September 12, 2013

Clintons’ Massive Haiti Project Failing To Meet Expectations On Jobs, Wages

Al Jazeera reports that a high-profile State Department-led development project billed as the “centerpiece of U.S.-led reconstruction of Haiti after its January 2010 earthquake” has failed to live up to expectations. Touted by Secretary Clinton just last year as “a new day for Haiti and a new model for how the international community practices development,” the project has failed to meet construction goals, underpays workers, and has barely created a fraction of the jobs promised:

They had heard of the U.S. government’s plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in a part of Haiti where most people are barely scraping by, and promises from a South Korean garment manufacturer to create tens of thousands of jobs. 

But less than a year after Caracol Industrial Park’s gala opening — with Bill and Hillary Clinton, Sean Penn, designer Donna Karan and Haiti’s current and former presidents among the guests — the feeling these days is disappointment. …

Most critically of all, fewer than 1,500 jobs have been created so far — paying too little, the locals say, and offering no job security. … [A worker] worked for two months at the park as a guard, taking home about $3.40 a day, until his contract ran out. … 

The State Department has promised the park will create 65,000 jobs, powering an economic revitalization of northern Haiti while reducing overcrowding in the quake-stricken capital (though northern Haiti is at least as seismically active as the south). At the opening, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called it “a new day for Haiti and a new model for how the international community practices development.” …

A report released in June by the U.S. Government Accountability Office placed blame on USAID itself, saying that poor planning and the projection of spiraling housing and construction costs have put the project’s future in jeopardy.

The Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Foundation touts the project on its website that “will ultimately create up 60,000 jobs and decentralize the Haitian economy.”

Clinton - Clintons’ Massive Haiti Project Failing To Meet Expectations On Jobs, Wages