In his end of year message to the people, President Jovenel Moïse called on his compatriots to come together to tackle the issues and obstacles the country will be facing in the coming year. Despite listing some of the major achievements of his administration, the president addressing the nation in Creole challenged state actors to double their efforts in 2019 so that there is more social justice in the nation, because “we must work hard to create a climate of peace, dialogue and reciprocal respect”. According to Mr. Moïse, understanding and agreement are indispensable for conducting honest and credible elections, while he promised to work hard with determination for the prosperity of the nation. Furthermore, the president identified: road networks, infrastructural development, energy production and access to social services as key to improving the living conditions of the most vulnerable of society, and he promised to intensify programs that address environmental protection and social welfare. For things to work, we must break the chains of division and hypocrisy and come together as one to move on the road of progress giving credence to our motto “unity is strength”. Mr. Moïse hailed the dialogue undertaken by Prime Minister Jean Henry Céant and asks people from all walks of the political life of the country to heed the call for unity. Because, he added we cannot build a nation that we dream of, if we cannot make the necessary compromises, and we cannot go far with this division and the strategy of get off, so I can take over, referring to the positions taken by the radical opposition.
The European Union Ambassador in Haiti Vincent Degert is bringing attention to the importance of an active civil society in the democratization process in Haiti on a radio program FwoteLide broadcast on AlterRadio. Mr. Degert stated that there cannot be good democracy and good citizen participation if there is no organized and structured active civil society capable of rich and constructive dialogue with the state apparatus. The EU thus encourages a more dynamic, autonomous and participatory civil society.
Meanwhile, those actively concerned with the slow pace of proceedings on the PetroCaribe report, dubbed the PetroCaribeChallenge have come up with a new slogan, “Nou p ap dòmi” in their struggle to bring the actors to justice and they have undertaken a three day sleep-in in front of the premises of the la Cour supérieure des comptes et du Contentieux administratif (CSC/CA). Many groups within civil society including the Gramsci circle at the State University of Haiti (UEH), ‘Ayiti nou vle” and the Konbit sendikal who have been preoccupied with the waste of PetroCaribe monies want to see action taken. The sit-in has conferences, shows and forums around the issue at the same time as protesting the laxity of the authorities in proceeding with the recommendations from the report.
In other news, one of the private radio stations in the Port-au-Prince area, Radio Kiskeya was completely ravaged by fire last Saturday. The fire started in an adjoining structure and quickly spread to the building and calls were placed to fire authorities and by the time they arrived, two hours later, the structure was destroyed, with personnel looking on helpless. According to the Director of Programming at the station, Ms. Liliane Pierre-Paul, they have lost everything, when the “heritage of the Radio Kiskeya is testament to the struggle for democracy for the Haitian people” is fallen prey to ravages of the fire. Holding back tears, she fears this loss is a metaphor on the state of affairs in the nation. Many collaborators and well-wishers rushed to the premises to commiserate with the staff on their great loss. Both Prime Minister Céant and Justice Minister Jean Roudy Aly were there to offer their support for what they called a national institution.
For the national media association, L’Association nationale des médias haïtiens (ANMH), everything possible must be done to get the radio station, which it called a national treasure, back on the airwaves as soon as possible, rebuilt with reinforcements to avoid such fate in the future. While showing their support to the station, they used the occasion to criticize the fire authorities for their laxity in getting to the fire on time to tame it. They called on the authorities to make firefighting available, well organized and equipped in every town across the country; as the current fire has laid bare the inefficiencies and incompetence of the fire services.