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Haitian business people warn about impact of violence

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Port-au-Prince, Nov 30 (Prensa Latina) Haitian business people have warned about the situation in Artibonite, some 100 kilometers from this capital, where stores might be closed due to gang violence.

Pierre Robert Auguste, president of the Association of Business People of Artibonite (AEA), regretted that the armed groups benefit from authorities’ flexibility, while there is no strategic reflection at the State level in collaboration with society to face insecurity. Auguste told the radio program Magik 9 that three major criminal gangs operate in Petite-Rivière d’Artibonite, Croix Périsse and Gros-Morne, and that the National Police are equipped with weapons and ammunition to deal with these groups, but does nothing to counter the situation.

“Gangs are becoming a profitable economic activity and a social modality.”

Those who join a gang are not afraid of showing off,’ the AEA chief denounced.

The crisis has serious consequences on the region, where the price of foodstuffs such as rice has rose in the area by 40 percent, and stores cannot stock up.

He added that some companies are in a situation of undeclared bankruptcy and others have just closed or have dismissed their employees massively due to the department’s insecurity.

Auguste fears the beginning of a social outbreak and a popular revolt targeted directly at officials and criminals.

Faced with this situation, the AEA asked the Government to lift restrictions to allow business people to import directly, as well as the creation of a public-private partnership to promote the use of ports within a framework of regional economic development.

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