Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Haitian Dominican Border Development

The Executive Director of the Frontier Development Commission responds to Mrs. Hillary Clinton’s declarations.

Several entities in the Dominican Republic reacted favorably in response to the proposals formulated by the Honorable Hillary Clinton during her visit to Santo Domingo. This April, Mr. Diego de Moya Canaan, of the Constructors Association, Mr. José Torres from the Free Zones Association and Mrs. Haydée Kuret de Rainieri of the Hoteliers Association said they were willing to take the necessary steps and cooperate with their potential partners in Haiti, for the implementation of mechanisms that could help towards “the installation of twin companies in the border zone”. Mr. José Torres declared that Mrs. Clinton’s proposals should not be restricted to the textile sector, but should be extended to other production sectors.
Several months ago, in response to a proposal from a major international institution that suggested that the Dominican Republic should be turned into “the Bread-Basket of the Caribbean”, we have been lobbying for this initiative to be extended to the border region.

And now, the United States Secretary of State has come to invite the island’s economic actors to join forces in order to put job-creating projects into action in this region, with a population of 600,000, in search of a better life, including young people who show their energy and ingenuity each time they are tested.
This 3450km2 frontier strip has enormous potential for developing tourism, agriculture, fishing, and the installation - in the appropriate locations - of manufacturing or assembly industries. The time has come to turn words into action.
With this in mind, certain institutions that have already shown an interest in the development of this region should be approached to implement a Development Investment Fund aimed at funding sustainable project along the border. We mention, for example, the EU, the World Bank, the IDB and CIDA. In this same spirit we are delighted to hear that the IDB has agreed to fund a project for “agricultural development and support for local initiatives” presented by the PADF, and this project was supported by the Commission.

Other activities of this kind need to be supported in several areas, such as fishing, craft making, livestock, etc.

The recently reactivated Haitian-Dominican Chamber of Commerce could also play the role of catalyst aimed at implementing Mrs. Clinton’s proposals, and to work in close collaboration with Haitian business associations with the aim of making a “strategic alliance” aimed at invigorating the development of the frontier region.
As far as we are concerned, we remain determined to keep on working for the people of the region, working in synergy with local communities and their elected representatives.

Max Antoine II
Executive Director

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