Statements on Key Issues
Statement on Socialization of the project & Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC).
In late 2019, Honduras Próspera Inc. (formerly Sociedad Para el Desarrollo Socioeconómico de Honduras LLC), as the Promoter and Organizer of Próspera ZEDE, notified the Municipality of Roatán, the Congressman for the Bay Islands and the national and international media of its intention to develop a ZEDE on the island of Roatán.
In this regard, Próspera received letters from Mayor Jerry Hynds and Governor Dino Silvestri welcoming the development of Próspera ZEDE to the island. Thereafter, Próspera organized a town hall meeting with the Crawfish Rock community, informing them of the development of Próspera ZEDE. As a result, the Crawfish Rock community welcomed the development, as evidenced by the town hall resolution that was signed by over 80% of the existing households permanently registered at the Crawfish Rock area.
Names and profiles of its Board Members have been published and still are publicly available on Próspera’s official website www.próspera.hn.
The company’s business activities are intended to generate opportunities for both people on the island and the mainland, they are being developed on unencumbered private territories with no known disputes regarding ownership or possession and cause no negative impact on indigenous or afro-descendant communities neighboring Próspera ZEDE.
All parties involved with Próspera are doing so of their own free will, and numerous community members have benefited, and continue to benefit, from direct and indirect job creations associated with the company's presence on the island. In addition, the community has also benefited from education, water, and security services provided by Próspera upon their request.
Próspera’s actions are fully compliant with the International Labor Organization (ILO) Conventions, including Convention 169 regarding the right of previous consultation. Próspera considers its socialization efforts to be a part of its “good neighbor” policy but not a legal requirement.
Statement on potential negative impacts of the project on Afrohonduran communities
Próspera ZEDE is developed on unencumbered private properties with no known disputes regarding ownership or possession. Próspera is focused on fostering a knowledge economy with no negative externalities to neighboring communities. Próspera has supported community-based programs in Punta Gorda by donating equipment to the Ostyn Flores Garifuna School as well as backed reforestation efforts in five communities across the Bay Islands through its Planta-a-thon.
Statement on perceived threats to the safety of the community and its members (e.g., audio messages)
Próspera has been subject to many disinformation campaigns and political attacks. Specific prominent political figures have even called for violence against Próspera and encouraged the physical invasion of Próspera’s properties. In addition, the senior team itself has faced numerous verbal attacks in the past. Having said that, Próspera will continue to try to resolve any differences through mediation and dialogue and continue involving the community in the development of Próspera ZEDE.
Statement on the issue of Expropriation
We respect, support, and celebrate all communities’ culture, heritage, and legacy and remain committed to the principles of sustainable developments. This includes the adoption of a detailed Bill of Rights that protects individual human rights and resolutions protecting private property and disallowing expropriation.
Próspera ZEDE will not, and cannot, legally expropriate properties to expand its boundaries. The Charter of Próspera ZEDE does not allow it. The Próspera ZEDE Council has issued a Resolution that bans expropriation and prevents Próspera ZEDE from benefiting directly or indirectly from expropriation. The CAMP has issued a permanent regulation banning expropriation from extending the boundaries of Próspera ZEDE. Próspera fully supports an amendment of the ZEDE Organic Law that prevents the use of expropriation from expanding any ZEDE.
Statement on fiscal exonerations/tax erosion.
The Próspera special economic zone is not a tax-free zone, and it will not in any way deprive the local municipality of revenues or impose an unfair burden on municipal services. In fact, it will generate positive tax and other revenue streams for the municipality and for the Government of Honduras that did not exist before. The location of the Próspera project had no economic activity in the past and generated no significant tax revenue.
Under recent clarifying national legislation, any existing business that moves into the zone is legally required to continue paying the same taxes to the municipality and national government as previously, and every new project will result in new taxes and new revenues. This new law parallels the Próspera Charter’s previously existing provisions. Therefore, municipalities will have more funds than they do today to improve infrastructure and services.
Existing institutions and communities in Roatán will continue to be strengthened by the success of SJB project. 12% of tax revenues collected will be shared with the municipalities of Roatan and various divisions of the national government. 2.4% of all taxes will be paid to the municipalities and 9.6% to the national government, as mandated by law.
Just like any other Honduran, Próspera residents and businesses will pay the same fees that maintain the airport, the same vehicle registration fees that pay for public road maintenance, and other fees that support infrastructure. If Próspera requires services from the Roatán municipality within Próspera ZEDE, such as police and fire protection, Próspera will pay a fair and mutually agreed-upon price for such services by both parties. Therefore, any services that the municipality provides to the Roatán Próspera development will be fully paid for.
Próspera looks forward to signing intergovernmental agreements with each of the municipalities on Roatan to establish in writing a solid foundation for positive and transparent relations going forward for the benefit of all Hondurans and islanders.
Statement on Transparency
Próspera ZEDE is, arguably, one of the most transparent entities within the Honduran government. It publishes all of its meetings, resolutions, regulations, administrative actions, legislative history, conflicts of interest clearance, contracts, and much more information on its official website, www.pzgps.hn, per article 7 of the ZEDE Organic Law.
Monthly meetings of the Próspera Council are also public and accessible online.
Próspera ZEDE is supervised by the CAMP and has no control or influence over its policies and administrative operations.
Statement on Comparison of Próspera with Hong Kong, Dubai FZs
Próspera Platform is based on the best ideas and successful case studies of special economic zones around the world. Hong Kong, Singapore, Songdo, Dubai International Financial Center are all examples of zones where legal and regulatory structures have encouraged investment and facilitated economic development. Próspera believes in adopting policies that have proven successful elsewhere in the world with the aim of creating a world-class community in Honduras, one that attracts investment, creates jobs and invigorates the Honduran economy.”
Statement on infringing National Sovereignty
The ZEDE Constitutional Amendments and ZEDE Organic Law were designed by the National Government of Honduras to develop the economy and generate jobs while protecting and furthering the national sovereignty of Honduras.
The Honduran Constitution, international treaties, and national legislation on all matters related to sovereignty, administration of justice, national defense, international relationships, electoral matters, issuance of identification and passport documents, including the Penal Code, Maritime Legislation, and Migration laws, are all applicable or can be made applicable by national legislation in the ZEDE.
The top official in the ZEDE (i.e., the Technical Secretary) is a Honduran by birth. The Próspera Charter ensures that the Technical Secretary will be nominated by a democratic selection process of residents once the ZEDE reaches high population density. Próspera ZEDE provides its residents with ample mechanisms for democratic participation, including a democratically accountable Ombudsman, citizen forced referendums, automatic referendums for all new rules, the right to select trustees to serve, and to serve, on the Próspera Council of Trustees, recall of council trustees, and the right to amend the Charter of Próspera.
Statement on the Legal Stability of Próspera ZEDE
Existing ZEDEs are protected for a minimum period of 50 years from any changes to the ZEDE regime. Próspera ZEDE enjoys special legal stability guarantees under the Dominican Republic - Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) and the Bilateral Investment Treaty between the Republic of Honduras and the United States of America.
Among other things, this is accomplished through the ZEDE Organic Law, which provides a minimum transition period of 10 years during which the rights of the residents are protected, and the mechanism for abolishing ZEDEs that it creates (i.e., 2/3 qualified majority vote in National Congress and a referendum in certain cases).
In addition, even though the Honduran Supreme Court has upheld the law two times (one time expressly and implicitly in June 2021 when it created the ZEDE court system), any ruling that the ZEDE regime is unconstitutional would not have retroactive effect and, pursuant to established Honduran law, would not impact the constitutional autonomy already recognized to existing ZEDEs.