In an article published last week in the Jamaica-based newspaper, The Gleaner, business reporter, Steven Jackson, wrote that Haiti-based GB Group announced last week that it acquired Chevron Corporation’s assets in Jamaica and two other Caribbean countries for an undisclosed sum.
The deal sees century-old GB Group acquiring the distribution and sales of petroleum products in Jamaica, Dominica Republic and St Maarten from Chevron Caribbean, which owns the Texaco gas brand. “The company also completed the sale of certain other fuels-marketing and aviation businesses in the Caribbean and South America in the third quarter 2011,” stated Chevron chairman and CEO John Watson in its just-released financials.
News of the acquisition sent shockwaves around many in business communities around the world. Ben Bigio, billionaire industrialist, who owns 16 out of the major businesses in Haiti and who financed the military coups against Aristide—both in 1991 and in 2004, is an ultra-reactionary, who never hides his gross disdain for the Haitian masses, although the headquarters of his main base of operation is located in Cité Soleil, a seaside shantytown of more than 300,000 people residing in homes made of cinder blocks with tin roofs. The shantytown has long been described as poorer than India’s infamous slums of Calcutta.
“Our purpose is to improve the quality of life of the communities we reach,” the GB Group says in its mission statement. What an irony! According to a report from Cite Soleil published in January 2008 by Haiti Information Project , the shantytown is the mirror example of raw poverty where residents resort into eating dirt to get rid of hunger.
But Bigio has no shame. His clan is also the largest Haitian partner in the wireless communications giant Digicel, a mammoth company based in Ireland that has nearly cornered the cellular market in the Caribbean. Bigio’s family is not merely wealthy amidst a sea of poverty stricken residents in Haiti, his family represents the Über-wealthy who have benefited most since Aristide’s second ouster in 2004, according to Miami Herald.
During the Duvalier dynasty, Bigio made a fortune as an arms dealer, negotiating arms deals on behalf of Papa Doc and Baby Doc.
Bigio and his clan couldn’t care less about the plight of millions of Haitian destitute. He is an astray Jew of Syrian origin whose father immigrated to Haiti in 1925 and has always been a fervent supporter and financier of some of the most reactionary elements in the Israeli society. His allegiance is elsewhere, not in Haiti. “Being in a city where there’s no synagogue, prayers are done at our house, Israel to us is the motherland. It’s the rock. It’s how we identify ourselves,” said Reuven Bigio, the son of the business guru. His father’s support for Israel’s mission here was immediate: “His desire to help was unconditional.” True enough, Ben Bigio is the honorary consul representing Israel in Haiti.
This view is not an isolated sentiment, it is rather the cornerstone by which of most Haitian-Arabs—Christians and Jews—dwell when it comes to pledging allegiance to a country. They seem to forget that it was the Haitian Parliament in 1912 that passed legislation granting full citizenship to all Arabs living Haiti in order to protect them from discriminatory practices they suffered at the hands of European multinational businessmen already well established in the country.
The biggest curse on Haiti is its tiny elite made up entirely of bourgeois parasites who, like the rest of the mercenaries, see Haiti as a wasteland not good working to develop. They are there to suck whatever blood left until the country bloat out of existence, and they will pack up and leave vers de nouveaux horizons just like their forefathers did in the 1800s when they left Arabia and found Haiti.
According to Miami Herald, “Bigio, 68, lives in a big, beautiful house in Petionville, one of the few upscale neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince. Behind the well-guarded house is a luxurious swimming pool [as well as] a gazebo for outdoor parties.” Shame on this recalcitrant bourgeoisie!