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7785: The Gourde, or, Money in Haiti (fwd)

From: "J. David Lyall" <postmaster@lyalls.net>

A number of posts recently have been about the legal and logical place 
money in Haiti. What is a 'dollar' in Haiti.

One post said that there was no such thing as a 'dollar' in haiti and 
everyone should
stop giving any prices in 'dollars'.

Another post objected to a price given in 'dollars', when the dollars 
referred to
were USD. Dollah Verd as it were. That poster insisted that a 'dollar' 
in Haiti
was 5 gourdes, no more or less.

Now, this is interesting, again, because I was holding on to a pre 1998 
bill which
I was handed in February which stated that the Central Bank of Haiti 
would honor
this bill at a rate of 5 gourdes to the US Dollar as stated in the 
Haitian Constitution.
New bills just refer to the article of the constitution, without a 
specific guarantee
that 5 gourdes would be exchanged for a US dollar.

The 1987 Constitution does, in fact, guarantee an exchange rate of 5 
gourdes for
one US dollar. That is obviously a problem as the de facto regime chose 
to print
large amounts of money and drive the value of the gourde down by 2/3. 
As we all know it has since fallen to close to 25 gourdes to the USD, or 

'5 haitian dollars' for one US dollar. This is referred to as 400% in 
the unique
method of comparison used in Haiti. 400% added to the constitutionally
specified value I suppose.

There was recently a poll in one of the PauP newspapers asking if people 
the 'dollarisation' of the Haitian economy. Strangely, the response was 
I say strangely because the economy IS dollarised in the language, and 
in the 
medium of exchange for expensive imported items.

The constitution also, as noted above, expressly 'dollarises' the 
economy by
requiring a fixed exchange rate. Like so many other items of the 
Constitution of 1987,
this legal fiction is politely ignored.

I recently discovered that one US penny, one cent of a US dollar, is 
still considered
to be worth 5 centimes, instead of the 24 centimes that the market rate 
has determined.
It is called 'senk kob'. Has anyone else heard this?

There is a business opportunity awaiting! Buy up pennies at 20 to the 
That would be, lesse, 24 times 25 equals, what? 600 pennies to a dollar? 
My math must be wrong.

Resist the so called Quantum Mechanics.
God DOES NOT play dice
David AT lyalls.net