability, and accountability that a cooperative can offer. The concept has been put in place in Haiti providing those same benefits.  “The Peasant Movement of Papay (MPP), the country’s largest peasant organization with over 60,000 members, unifies small farmers and rural peasants into farm or craft cooperatives, trains community leaders and conducts agroecological studies. According to a post by their international ally, Grassroots International, the MPP has recaptured 10,000 acres (40.5 sq kilometers) of arable land, planted over 20 million trees and created innovative barriers to mudslides such as stonewall terracing.” (Available at https://foodtank.com/news/2013/06/farming-cooperatives-in-haiti-a-chance-to-advance/).

Cooperatives are businesses owned by their members.

Joel Dahlgren of Black Dog Co-op Law encourages prospective members to incorporate themselves for a “shield” and to learn the relevant laws applicable in their state.

Dahlgren showcases four basic structures available to retail food cooperatives, the choice of which is generally driven by tax, financing, governance and corporate name considerations.

Dahlgren’s table below illustrates these considerations and compares four business structures.

 

 

Sources:

Joel Dahlgren, Legal Primer For Formation of Consumer-Owned Food Cooperatives, available at http://www.foodcoopinitiative.coop/sites/default/files/LegalPrimer.pdf.

(With contributions from Thane Joyal, Bill Gessner, Marilyn Scholl and Stuart Reid)

Publication was made possible through the financial support of Cooperative Development Services, CDS Consulting Co-op and Food Co-op Initiative; with additional funding provided by the USDA Rural Cooperative Development Grant program, through a grant provided to Cooperative Development Services.

 

See Also Black Dog Co-op Law, http://joeldahlgren.blogspot.com/.

Barriers to Business in Haiti

In a study completed by the World Bank in June 2015, Haiti has a new business density of 0.06. This translates to 383 new businesses created over the course of the year. Out of context, these figures mean very little. However, if we look to Haiti’s nearest neighbor, the Dominican Republic, we see that the Dominican Republic enjoys a new business density of 1.2 and 8,061 new businesses created. Why is this important? We know that entrepreneurship is one of the single biggest indicators of economic growth and power. And the intersection of new firm registration, the regulatory environment, and economic growth may lend credence to the voices that suggest there needs to be a focus not only on physical infrastructure, but also on legal, regulatory, and administrative infrastructures.

What stands in the way of new businesses that can create new jobs and spur the construction of physical infrastructure? Perhaps, one of the greatest and simplest areas of concern is the length of time to become formally incorporated. It takes an average of 97 days to register a new business in Haiti; seventy-eight of those days are simply to register the business with the Department of Commerce and receive an authorization of operations. The average time for new businesses to be operational in Latin America and the Caribbean is 29.4 days. In the Dominican Republic, the average time is 14.5 days. These comparisons are not an attempt to join the seemingly prevailing voices stating that Haiti cannot compete in or contribute to the world economy. These comparisons are made to bring attention to the areas (legal, regulatory, and administrative infrastructures), where innovation is needed to break the cycle of poverty in Haiti.

* This article was created using information from the wonderful World Bank Doing Business database. Any errors are my own.

 

 

Lovely Bonhomme Headshot-LG

 

Lovely  is a first-year student at CUNY School of Law, which graduates public interest attorneys with the motto of practicing “law in the service of human needs”. She is a first generation American of Haitian descent. She has a particular interest in corporate law with a focus on infrastructure and energy projects in emerging markets and developing countries. More broadly, she hopes to contribute to the areas of international rule of law and human rights. 

Garden of Eden

 

 

“Community, school and employer-sponsored gardens play an important role in improving health and reducing obesity.  Gardens increase access to fresh vegetables, provide opportunities for physical activity, teach both adults and children about the origins of their food, and promote healthier eating behaviors.  As gardening opportunities increase, advocates must often address legal and policy issues that affect the development and maintenance of gardens.  These issues include access to water, composting efforts, land use planning and zoning considerations, liability issues, and the organizational structure of the gardens.

Haiti has it own community garden.

Daniel Tillias, co-founded SAKALA in 2002 with 9 other young people in an effort to promote peace, reconciliation, tolerance and truth for a new Haiti.

The Community Centre for Peace Alternatives (Kreyol acronym is SAKALA) leads the Garden of Hope. The produce from the garden is used by the locals and the rest is sold at market.

Mr. Tillias worked as a law trainee in one of the most prominent law firms in Haiti (that represented the victims of the 1991 coup in Haiti) and attended a University of Pittsburg legal exchange program.  Daniel left law school amidst violent uprisings in Cite Soleil, to focus on building his organization.  He created a program to promote peacebuilding and to benefit the less fortunate, especially children and youth. While a director at Pax Christi Ayiti, Daniel introduced sports as a means of peacebuilding, through the SAKALA youth empowerment program, which now incorporates athletics, agronomy, and educational activities for 250 youth from different neighborhoods in Cite Soleil.  Daniel is a well-respected community leader and the recipient of several awards for his peace efforts.

Read an interview of Mr. Tillias at augustadwyer.com

Photo: http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/08/world/americas/urban-oasis-offers-hope-haiti/

 

Economics of Criminal Law

Criminal Law and Economics applies economic theory to explain crime, law enforcement, criminal law and criminal procedure.

Excerpt:

Potential criminals are economically rational. They compare the gain from committing a crime with the expected cost, including the risk of punishment, the possibility of social stigma, and eventual psychological costs. A criminal is an individual for whom the gain from committing a crime more than compensates the expected cost.  . . . Overall, it seems crime rates are responsive to changes in punishment.

The advantage of an economic approach to crime is that it avoids interpersonal assessments and is more of a neutral analysis.”

Nuno Garoupa, Introduction to Criminal Law and Economics, at vii, viii (2d ed. 2009).

Photo-http://www.wichitasedgwickcountycrimestoppers.com

Low Income Developing Country (LIDC)

MACROECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS IN LIDCS: 2014 REPORT by the International Monetary Fund examining 11 States, including Haiti.

 

Box 1. Falling Behind

While most LIDCs have recorded sustained growth since 2000, there is a sizeable group of countries (almost one-fifth of the total) that did not record any increase in output per capita over the period.

 

The weak performance occurred across several macro and structural indicators. Over 2000–13, these 11 countries have been less successful in reducing inflation, attracting FDI, developing the financial markets, and improving social indicators, such as the level of educational attainment.

 

A common feature to all countries in the group is that they are fragile states—countries either with very weak institutions or significantly affected by conflict over the period. The role of fragility in hampering growth is easy to understand in countries affected by sustained internal conflict and political instability over an extended period (such as Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Comoros, and Yemen). Natural disasters, such as the massive 2010 earthquake in Haiti, result in loss of life, can account for sizeable shocks to output, and have persistent effects. Over the long-term, however, weak institutions and recurrent political instability play a key role in explaining Haiti’s weak performance as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. But a review of the country listing shows that bad policy choices, unlinked to fragility, can also produce income contraction over time, as in Zimbabwe (which experienced hyperinflation) and Eritrea (a tightly regulated/controlled economy).

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1 In terms of total GDP growth, all 11 countries had average growth rates in the bottom quartile of the LIDC group (less than 3.5 percent).

Macroeconomic Developments in Low-Income Developing Countries

Africa Renewal, a website created by Africa Section, Strategic Communications Division, Department of Public Information of the United Nations interviewed Amadou Sy, Director of the Africa Growth Institute at the Brookings Institution.

Sy mentions in the interview the International Monetary Funds article Macroeconomic Developments in Low-Income Developing Countries, “which examines what countries are doing, case by case, and it has looked at only six countries: Djibouti, Kenya, Mozambique, Ghana, Haiti and Honduras.”

Haiti Wages

Someone got paid about 4 dollars a day in Haiti to make your Gildan shirt.
Haiti is one of many countries to establish a minimum wage that varies across employment sectors, with different daily rates established for domestic workers, electricians, bank employees, and other professions.
“As opposed to the bulk of Gildan’s operations, which are vertically integrated, sewing operations in Haiti are subcontracted by Gildan to third parties. Therefore, to address the concerns which were raised regarding the issue of minimum wages in Haiti, Gildan made a commitment in November 2013 to require its third party contractors in the country to comply with the payment of 300 gourdes per day in an eight hour work day to their piece rate workers, based on the expectation that they continue to operate at a reasonable efficiency rate.”