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Date: Sat, 7 Nov 1998 09:45:32 -0800 (PST)
From: Robert Corbett <bcorbett@netcom.com>
Subject: Fw: This Week in Haiti 16:33 11/4/98 (fwd)
To: Bob Corbett <bcorbett@netcom.com>
Message-ID: <Pine.3.89.9811070914.A24287-f200000@netcom15>

From: kives <kives@gateway.net>

Jacmel: Government Neglect Pits Neighbors Against Each Other

From Haiti Progres,
Vol. 16, no. 33, 4-10 November 1998

For over six months, residents of the "industrial zone" in this southeastern city have been asking the National Service for Potable Water (SNEP) to do something about the rank mosquito-breeding waste-water festering in front of their homes. The SNEP authorities gave them no answers and did nothing.

The putrid water has been making life in the neighborhood unbearable. It flows from the more elevated Henri Christophe neighborhood nearby, where residents have nowhere to dispose of their sewage. The errant flow has caused confrontations between the two neighborhoods. Due to IMF-imposed austerity measures, the SNEP has not kept up with its responsibility to build and clean sewage canals to prevent such problems.

On Saturday, Oct. 17, residents of the industrial zone mobilized a demonstration to block the road running through their area to attract the attention of authorities.

Attention they got when the police soon arrived. Then the cops fired a shot in the air to get the crowd's attention. Long discussions followed, where the police assured the demonstrators that the sewage problem would be remedied immediately. Unfortunately, they had neither the qualifications nor the authority to make such a promise.

The next day, the police arrested Phales Francois and Salnave Raphael, two residents of the industrial zone most affected by and outspoken about the sewage problem, because they had argued with Clermont Belizaire, a resident of the Henri Christophe neighborhood. Rumor has it that the judge who issued the warrant was in cahoots with Belizaire.

Whatever the case, the people of the industrial zone are now enraged about the arrests as well as the sewage that continues to flow down in front of their homes. Consequently, Belizaire has left town for awhile, and even the judge is keeping a low profile.

The whole situation is just one more small illustration of the trouble created by IMF austerity and Haitian government irresponsibility.