By Kenya King (www.atlantadailyworld.com)
Amid celebratory music and exhibits adorned with Haitian décor, the sign read, “Haiti is now open for business” at the Arts Space International Gallery in Atlanta. The unequivocal sentiment of the evening was with the purpose of fostering Haitian commerce at the Flavors and Colors (Gouts et Couleurs) of Haiti event, which presented the Consul General of Haiti, Gandy Thomas, to the Atlanta business community.
As January marks two years since the 2010 catastrophic earthquake in Haiti, the resolve to reinvigorate Haiti’s business partnerships has come to Atlanta’s doorsteps. “Yes, it is really imperative that we open our doors to businesses,” said Thomas. “We should do it in view of the close relationship between national growth and a country’s participation into the world global economy. When we solemnly say, “come invest,” we are deeply convinced that, to change this country, we have to open both arms to welcome businessmen from all over the world. That is a change of mentality. That’s a new paradigm, a new approach in the business of government. In this lies the key to our success,” he said.
To dozens of dignitaries and civil leaders, Thomas made the case that it is a new day in Haiti and that the country, through its foreign affairs minister, is proceeding with “full-fledged diplomatic reform” in business, for investments in the U.S. and other countries. He asserted that Haiti is the “new haven for Foreign Direct Investments (FDI)” and referenced legislation of the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act of 2006 and of 2008, which he says places Haiti in a favorable position to export many products tax free.
Since Haiti has suffered hardships over the years, Thomas rendered reassurance that Haiti has not lost its cultural value.