Why does Haiti change time in the year and the DR does not?

Why does Haiti change time in the year and the DR does not?

Haiti does not always have the same time of the year as the Dominican Republic and it is likely that many Dominicans do not know this.

Although both countries share an island, unlike the Dominican Republic, which maintains the same time pattern regardless of the season, Haiti advances or delays it twice a year to take advantage of the longer length of the day in summer and reduce energy consumption. in the territory.

“These are decisions of each country; the purpose is to save energy, to make better use of the hours of sun”, he explains to Free Journal Omar Reyes, in charge of the Time and Frequency Laboratory of the Industrial Metrology Directorate of the Dominican Institute for Quality (Indocal).

Between March and April, sunrise begins earlier and sunset is later, observes Reyes. “There are those who seek to take better advantage of this wide space of hours of sunshine, and then an hour is added so that people can go out, for example, to do their activities in the morning at an earlier hour, because there is already sunlight, and at night it is also reflected because they have sunlight at hours that normally there is not”.

As of 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 13, 2022, Haitians advanced their clocks one hour, so they currently have the same time as in the Dominican Republic. But, on Sunday, November 6, 2022, at 2 in the morning, they will delay it one hour again. On that date ends the summer schedule.

Haitian media report that the time changes in that country were applied from 1983 to 1997, from 2005 to 2006 and from 2012 to 2015. In 1997 they were canceled and also in 2006 and 2016.

In the Dominican Republic the time was changed

Although the Dominican Republic does not do the same as Haiti, it is no stranger to this dynamic. In the year 2000, the National Council of Private Enterprise (Conep) -and other entities- suggested to the new government headed by Hipólito Mejía, to modify the work schedule, assimilating it to that of the United States, to maintain consistency with flights to and from said nation, Canada and European countries, thus avoiding inconveniences to the tourist sectors, free zones, industrial and local businesses.

By accepting the proposal and understanding that it is also feasible to reduce the consumption of electric poweron September 25, 2000, the Executive Power issued Decree 820-00 with which it was decided to set the clocks back one hour throughout the national territory, starting at 12 midnight on Sunday, October 29 of that year.

To satisfy the request of the telecommunications companies, which alleged that at midnight it would generate inconveniences to make the change in specific systems, five days before the provision came into force, the time was modified, through decree 1011-00, to that the change was made at 2 in the morning. Also, it was decided to advance it one hour on Sunday, April 1, 2001, at 2 in the morning.

When the time delay came into force, it began to disrupt the development of evening teaching and daily life. There were campuses that lacked electric power to illuminate the centers and the students who studied in the afternoon left the school when it was dark, since the sun went down at approximately 5 in the afternoon. Analysts indicated that it should have been advanced and not delayed.

The population and the political class began to protest and demand a return to normal hours. The then president of Conep, Celso Marranzini, wrote a letter to President Mejía on November 22, 2000 in which he said: “Although we were in favor of the aforementioned change, in fact we recognize that we have made a mistake, and how to make a mistake It is human and rectify exalts, we ask you again to restore the previous schedule.

In response to the claims, and after a commission had studied the situation, the Executive Branch issued decree 1241-00, dated November 28, 2000, with a single article repealing the decrees that provided for the Time change. But it was not immediately applicable. The clocks remained with the hour behind until 2 in the morning of December 3 of that same year, when then it was advanced one hour.

Clock of the boulevard of Avenida 27 de Febrero, in the National District. (FREE DAILY / DANIA ACEVEDO)

“Despite the fact that we were in favor of the aforementioned change, in fact we recognize that we have made a mistake, and as to err is human and to rectify exalts, we ask you again to restore the previous schedule”Conepin a letter to then President Mejía

Much more before the time was changed

What was done in the Mejía government was not the first Time change produced in the Dominican Republic. During the first US occupation of the Dominican Republic, the military government issued an executive order that established that, from midnight on March 25 to 26, 1917, the official time would be the median solar time of the Meridian 70º West of Greenwich, which would represent a difference of 20 minutes.

Thus, when it was noon in Santo Domingo, the time in Washington and Haiti would be 11:40 in the morning, and when it was noon in Washington and Haiti, in Santo Domingo it would be 12:20 in the afternoon.

Later, in 1933, President Rafael Leonidas Trujillo ordered by decree that, starting at noon on April 1 of that year, the official time would be the mean solar time of the 70th Meridian West of Greenwich.

The previous provision lasted until 1942. In June of that year, the Dominican Republic was declared in a state of emergency, as it was affected by the consequences of World War II. The Government of Trujillo considered that the coordination of official and private activities, with the period of the day favored by sunlight, meant an important factor of economy in the electric lighting of public offices, establishments and residences, and, therefore, , it was convenient “to establish an official hour of war that responds to that purpose”.

The official time was then increased by one hour and 40 minutes from 12 midnight on Saturday, August 8. At that time, the clocks had to be changed so that the time was 1:40 in the morning.

But, seven days later, the Executive Power indicated in a new decree that, in practice, the advance of one hour and 40 minutes in the official time was proven “unnecessary”. Then, it was decided to move the clocks back one hour from Wednesday, August 12, 1942, at 11 p.m., so that they would go on to mark 10 p.m.

That would not be the last time in 1942 the time was changed. A third time was decreed in November of that year, so that the country would take advantage of what was agreed at the International Time Conference in Paris, to divide the terrestrial sphere, for the purposes of the hour, into 24 time zones, counting of the Greenwich meridian as meridian 0.

In this sense, it was ordered that, from the publication of said decree, issued on the 26th of that month, the permanent official time of the country would be that corresponding to the mean solar time of the 75th meridian, west of Greenwich. However, as long as the then state of war lasted in the Republic, the clocks in public offices will continue to mark 40 minutes more than the official time.

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Montecristi public clock 1930/1935. Designed in a similar way to a bottle of Champagne, by the Venezuelan Benigno Daniel Conde Vásquez and manufactured in France by Jean Paúl Garnier. (LUIS MAÑÓN/GENERAL ARCHIVE OF THE NATION)

In later years measures were taken again to Time change. For example, in June 1948, an hour was advanced to reduce the consumption of electric power while new energy production equipment was installed in the country. Four months later, an hour was delayed when the causes that motivated the advance ceased.

In November 1949 it was advanced one hour, in that month of 1951 it was delayed one hour, also on November 27, 1959 it was advanced one hour to be delayed again on January 30, 1960.

For September 24, 1973, the government of Joaquín Balaguer arranged for an hour to be brought forward to reduce the consumption of electric power and deal with blackouts.

In America they want to keep time

Currently, the United States and many other countries -such as Haiti- carry out time changes, known as summer schedule or winter, depending on how the adjustment is made.

The practice in different nations dates back to the last century and the American politician and inventor Benjamin Franklin is credited with being the first to propose it, in 1784, as an energy saving measure.

This dynamic has been criticized by sectors that maintain that it has harmful consequences for health, especially in sleep, due to the temporary imbalances that it causes in the body when making the change in the clock. Also, it is associated with cardiovascular problems.

In the US Senate, last March, the same month in which the time was changed in this 2022, a bill called Sunshine Protection Act, to keep the summer schedule fixed way.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio, promoter of the project, described as “stupid” the Time change. He opined that most Americans want to stop turning the clock back and forth.

If approved in the House of Representatives and signed into law by President Joe Biden, it would begin to apply from November 2023.

Economics editor and professor of journalism. She has specialized in investigative, multimedia and data journalism.

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