Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Preval's Speech

A friend of mine made notes on a rough translation the speech from President Preval today delivered in Kreyole. It is just a rough sense of what was said made while listening to the speech on the radio

He understands that the cost of living here is very high. It is the same around the world. However the rich countries can support this better than the poor countries.What can we do in Haiti? Definitely not burn cars nor burn down houses and businesses just because we're angry about the situation.Since 2007 the price of food has increased 50%.The price of wheat, grain, oil, rice etc. has doubled.Between 1998 – 2008 the price of Gas has gone from US$10 to US$100 and is still going up.Prices are increasing internationally and they will increase in Haiti because we are importing so much of what we need. The prices internationally have not gone down. If someone has told youthat, it is a lie.

What is the solution in Haiti?To take away the tax on items? If you do that then how are we going topay for hospitals and schools. You cannot take away the tax fromimported food.The price of imported food is high and unfortunately the national production has totally broken down.Subsidising imported food is not the answer.What we need to do is subsidise local production. The rainy season has started so people are going to start planting crops.

What the Haitian government is going to do is subsidise fertilizer 50%and perhaps even lower. (This will help the crops to grow faster and develop better). The subsidies will be for NATIONAL and not imported rice. While the farmers are waiting for the harvest of the rice the govt. will help clean up the "channels" (probably means the irrigation channels).This subsidy of rice will be so that it can sell at a cheaper price.The govt will set up Distribution centres for food distribution.At the moment we are paying out US$270 million for payments for rice.We need to replace imported rice with the local production and thenthat $270m will stay in the country.

The problem of eggs in Haiti.Haitians eat 360 million eggs per year!! Haiti can produce 300 m eggs per year, so the government will relance the egg and chicken production.The same with fish – the govt. will subsidise this production as well as other similar things.This is the answer to Haiti's current problems – to subsidise national production.

To take away tax from food means that we don't have money for schools and hospitals which we need more of.

The same way to resolve the problem of transport is to provide apublic transport system – similar to Service Plus (a system which wasactually introduced by Aristide – with blue and white school buses,which worked very well under a co-operative, but then for some reason,it all broke down – long before JBA left!! But the system was good –the buses only took 5 people across the two seats – no passengers standing and at the beginning they even had bus conductors who gaveout tickets!!)

Another solution is to build more roads to the Provinces. For example in the country yams sell at a fraction of the price they do in PauP.So if we had better roads we could bring in these fruit and veg. andthey would sell at a better price.We need to work together. He is going to talk to importers of food to try and get them to lower the price – however small the difference.He's going to ask the Govt. Ministers and officials to spend less ontravel abroad and on other things.He asks that the Citizens pay their taxes to help their country.The problems in Haiti are also problems worldwide. It won't help if you demonstrate – it doesn't solve the problem and will only createmore frustration. As for Kraze/brize (smash and break) this doesn'tbring down food prices – it only makes them higher cos you arebreaking up businesses.Plus when you do this Investors will not want to come in.He sympathized with those whose businesses have been smashed andbroken. He sends his condolences to those families who have had familykilled or hurt.He understands the problems and it is out of respect for the peoplethat he is telling the truth and will not give false promises.We need a sustainable road for the future in subsidised production andsubsidized consummation.

But we need to get back to Peace.The govt, since elections have brought in a peaceful situation and wemust let the govt. do its work. Evaluate the work that the govt. hasalready done.For those of you who are suffering and on the streets – Calm down – heuses the word Poze which means take a breath.For those who are Kraze/Brize – STOP. The Police will not accept this.Let's put our heads together. Let's find a sustainable solution. Kenbela, n-ap travay ansamn. Hold on – we'll work together.National Production is the best way out of these problems.

Kenbe fèm. Hold on hard!!

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