Haiti Gold Rush

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The history of Haiti is not just a history of poverty and disaster. It's also rich in corruption and betrayal. And if Haiti's new Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe is serious about changing that, he has a perfect opportunity to prove it. Precious minerals have recently been discovered in Haiti. And already -- years before any of those minerals will be extracted -- concerns are being raised about just who stands to benefit. We talk about some of those concerns and ask the new prime minister to react.


Today's guest host was Jim Brown.

Part One of The Current

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It's Wednesday, July 25th.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews says the lowest crime rate in 40 years shows his government's tough-on-crime approach is working.

Also working:

the tough on jobs approach for high unemployment,
the tough on economy approach for record home prices,
the tough on environment approach for record temperatures
and tough on all of you who didn't vote Tory.

This is The Current.

Haiti Gold Rush - Haiti Grassroots Watch Co-ordinator

Haiti's President, Michel Martelly, is anxious to welcome foreign investment. Haiti is still recovering from the earthquake of 2010 and remains the most impoverished country in the Western hemisphere. World Vision estimates Haiti's 10 million people live on an average income of less than 700 dollars a year.

But recent discoveries of precious metals in the country's northeast have some residents feeling optimistic that their lives could improve. In fact, there's talk of a Haitian gold rush with some estimates suggesting gold, silver and copper deposits worth 20 Billion dollars.

Anthony Sylvestre is a labourer who lives in the region. And Elie Florestan is a member of a local peasant association. We heard from them. They are two people featured in a documentary put together by Haiti Grassroots Watch, an organization of journalists from the State University of Haiti. That group spent 10 months investigating Haiti's "gold rush."

Jane Regan is a professor of investigative journalism at the University and the co-ordinator of Haiti Grassroots Watch. She was in Cape Cod, Massachusetts this morning.

Haiti Gold Rush - Haiti's Prime Minister, Laurent Lamothe

With an unemployment rate of 40 per cent, Haiti is desperate to find more work for its citizens and the resource industry could be a lifesaver. President Michel Martelly created the Presidential Advisory Council for Economic Development and Investment. It's a think-tank co-chaired by former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Haitian entrepreneur Laurent Lamothe. This past March, Lamothe was appointed to a more prestigious post. He's now Haiti's Prime Minister and he was in Washington.

This segment was produced by The Current's Jenna Cameron.


Other segment from today's show:

Media Coverage of Gun Violence

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