September 20, 2004
The Honorable E. Clay Shaw, Jr.
House of Representatives
2408 Rayburn House Office Building
Dear Mr. Shaw,
I write on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to commend your lead in sponsoring HR 4889, the Haiti Economic Recovery Opportunity Act of 2004. This bill, "to expand certain preferential trade treatment for Haiti," represents a small but critically important step by which our country can help stimulate the economic recovery of the poorest nation in the hemisphere.
Not only might this bill, once enacted, create many new jobs in that depressed economy, but it could stand as a beacon of hope to the people of Haiti, signaling the intention of the United States to follow through with essential economic assistance.
In this year of Haiti's bicentennial observance, the people of Haiti have had to endure extraordinary civil unrest and violence. They have suffered as well the devastation of the torrential rains of last May and the hurricane weather of this month. It is my prayer that this measure, the HERO Act of 2004, may bring encouragement and new hope to the long-suffering Haitian people.
With thanks for your leadership in this matter and with best personal wishes, I remain
Most Reverend John H. Ricard, SSJ
Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee
Chairman, Committee on International Policy