Haiti’s Martelly seeks new taxes to help schools

Haiti's President-elect Michel Martelly, center, arrives for a press conference at a hotel in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday April 26, 2011. Martelly, a first-time politician, is scheduled to be inaugurated May 14. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s president-elect announced Tuesday that he intends to impose taxes on money transfers and international cellphone calls to help finance schools across the chronically impoverished country.

Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly, who last week was declared the official winner of a March 20 presidential runoff but will not take office until May 14, said Haiti’s three telecommunication companies have agreed to charge an additional 5 cents a minute to help bankroll schools.

The levy on international phone calls with companies Digicel, Voila and Haitel would raise roughly $36 million annually, Martelly said. The program, he added, would take effect June 1 if lawmakers approve the plan.

During campaigning, Martelly pledged to ensure that all children in Haiti receive a free education. Haitian parents now spend the bulk of their salaries on education but few of their children learn much because the quality of schools is considered so dismal.

Martelly said his government will also approach money transfer businesses to see if they would agree to donate a dollar for each remittance sent to Haiti to help fund schools. He also said that restructuring Haiti’s popular lottery might generate income for bettering education. He disclosed few details of these proposals, however.

Martelly’s education plans were unveiled at a press conference as international election observers sift through contested results for 19 legislative races from the March 20 runoff.

The U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince and the United Nations expressed concerns over discrepancies between the final results released last week and preliminary results released April 4. The new results showed that candidates in 19 races received thousands of votes that they didn’t have in the initial results, and expanded the presence of Haiti’s ruling Unity party in parliament.

Martelly, a first-time politician who won 67 percent of the vote in the country’s presidential elections, is not a member of Unity.

Martelly has called for an investigation into the reversals but said little on the matter Tuesday.

“The vote of the population should be respected,” he said. “We can’t build democracy with a stolen election.”

(This version CORRECTS day of announcement to Tuesday instead of Monday. )


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5 thoughts on “Haiti’s Martelly seeks new taxes to help schools

  1. I’m so glad to hear Martelly is working on funding better public education!

    What about also putting an arrival/departure tax at the airport to generate funds for education? A small fee would not be too difficult for most of those who fly to afford and perhaps the airlines would also donate a small percentage of their revenues. Every little bit would help.

  2. This is a good idea. I hear a lot of complaints about the Martely administration charging the money transfer companies. I say let him do it. He want $1 for every customer that sends out a tranfer. This is not coming from the customers pockets, but the money transfer companies pocket. This wont hurt them. If they dont want to then make them. Thats why it will be a law not a plea for donations! I noticed something about our people; whatever a person come up with it is opposed by some idiot that dont have an idea of his own. Martely if he dont know that will learn that Haitians play the devils advocate for the heck of it. If Francios Duvalier was collecting haitian oppinions we would not have an airport.

  3. this is what make us proud to be ourselves.we are so much used to Haiti avek you kui kap mache mande, God bless you Miki. u have started very well.let them who keep curssing your name by calling u vagabon be ashamed. show them that they are wrong.Haiti is wiyh you.tax these arabs ones who has been in the country for years taking the money of the country to Sirian bank and suicerland band. of course most of the lekol bolet owners are going to be agravated,but haiti need a chance.we have to take that oprtunity now that we have a man of good will to change.and after Miki shall come Wyclef jean and then again miki who will pass it back to Miki, I would say guys it can be your best chance to make these next two decades the Haiti all have been expected. do not give chance to those voleurs to come back ever again get them all out and jail most of them. sometimes, you have to be tough cause there is no way a killer will stop killing same for a criminal.Haiti has been having only criminals leading it for the past 50 years.

  4. Sa se yon ide.Se yon bon ide.Men li pa sifi.Se yon bagay pou nou fe alavole. Se yon ide ki dwe devni ton reyalite.Ide sa adwe jwenn bon jan estrikti k aptann li pou li kapab devni yon ide fos pou pemet chak sitwayen kontribye nan finansman byenet moun k ap viv nan peyi a.

    Ide sa a genyen pou we avek bon jan Lalwa, vot ratifikasyon ak bonjan metod finansman, jesyon, epi fok moun k ap kontribye yo kapab jwenn avantaj fiskal pou patisipasyon nan mod finansman sa a tou.Paske tout moun k ap viv Ozetazini pa egzan, dwe deklare tout sale yo, kado, komisyon, tout revni ki rantre nan men yo regilyeman.Bagay sa a pa p kapab fet nan dezod tankou VOAM= Voye Aristide monte olyede voye Ayiti monte.

    Nou dwe pran prekosyon pou nou pa tonbe nan mera sou okenn fom anko.Mwen dako anpil avek ide pou tout moun patisipe nan finanse tout pwoje ke gouvenman ap tabli pou byennet sitwayen yo.Men, li dwe fet selon lareg.Sekonse ke Jwif yo te kontribye pou yo te bati ak kenbe peyi Izrayel sou wout devlopman. Chak semen, chak Jwif kontribye nan finansman peyi li.

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