The Chairman of the Senate Ethics and Anti-Corruption subcommittee, Senator Youri Latortue stated that a new report from the Superior Court of Administrative Disputes, La Cour Supérieure des Comptes et du Contentieux Administratif (CSC/CA) to the Senate on July 2, 2019 will present details of the efficiency in public expenditure and the state of the financial outlook of the country. The report will focus on the financial status of various public ministries and other autonomous state institutions. The Senator from the Artibonite Department has hinted at the dismal and catastrophic conditions of public funded institutions. He cited some of the autonomous institutions such as OAVCT, ONA, OFNAC, FER, FNE and the public pension system as places where corruption has reigned over the years. Senator Latortue stressed the importance of the report in preparation for the national budget and hinted at the need to bring to justice those pointed out in the report as having something to do with the embezzlement of funds. He further stated that his committee is working on submitting a recommendation on the second report by the CSC/CA on the PetroCaribe scandal to the entire senate body hoping they will act on the recommendations. This has created an atmosphere of panic where senators are under threat, and many have already left the country a, fearing for their lives.
President Jovenel Moïse, in response to a question posed at an interview stated that the solution to the problems facing the nation will not be solved by the departure of the President because the problems are more systemic and not the purview of one man. These statements were made to BBC Mundo published on June 27, 2019, despite the repeated protests and demonstrations calling for his resignation. According the current President, there have been numerous presidents and prime ministers, and yet we are still where we were, which means we are not identifying the problem correctly. As a point of illustration, he spoke about the last 33 years in which there have been 15 presidents, 22 Prime Ministers, numerous cabinet ministers and transition governments yet there has been no significant change in the conditions of the people in particular and the nation at large. For the President, talking about the system means encouraging all Haitians to come together to build the nation because they cannot build the nation that they want in an atmosphere of division and distrust. Recognizing that his government cannot do things alone, he calls on all actors to come together because the ills facing the nation can be addressed in unity, serenity, calm and coexistence. He recognized also that the country is going through a crisis and he is listening to the complaints on the street, aware of the 3 million plus Haitians who are living in poverty, the serious insecurity that is encompassing the nation, all these issues call for transparency in public administration. The President also spoke on other issues, particularly his implication, or the implication of the company he once headed, Agritans, in the PetroCaribe embezzlement report. He denied any involvement in the scandal because there has not been any resolutions signed during the two years of his administration, when he came to power in 2017, with the last resolution on the PetroCaribe funds dating to 2016. Furthermore, he agreed that his company, Agritrans, did have a legal and legitimate contract with the Haitian state, signed by the courts, where the company paved a 3km road, and the contract has been 85% complete and 35% of the funds paid to the company, and once elected President, he resigned from the company.
Elsewhere, another organization is proposing its conditions for a transitional government, after they would have removed President Jovenel Moïse from office. The organization, Nou p ap dòmi which was created following the PetroCaribe Challenge, made public its vision for a new Haiti in a document provided to the media in which they call for a total rupture with the bad political, social and economic practices of the past. Any transitional government must break away with the anti-people, anti-democratic and anti-republican politics of the past and instead establish guidelines that prevent any interference in the internal affairs of the country by foreign countries and interests. Other demands being made include judicial independence across the country, the institution of democratic and republican values within state institutions while ensuring parity with women in public institutions and encouraging youth to participate in the political life of the country. The group further argues for a new economic reorientation in which the country’s wealth is redistributed, while goods and services are accessible to the population. They also recommend facilitating investment for job creation at the same time emphasizing the need for discipline in government spending and management.
Meanwhile, the city of Gonaïves, which is one of the cleanest cities across the country is suffering from a sanitation problem. The streets, working class neighborhoods and downtown have all been littered with garbage which is threatening to create a health hazard in the city that once boasted of such Mayors as Joachim Stepehn Moïse/Topa, who after Hurricane Jeanne, made refuse collection and cleaning the public place his signature legacy, copied by all succeeding mayors until the current band of leaders. Strangely, people in the city go on about their daily duties without much attention to the sanitary conditions that turned refuse into a carpet on which they walk in the public place, or the gutters in which water no longer flows. The recurring protests have made it difficult for the public sector to function hence the accumulation of refuse, which is also used to block the streets and roads in the city, to the point that in certain areas, residents have taken to burning their garbage in the open, creating further environmental pollution.
The national library is observing a 3-day strike to bring attention to the deplorable working conditions under which they are currently functioning, according to a letter addressed to the Director of the establishment, Ms. Franceline Robas, last month. The move for the work stoppage is to force the institution to address the workers grievances which include better working conditions, changes at the administration level, including human resources, and the coordination of libraries annexes; and the restructuring of the library system by adopting an organization chart that is adapted to the functioning of the institution, the adoption of a special status for professional staff who are not being properly paid, and the appreciation of internal staff’s experience and qualification.
Finally, more than 80 Haitian have been deported from Mexico, while some 35 others without papers are also awaiting deportation, following skirmishes at the Tapachula airport where the security forces were executing the deportation order. The Grenadiers, who are making us proud by knocking out Canada in the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarter finals (3-2) are poised to face Mexico in the semi-final that promises to be a clash of titans, with the Grenadier’s first ever chance to hoist the cup. This victory, coming at the time the country is facing multiple problems can only be a relief from interminable bad news, and a breather of fresh air!