Haiti-Carnaval des Fleurs: Gov't Points to Economic Impact
- Monday, July 30, 2012 1:18 AM
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (defend.ht) - On the opening night of the Carnaval Des Fleurs, the government defended the 65 million HTG project to organize the second three days of gras in Haiti this year. The administration is tipping the economic impact of the carnival for its justification, although it laments that there is no inventory structure for providing estimates of the impact.
But, "...there isn't any space left on planes, there is no vacancy at the hotels and there won't be any space on Champs de Mars," where the event is being held said President Michel Martelly, late Sunday at the Carnaval des Fleurs opening night. The Haitian government is saying that many visitors came from abroad to participate in the festivities and are spending money.
"We mustn't forget that this is the Carnaval des Fleurs. This is the first carnival in Port-au-Prince since the earthquake of January 12."
"People are coming to party and people are coming to enjoy the ambiance but at the same time merchants are selling."
"Carnaval brings a lot of money into the country of Haiti, the problem we have is Haiti does not have a system to take inventory of the money. To tell us where the money goes. What sector gets the most money? How it is distributed and how it leaves..."
"Let me ask you [reporter] something. Do you know if the merchant sells more? Do you know that produce merchant sells more? But how is the state supposed to know because these people don't report anything? So we will never know." - Michel Martelly, President
The administration had not taken a survey of airline travelers and purposes for traveling, nor a survey of hotels and vacancies, as of Sunday night. Exact figures were not used to substantiate the claims.
A sign of some of the expenses, President Michel Martelly spoke to reporters in front of a "Kafeteria Tet Kale" truck. The cafeteria on wheels is a pink and white vehicle that distributes plates of food and drinks. The truck was in operation at the carnaval.
If we are to believe the government, the cost for the food truck and Carnaval Des Fleurs is 65 million HTG ($1.6M [US]). This was the budget announced in May when the organizing committee was formed to plan the July 29 to 31 event. An updated expenditure analysis of the carnaval had not been reported since.
The Haitian Senate made an invitation to Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe and the Minister of Finance Marie Carmelle Jean to appear at a senate hearing last week on Tuesday. Senators said they were looking to find out where the money for the carnaval originated given that it had not been in the government's budget.
Beyond the cost of the carnaval there are such other costs to the state such as salaries for mobilizing nearly the entire police force and security brigades, the cost of having emergency response vehicles mobilized and the cost of two days of work that were called off on Friday.
The Head of the Government, PM Laurent Lamothe, left Haiti for Washington, D.C. last week and did not make the Senate hearing. Following his meetings in Washington, D.C. with some of Haiti's financiers PM Lamothe traveled to London for the 2012 Olympic Games. Lamothe will miss the Carnaval des Fleurs but is expected to return to Haiti later this week.
The Secretary of State for the Prime Ministry, Michel Brunache, said the Prime Minister was committed to going before the senate for the hearing on the carnival when he returns from his trip..