[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
7826: re: 7785: The Gourde, or, Money in Haiti (fwd)
Prof. Corbett: PLEASE POST ANONYMOUSLY.
After reading his note on the "Haitian Dollar" vs. "Real" (i.e. U.S) Dollar
vs. Gourde, I cannot help bringing a clarification or two to the attention of
i. There is no mention of any value of the gourde anywhere in the 1987
Constitution, much less a "guarantee(d) exchange rate of 5 gourdes for one US
dollar," as he writes.
ii. In fact, the sole use of the word "gourde" in the entire 298 articles of
that Constitution is found, unless my eyes skipped over something, in Article
6, which reads as follows:
"The Monetary Unit is: The Gourde.
It is divided into: Cents."
iii. Indeed, contrary to older Haitian currency, which used to explicitly
state that (I paraphrase here) the bill was redeemable at the Central Bank of
Haiti at the full face value of 5 gourdes for one US dollar,
post-Constitution bills merely state: "In conformance with Article 226 of the
Constitution of the Republic of Haiti" -- an clear recognition, even before
the de facto regime's worsening of the situation, that there was neither any
legal obligation, nor any practical way to have a 5:1 gourde.
iv. The Article 226 referred to on all present Haitian currency deals not
with their dollar-equivalent, but with the legal authority to issue money:
"The Central Bank is invested with the exclusive privilege to issue ...
bills representative of the Monetary Unit, divisional money (i.e. coins for 5
cents, 10 cents, etc.) ... as set by the Law."
So as much as I had absolutely no love for the de factos, don't lay this one
at their doorstep alone. For except for the almost two years (April 1986 to
February 1988) when Leslie Delatour served as Minister of Economy and
Finance, when the gourde appreciated from approximately 6.25 to the US dollar
back to 5.25; then for his three-plus years as Governor of the Central Bank
(December 1994 to February 1998), when the gourde again strengthened from
about 18:1 to 14.5:1, the gourde has steadily lost value due to the
irresponsible fiscal and monetary stewardship of every other government since