Our core company is a money transfer company. One of our major revenues is remittances. This is the transfer of money from residents of a country who have left and send money back home. Remittances are particularly large in this part of the world because Haiti is a failed state. It it were not for remittances by Haitians who have escaped the country, Haiti would have a negative Gross Domestic Product. Approximately 8 billion dollars flows to Haiti from legal and illegal Haitian immigrants.
As part of our money transfer business, we must adhere to anti-money laundering rules imposed by the Central Bank and by international bodies such as the IMF, the OECD and the FATF or the Financial Action Task Force. Part of those rules encompass a principle called "KYC" or know your customer. As a result, anyone wanting to transfer money must appear in person with photo id. We also require id for the recipient. We get some strange IDs.
I am the only person in the office who reads, writes and speaks French. French is the official language of Haiti, although they mostly speak Krayole, or Creole, a French native patois. Consequently, when the above document came in yesterday, I was asked to translate it. It is a fascinating sociological glimpse into the bureaucracy of the Caribbean French. It is a marriage certificate. It reads as follows:
Liberty Egalitarianism Fraternity
I, Gabriel Santiague, Civil Officer of State for the village of La Tortue, have seen the instruments sent by the Reverend ... Wesner, which conforms to the 6th article of the 16th of December, 1929, modified by the law of January 26, 1945
Let us note, and register and certify that before the marriage banns were duly done, no opposition was signified (indicated) by the aforesaid religious minister.
Mr. Franciler Utile, age 54 years, born in Servilie April 2, 1950, living in Nassau Bahamas, son of Mercius Uitle, died in Exalucia Saint Vil, who lives in Servilie la Tortue, stipulates in his own name in the first part ...
And Lamanie Agathe Lordeus, age 54 years old, born in Servie, living in the village of La Tortue, daughter of Fatera Lordeus, died living in .... and Fercilia Fertil, living in Montry, stipulates on behalf of herself for the second part..
presented themselves on the 22nd of April at 9:00 o'clock in the morning at the Montry church to enter into the contract of marriage.
At the question of consent taken by both spouses, they responded separately and affirmatively in the presence of the aforesaid Minister of Religion and of 1) Elifane Louis, age 48 and living in Servilie2) Louissette Cius, age 35, living in Port-de-Paix(the witnesses)
They are thus united in marriage.
The act (document) drawn up by the aforesaid Minister of Religion and signed by him alone.In witness, we have drawn up and signed the present document, conforming to the law.Recieved by the Head Tax OfficeOfficerGSArchives of Haiti stamps
Consider (this stamp) only for the legalization (authenticity) of Mr JN Wilfrid Bertrand, Director General of the Archives of Haiti