La Gonave Government in Talks to Develop Island for Tourist Trade

Gonâve Island lies on the Caribbean Sea, in the Gulf of Gonâve, to the west and northwest of Port-au-Prince. It is in the La Gonâve Arrondissement, part of Ouest Department. Because the island's topography is composed mainly of limestone, it lacks sufficient vegetation, and low levels of annual rainfall bring on water shortages. La Gonâve Arrondissement is comprised of two districts, Anse-à-Galets and Pointe-à-Raquette. It has a large population of 80,000 inhabitants.


Gonâve's biggest challenge is the scarceness of its water supply. In 2005, a crisis arose when the island experienced a severe drought, bringing many aid agencies to its rescue, sealing springs and erecting rainwater tanks. They have also installed an island-wide water-transport system and dug wells to deliver water to the drought-stricken islanders. A consortium of government, non-government and non-profit organizations, churches, and other aid organizations have established the Water Platform. This body coordinates the efforts of all agencies working on Gonâve to further their work. Within two years of the drought crisis, 25 wells had been dug and more were planned.

Gonâve's history follows a similar pattern established by mainland Haiti in the 19th century--its fondness for royal rulerships. In the mid-1920's, when U.S. military forces had occupied the island, the inhabitants crowned Sergeant Faustin E. Wirkus of the Marine Corps as King Faustin II. He ruled for four years before returning to the U.S.

Plans to develop the island into a tourist destination have not materialized, but talks are ongoing.

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Read more: tourism, US Military, town, Ouest Department, Pointe-a-Raquette, Anse-a-Galets, La Gonave, Golf de la Gonave, Faustin II, Island, Haiti

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