Greg Chamberlain notes:
Date: Tuesday, March 10, 1998 8:49 AM

Eight people were arrested on 8 March 1975 and accused of involvement in forging the signature of deputy trade and industry minister Henri Bayard on a document authorising the New York firm of J. & H. Stolow to issue the wondrous Audubon stamp series. The same day, Bayard's boss, trade and industry minister Serge Fourcand, was fired and put under house arrest.

The nine-day jury-less trial, presided over by Judge Rock Raymond, opened on 26 August in PauP and ended on 11 Sept. Among the 13 defendants were Fourcand, Frantz Leroy and (in absentia) Eugene Maximilien. The televised proceedings were the first public airing of corruption under the Duvaliers.

Le Matin of 9 April reported that the Haitian "accomplices" were "cheated" out of $23 million in profits from the stamps, receiving only 20% of the sale proceeds.

The trial verdict was delivered on Sept 19. Fourcand, Pierre-Richard Maximilien and Fritz Denis were "liberes faute de preuves." Leroy got 7 years hard labour for forgery and his wife Marlene 2 years. Leroy's brother Guy and Rene Exume got 3 years hard labour for complicity. All four were fined $14,000 each plus $30,000 costs. Five others were acquitted. The sentence on the absent Eugene Maximilien was announced later, on 5 Nov. -- 15 years hard labour, a big fine and seizure of his property.

The aim of the trial was probably to bring down Fourcand, who had spent the previous year fighting to get Reynolds Aluminum to pay higher royalties for their bauxite mine at Miragoane, which the company agreed to do on 2 December 74. Fourcand also extracted ecological and social conditions from Reynolds. Those final details were (ironically?) announced two days after the trial began.

Fourcand also took Haiti into the International Bauxite Association (IBA), which was founded around this time at Jamaica's (PM Michael Manley's) initiative. Fourcand led a sort of nationalist current in the regime at the time, which also involved arguing with the US about Haitian sovereignty over the uninhabited Navassa Island, off the southwest peninsula towards Jamaica.

Reynolds closed its mine soon afterwards. Around this time, the government also cancelled the Sedren copper lease (Canadian mine north of Gonaives) for breach of contract.

GC