On Friday, March 13, 2015, Jean-Marie Guillaume, the Director General of the National Council of Telecommunications (CONATEL) and Jean Vernet Henry, Rector of the State University of Haiti (UEH) has signed a protocol agreement between the two institutions towards strengthening a common legal and regulatory framework on the telecommunications sector. Mr. Guillaume has described this unison beyond a simple cooperation. The partnership will not only broaden the scope of radio and television broadcasting and sound digital planning, this will promote and revitalize the health of the telecommunications sector in a way so that it can contribute more to the national economy.
In 2011, Haitian cell phone provider, Telco, merged with Vietnamese, Viettel, to form NATCOM. NATCOM had already expanded its reach overseas with an under-sea fiber optic network, connecting it with the U.S. via the Bahamas. NATCOM has saturated Haiti, providing all ten departments of Haiti with Internet access. NATCOM has already equipped more than 91 public schools with free access to the Internet. The infrastructure of Haiti, as a result, moves into the 21st century in a significant way.
NATCOM senior management boasts it is the only telecommunications giant with 3G service. Socially responsible, NATCOM will contribute fifty cents above other cell phone companies to the National Education Fund, which has been largely ignored by the government of Haiti (GOH). In a move to make NATCOM more affordable to customers, it is applying a 20% discount to subscriber calls.
The CEO of the first telecommunications company to bring cell phones to Haiti, Haitel's Franck Ciné, was not his usual silent self in a recent interview with Vision 2000 journalist, Valery Numa. He outlined the companies past, leading up its declaration of bankruptcy and the subsequent trouble that's afflicted the struggling Telecom.
During the discussion, Ciné revealed much information about the current status of the company, including the fact that Teleco currently holds a 5% claim to Haitel, following Haitel's failure to make payment to the former company. Apart from stating facts, Ciné laid out statistics, juxtaposing Haiti's 80% unemployment rate for comparison against the benefit to the economy a thriving Haitel provides. He stated that the company provided approximately 3000 jobs directly, which indirectly served nearly 15,000 people in Haiti.
Complaints from Franck Cine were filed against Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe and Presidents Rene Preval and Michel Martelly with International Criminal Court by Haitel's CEO Frank Cine's lawyers. The aforementioned figures were charged with confiscation of property, illegal prosecution, torture, unlawful detention and unjust arrest towards Haitel's asset auction sale as well as towards Cine family.
Attorney Guy Lewis who is the head of Lewis & Tein Law firm, sent a letter on 8th May, 2013 to Ms. Fatou Bensouda who is the prosecutor of International Criminal Court in The Hague. The letter requested an immediate investigation into the charges against Rene Preval, Michel Martelly, Laurent Lamothe and other government officials.
Haiti's ruling power suddenly faced a void because of two consecutive resignations. This forced Laurent Lamothe, Prime Minister of Haiti, to appoint a new Communication minister and new Finance minister. Marie Carmelle Jean-Marie resigned from the post of Economy & Finance Minister. Wilson Laleau was appointed in this position who previously served as Trade and Industry minister.
On the other hand, Regine Godefroy who resigned from the post of Communication minister will be replaced by Josette Darguste, the current Culture Minister for Haiti. Both these appointments made by Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe were approved by Haitian President Michel Martelly. The statement about this confirmation was issued from the office of Prime Minister.
Haitian radio is the chief means of media communication on the island. Few have income to buy a TV, and those who have sets are subject to unreliable electricity service. Going online to access news coverage is impossible for all but the rich. Not only is newspaper distribution minimal, but 80% of the population are illiterate. The only information source available to everyone is the radio and radio stations are plentiful in Haiti. Reception is widely accessible in virtually every village on the island. Radios cost little to own and run on batteries.
Radio is vital for election coverage. Talk-radio's discussion formats are invaluable sources of information. They help keep citizens informed, and competition for air time is fierce among electoral candidates. In desperation, they carry out attacks of violence against stations and their hosts to stop negative coverage. Between 2000 and 2011, five violent acts occurred, in which radio facilities were disabled or destroyed, and radio commentators injured or killed.
Like any other languages, Haitian Creole is not something that you can teach or translate easily. It would take a professional to translate such language efficiently. Just because it is derived from the French language does not necessarily mean that a French person can successfully translate it. Keep in mind that Haitian Creole and French have a lot of differences. Though Haitian Creole draws a huge influence from the French language, it also has touches of Native American, West African, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic languages. With this, the only one who can accurately translate it is a professional Haitian Creole translator.
Project Cyber Tap Tap has been launched by Martelly, President of Haiti at the National Palace. Many of the youngsters from the disadvantaged areas in Haiti can benefit from this newly designed project. Awareness of ICT or Information Technology and Communication is expected to increase.
Free Access to the Internet
All credit goes to Cyber Tap Tap. Educational games on websites on the internet can be accessed free of charge by high school students. Adequate training will be imparted to instructors, guarantees the Head of State.
All through the ten departments in Haiti, the disadvantaged beneficiaries will be mentored by trained instructors. Prosperity and development of people in the country depends on the solution called ICT.
Haiti's Cozy Joseph is a leading information technology specialist and philanthropist in both her mother-country Haiti and Florida. She is professionally an IT specialist for Florida Power and Light. Along with Dr. Serge Thys from the Psychiatry Department at Columbia Hospital in Florida, Dr. Ronald Romear, a pediatrician in Florida, and other Florida-based professionals founded the New York-based non-profit and humanitarian organization called the Gaskov Clergé Foundation. Named after the famous humanitarian Gaskov Clergé, the foundation aims to promote education, health, sports, and the sciences to make a difference in Haiti and the United States through acquiring donations.
Cozy Joseph, through the Gaskov Clergé Foundation, has been involved in several educational projects, medical missions, and free housing activities in Haiti, especially in the wake of the devastating earthquake that hit the country last 2010 and the series of hurricanes that have recently affected several areas in Haiti. She has also organized several forums and symposiums in Florida with other concerned professionals on the current condition of Haiti to gain more support from international institutions in their various philanthropic endeavors in the different poor areas in the country.
Haiti Telecommunication International (Haitel) is now in receivership as a result of its tax problems with the government. General Tax Directorate (DGI) director general Jean Baptiste Clark Neptune announced that the request for Haitel's receivership was approved in order to continue the company's operations and protect its employees and shareholders. Neptune clarified that the measure was taken not to close the telecommunication company but to help it resume its operations.
It can be recalled that Haitel has been buried in debt. Since 2005, it has accumulated a debt of more than $80 million in government taxes from several institutions such as DGI, National Council of Telecommunications (CONATEL), BRH and BNC, among others. The total debt accounts for 40% of government taxes.
CONATEL director Jean Marie Guillaume, who held a meeting with the DGI director, said that Haitel could no longer keep up its operation. It does not have money to pay its employees and purchase fuel for its generations anymore. As a matter of fact, the director added, Haitel's employees have not received their salary for over five months.
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