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#4798: the Grand Marnier Discussion (fwd)

From: J. David Lyall <david@lyalls.net>

I won't quote anyone on the "Grand Marnier" issue.
This situation was brought to our attention by the (something) Ouvrier
last year. I wrote a letter to the owner of the plantation.
To a P.O box in Okap.

This past Feb I was sitting in the Lakay in Okap having a burger
and talking business with my street buddy who lives on $100US a month
for guarding a boat. He pointed out the gentleman who owns that
orange plantation. He was getting a burger at Lakay just like us,
just like tons of people, rich and poor, who frequent the place.

I did not go and introduce myself, altho I did meet up with
and talk business with the texan farmer who has lived in the north for 
27 years.

So, this haitian gentleman is actually using his families land to 
something and sell it for money. That in itself is quite remarkable
as most of the agricultural land in the north sits absolutely idle,
producing nothing whatsoever. I was told that the owners either
live in Otazini or relatives in Otazini send them money so working
the land is not necessary, and probably more trouble than it is
worth, as they would then have to employ people. 

Employing people is more trouble than it is worth for the majority
of property owners in Haiti is what it looks like to me.

So, is Grand Marnier responsible for the conditions at this Cap Haitain
Grandee's organic orange plantation? 

Uh, sorry folks, but as a labor union organizer and negotiator of 20
years standing I'd have to say that they have nothing to do
with it whatsoever. Except of course, that they can easily cancel
this contract and get their orange peel  from Martinique.
Then the demands upon their public relations department will suddenly
decrease dramatically.

Is the Patron of the plantation fair to his work force? I have no idea.
I wanted to go see the place and talk to people but getting around
is very difficult and I couldn't get around to putting two days into
this project.

Are foreigners exploiting haitians here to get rich? No.
One haitian owner of property is acting like a business person
and selling something on the international market. This is quite

Should this be discouraged? Not to my mind. Even if poor Haitians
should not have roads and petrol and imported food to eat,
they certainly need to have money to buy batteries and kerosene.