VIDEO - Reginald Boulos Haiti interview : There are no rich people in Haiti, he says

Watch this video... Big Haitian businessman Reginald Boulos (DELIMART) gave an exclusive interview where he explains his rags to riches story and says some things that you may or may not agree with about life in Haiti, rich vs poor, and more...

PHOTO: Reginald Boulos, Homme d'Affaire Haitien
PHOTO: Reginald Boulos, Homme d'Affaire Haitien

"I am attached to this country like every other Haitian, Reginald Boulos said, despite the discouragements. I find myself loving this country and I cannot explain why.

Below the video is an English transcript of the interview because we thought it was interesting enough for those of you who do not speak Creole to understand some of what Reginald Boulos said. I mean, it's not everyday a rich man in Haiti spill his guts :)

Watch the video...

Who is Reginals Boulos?

"I was born in Manhattan because my mother had a complicated pregnancy," Reginald Boulos said. "I came back to Haiti 14 days after I was born, I've only spent one year outside of Haiti since I've been born."

"I am Haitian because my father and grand father are Haitian, because my mother and both her parents are Haitian."

"I am 4th generation Haitian," Reginald Boulos said. "My Great grand father came from Lebanon back in the year 1875. It's been at least 140 years since the Boulos family has been living in Haiti."

Reginald Boulos Education:

"I went to school (primary and secondary) at Petit Seminaire Collège St Martial... I went to the University in Haiti to become a doctor at the Faculté de Médecine," Reginald Boulos said. "I am the same promotion as Dr. Reynold Savain and Dr Georges Michel."

"The only time I spent one year away from Haiti was to go get my Masters degree (maitrise) in public health. That's my area of expertise. I am a public health doctor and I worked in that field for 14 years in Cite Soleil."

Journalist: Mr Boulos, do you consider yourself white, mulato, or...

Reginald Boulos: I am Haitian... The Lebanese are considered a white race, so you could consider me white on the exterior and black on the inside.

Journalist: Do you think your color plays in your favor.

Reginald Boulos: I think it plays more against me because the
super powers (les grande puissances) never allowed this black little country to really find its identity...

The super powers are white and they made Haiti suffer a great deal... Therefore, within Haitian society there's this kind of hostility as to who is responsible for Haiti being so poor...

Journalist: Rephrasing the question Do you think it is because you are Syrian-Lebanese and the color of your skin white that you have amassed this fortune, Dr Boulos?

Reginald Boulos: In a sense, yes. because the the mulato bourgeoisie, I am making a difference and I will explain why, imposed certain advantages from the imperialist super powers back in the years 1860s through the 1890s.

Certain practical advantages were given to the Haitian mulato bourgeoisie until the 1950s. They were controlling the country directly of via a "Politique de Doublure"...

Reginald Boulos Continues...

If I am more privilege than others, it is not because my skin color, it because of hard work of my grand father.

Remember, when I was a kid they used to call me "arab bwèt nan do." My family came here with no money, they used to live downtown above their place of business.

By grand father worked so hard buying selling tobacco in various cities in Haiti that each of my father's siblings were born in a different city in northern Haiti. My father is born in Ouanaminthe, he has brother born in Cap-Haitien, another brother born in Port-de-Paix...

We work hard and this is a well known fact about the middle-eastern people. They are very hard working and very good businessmen and women.

Journalist: Are you very rich?

Reginald Boulos: There are no rich people in Haiti... I am not poor but there are no rich people in Haiti.

When I look at my counterpart in the neighboring Dominican Republic, he sells 450 Daihatsus each month. I sell 400 or 350 per year. I am very poor compared to them...

Everything is relative in life and everything is a question of the ladder.

compared to the level of poverty in Haiti, yes I am rich but I am a 'petit riche' (a little rich man)...

In the United States I would be considered middle class... I would not be able to start any type of business in the United States, I don't have that kind of money.

There are no billionaires in Haiti, Reginald Boulos said.

Regarding the one percent who controls the economy, Reginal Boulos says:

False, there is no such thing a one percent of the population that controls the economy because the Haitian economy is informal for the most part.

The economy is dominated by middle-class businessmen, (les boutique, les depots) and I will give you an example:

When I was little, if you wanted to purchase building materials, the one name that came to mind was Raymond Flambert. Today, if you want to buy building materials, you just go to the nearest 'quincaillerie' (hardware store) closest to your house which belongs to a small business man.

Journalist: Yes but there is a big supplier

Reginald Boulos: Yes but when you speak of the economy, "l'économie est un tout" (the economy is the whole thing)

If you want to ask me if I am part of the one percent who pays 80 percent of the taxes in this country, then the answer is yes. That's the part they never talk about. They just say the top one percent.

(Unfortunately I didn't have time to translate the whole interview. perhaps someone can pick up where I left off and post it as a reply)

Woodring St Preux, HaitianInternet.com

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Tags: Rich Vs Poor in Haiti, Doing Business in Haiti, Reginald Boulos, The Richest Haitians, Haitian Newsletter Articles, People

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