Dupuy on Haiti’s Endangered Garment Industry

An extensive story in The Sunday Toronto Star on Haiti’s garment industry quotes at length Alex Dupuy, Chair, African American Studies, Class of 1958 Distinguished Professor of Sociology. Dupuy comments on how the garment industry was elevated in hopes of replacing the economic infusion that was lost when the rice industry collapsed as a result of policies foisted on Haiti during the Clinton administration, policies former President Clinton himself admits were disastrous. “I did that,” Clinton says in the piece. “I have to live every day with the consequences of the lost capacity to produce a rice crop in Haiti to feed those people.”

Dupuy doesn’t believe the garment industry as currently operating in Haiti can replace the loss of the rice industry. Specifically, he says:

“For Haiti to move to higher industrial production it would need to invest heavily in the education of the Haitian population, invest heavily in the health care of the population, in housing, in infrastructure. . .It would need to vastly increase both domestic and foreign investment in order to capitalize on a skilled labour force. None of which is on the horizon.”