Twenty billion dollars worth of gold, copper and silver hidden in the hills of the hemisphere’s poorest country. Investors in North America so convinced of the buried treasure, they have already spent 30 million dollars collecting samples, digging, building mining roads and doing aerial surveys.
The fairy tale is true, but it might not have a “happily ever after” ending.
A 10-month investigation into Haiti’s budding “gold rush” by the watchdog consortium Haiti Grassroots Watch (HGW) discovered backroom deals, players with widely diverging objectives, legally questionable “memorandums”, and a playing field that is far from level.
Although Haitian law states that all subsoil resources belong to “the Haitian nation”, so far the nation has been kept in the dark about the digging and testing going on in the country’s north.
Dieuseul Anglade, a well-respected geologist who headed the state mining agency for most of the past 20 years, was recently fired by Haiti’s newly installed prime minister. Was it because he has consistently championed tougher laws and better deals for the state, and for the Haitian people?