A newly formed group of former senators, government workers and former heads of institutions calling themselves la Solidarité pour la Démocratie et le Développement (SOLID) have joined with Renmen Ayiti to explore new ways to bring their expertise and notoriety in a process that would move the country out of the morass. The signatories agree that they are ready to take part in the various initiatives aimed at a peaceful resolution of the various crises in order to create a climate of social peace, political stability, and community, by working with those in power and in the opposition, so that Haiti can emerge from this chaos. Furthermore, the group calls on the international community for support be it technical and or financial but based on mutual respect. The global agreement, according to the signatories, is expected to tackle the problem of insecurity in the immediate short term because its effects are systemic as it prevents movement of people while sowing desperation, desolation and exasperation. Because of the security concerns, people are afraid to go out of their homes and as a consequence the food insecurity and lack of access to potable water ensues and brought on the resurgence of cholera. The immediate response will be to address the hampering of free movement of people and goods; the high cost of living including the constant devaluation of the gourde against the US dollar; and to organize inclusive and transparent elections within a reasonable timeframe for the renewal of political personnel and the return to institutional normality.
This new action by the SOLID group reinforces other initiatives aimed at finding a workable solution to what is looking intractable by the hour. Other groups such as PEN-Modifié, Groupe de Concertation Politique and Accord Unitaire d’Haïti have also taken steps to reach a compromise which, according to their spokesperson, former parliamentarian A. Rodon Bien-Aimé. Mr Bien-Aime further stated that several meetings have already been held and a declaratory document will be completed and signed by the end of this week and sent to Prime Minister Ariel Henry. Despite the various initiatives for an acceptable solution to the current political impasse, the Montana Accord Monitoring group sees things differently. In a letter signed by Ginette Chérubin, Pierre Wickens Cherismé, Marie Christine Stephenson, Jacques Ted Saint-Dic, Magali Comeau Denis and Ernst Mathurin, all members of the group, they contend that the paralysis of moving out of the crisis is part of a larger plan to justify the occupation of the country. Before the calls for compromise of the last few days, several meetings had taken place between Prime Minister Ariel Henry or his representatives and the Montana group or its representatives working towards an agreement to end the crisis.
In other news, most people have expressed their indignation and revulsion at the assassination of the Secretary General of the Rassemblement des Démocrates Nationaux Progressistes (RDNP) Éric Jean Baptiste and his driver on Friday, October 28,2022 in Laboule 12, a neighborhood considered calm compared to other hotspots in the capital. The horrific assassination of the one-time presidential candidate and his bodyguard has once again plunged the Haitian nation into turmoil, and the expressions of disgust and anger are palpable in the words by leaders of all persuasions. Prime Minister Ariel Henry wrote that his government “strongly condemn this heinous crime against this patriot, this moderate politician committed to change. Mr. Henri, on behalf of the government and the people of Haiti, expressed sincere condolences to the families of the victims, to the RDNP and to the political class, revolted by this heinous crime,”. Laboule, which has been usually peaceful residential area in the heights of Pétion-Ville, has for several months become a hotbed of insecurity with violent clashes between armed groups, one led by Carlo Petit-Homme, alias Ti Makak, and the other brought together by businessman Mosanto Petit (Toto). The two groups have run ins with gangs from Martissant and Carrefour and have slipped the grip of the national police.
Other notable personalities who condemned this gruesome assassination are Joseph Lambert, president of the Senate (albeit a senate one third of its normal capacity) who wrote that the heinous assassination of his friend is a blow to the Haitian political class. He concluded the nation has lost a true patriot, a big-hearted and sincere man who loves his country immensely. Others include the US Ambassador, the French Ambassador and the UN bureau, Le Bureau intégré des Nations Unies en Haiti (BINUH), They condemned the killing and that of six others in Juvenat, calling on the authorities to work to bring the perpetrators to justice. Others also called for investigations into the killing of the journalist at the hands of the police who fired tear gas into a crowd of demonstrators. As political parties put out their statements regarding this assassination they are all in agreement that his murder constitutes an attack on fundamental values, and it is imperative that the circumstances surrounding his death be clarified and that the perpetrators of this assassination be arrested and brought to justice. The same goes for the other serious crimes committed recently, in particular the murder of Gary Tess, journalist at Radio Lebon, in the city of Les Cayes on October 24 and the attempted murder of Roberson Alphonse, journalist with Le Nouvelliste, October 25, 2022.
Finally, an article in yahoo.com alerted that a broad coalition of civil society groups called on President Biden to stay away from the idea of a military intervention at a time when the country is still descending into further chaos. The group which included more than 90 civil society, faith-based, humanitarian, peacebuilding and diaspora groups ranging from the Washington Office for Latin America to the Chicago-based civil rights group Mi Villita Neighbors and the Quaker pro-peace lobby Friends Committee on National Legislation, asked the president to “reevaluate” his administration’s support for acting Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who has clung to power since July of 2021, even as conditions in Haiti have deteriorated. The group agrees that they recognize dire situation on the ground as the nation faces all these myriads of problems but the Biden Administration must listen to Haitian civil society, respect the fundamental rights of the Haitian people to shape Haitian solutions while reevaluating the US unconditional support for Prime Minister Ariel Henry, because this has removed any incentive for him to negotiate with opponents in good faith. And a deployment of a military force now will only perpetuate and strengthen Henry’s grasp on power, while doing little to ameliorate the root causes of the crises.