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7861: The Business Community's Position on the Political Situation (fwd)

From: Max Blanchet <maxblanchet@worldnet.att.net>

The Business Community's Position on the Political Situation
May 10, 2001

(Summary-translation by Center for International Policy)

Fifteen years after February 7, 1986 we must admit we live in a nation that
is exhausted, bled dry, and without hope. The degree of immiseration of the
country is greater than ever. The degradation of the environment continues
apace. The democratic institutions inscribed in the constitution of 1987
have not been created, and the state is disintegrating.

The elections of May 21, 2000 and the elections of 2000 didn't bring a
solution but on the contrary exacerbated the situation. The consequence is
the blockage of the forces of production that is visible to all and the
degradation of the living standards of all citizens.

We are losing our foreign markets and our competitive position is weakening
to the benefit of our regional competitors
The internal market is shrinking and business are winding down or closing.
The loss of jobs is wreaking havoc among working-class families
Our political institutions are degraded and those elected behave without
regard to their responsibilities.
The independence of our press is endangered.
Personal insecurity is rapidly on the rise
Our judicial system is the laughingstock of the world and is beset with
corruption, fraud, impunity, and arbitrariness
The immiseration of the population and their exodus is intensifying
imperiling a whole generation.
We say to the political leaders, This has got to stop.

The political deadlock can only be resolved by a sincere negotiation of a
compromise agreement between the government and opposition parties. Our
business associations applaud the recent efforts to get the two parties to
resume the dialogue. We note particularly the public promise of President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, head of the Fanmi Lavalas Party, to reach a
compromise with the Democratic Convergence. It's time for concrete

We note the proposal formulated by CLED on March 7. Despite the nuances in
our position we all ardently desire a compromise to end this crisis. We take
the CLED proposal as our basic position and modify it so:

1. Elections

In addition to completely new legislative elections we think there should be
new municipal and local elections.

2. Electoral commission (CEP)

To achieve an impartial commission we propose that the
protatgonists'negotiators reach a consensus on nine representative and
credible civil-society institutions which will nominate the nine members of
the CEP along the lines and criteria established by the negotiators to
guarantee the credibility, honesty and competence of those chosen.

3. Mediation.

The negotiations should be conducted under the aegis of the OAS and the
Civil Society Initiative.

4. Principal interlocutors

The Lavalas Family and the Democratic Convergence.

The accord should:

1. Establish strict rules of the game for the democratic process and the
credibility of elections.

2. Assure political stability and governability.

3. End all challenge to the legitimacy of the state.

4. Create conditions for normalizing politics, resuming economic activity,
and creating social peace.

We urge the government and opposition to adopt this position as an
appropriate basis for resuming the negotiations.

It calls for humility and political courage. Our political leaders need to
swallow their pride and work for the future of the country.

Signed by eighteen business associations including the chambers of commerce
and industry, coffee exporters, CLED, and tourist industries.