Opponents also argue that the bill's provisions fall short of World Bank environmental safeguards that weigh a project's benefits against its degradation of natural habitat. According to the draft law, the country's Environment Ministry will have 180 days to evaluate a company's environmental assessment of a given project in its application for a mining permit. Six months might seem like a reasonable amount of time, but complainants point to the inefficiency of Haitian governmental bureaucracy getting in the way of timely assessments. They fear that the cap will compromise the ministry's authority and inhibit critical oversight of environmental concerns.
'The idea that a place that doesn't have a functioning regulatory state would be capable at this stage of really regulating and monitoring such an inherently dangerous industry seems facially questionable.'
Predolus Predolis, a local farmer who lives in the Baie-de-Henne commune in northwest Haiti, worked with a company that arrived in 2011 to explore the area for minerals. He was paid $5 a day to dig holes for four weeks over the summer, and told VICE News that he regularly attempted to engage with the company to learn more."I asked officials lots of questions about why they were there," said Predolis, who is 41 and also teaches at a local school. "Eventually it was clear that they didn't come to build anything with the people."
'We are confident that an Inspection Panel investigation will lead to changes in the World Bank's approach to its activities in Haiti to remedy these violations, address the underlying concerns, and prevent potential future violations.'
Follow Claire Ward on Twitter: @thementalward