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8935: Re: 8931: Jobs, again (fwd)

>Since I am living in and have a business in Haiti I would like to request 
>my address and name not be posted. Those who speak the truth are often not 
>well received.

  Regarding the attitude of no job is better than a bad one. That is 
ridiculous. When your stomach is full it's easy to make such a statement. 
When you don't have to come home to a house of hungry children who cannot 
afford to attend school it's easy to make such a ludicrous comment. I have 
small business in Haiti which was started during the Lavalas regime. Having 
started other businesses in the past I can give some insight into business 
in Haiti. This is my personal experience ONLY. First, starting a business in 
Haiti is easier than in most places. There is a small business license fee 
but that's about it. No zoning restrictions. The minimum wage is laughably 
low and you pay taxes when ever they get around to asking for them and most 
of all, everything is negotiable. It is frustrating only as much as you make 
it and call attention to yourself. The total lack of infrastructure, 
electricity, communications, and transportation are a fact but you know this 
prior to beginning and make allowances. You cannot expect any help from the 
banks or existing large businesses. The banks are there for supporting the 
old established business men and they are also used a great deal for money 
laundering. Example, six years ago Promo bank was the only non-government 
bank in Cap-Haitien, there are now 5 banks although the economy has declined 
greatly. Go figure. These guys who are supporting these banks are also the 
dominant supporters of the local economy and I bear them no ill will, 
poverty makes strange bedfellows. As far as corruption in the government 
affects business. Well, corruption exists everywhere in the Caribbean, in 
Haiti it's just a little less organized. It is also less expensive. The 
biggest problem is finding who to pay and then you hope that they stay 
around long enough to prevent you from having to pay off someone else. The 
large established businessmen will not help and may well hinder you. There 
exists an attitude of "Every dollar you make is one less dollar I make." 
This holds true even though you are offering a product or service that is in 
no way competeing with them. Also, anyone who pays the Haitien minimum wage 
is either very greedy or should not be in business. Any viable business can 
provide a living wage to their employees. However, there are limits. A 
living wage in Haiti in no way is comparable to a living wage in a more 
developed country.. Also, should you be naive enough to pay a wage far above 
the norm I assure you that your business will be in danger. Sorry, but that 
is just the way it is. I would encourage any industry to locate in Haiti. 
Right now my sales are made to government officials, lawyers, people 
supported by the diaspora and this other group we'll call, those with no 
visible means of support. Until some industry comes in all hope and any 
chance of stability is tenuous at best. We'll take what we can get now and 
can look at options later. We've got to start somewhere and when you are on 
the bottom anything looks up.

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