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The United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime (UNDOC) latest report indicates an increase on
the volume of crimes being committed in Haiti. The report released by the Geneva based
organization confirmed the findings of previous observers of the deteriorating conditions of
lawlessness faced by the nation. During the past few weeks there has been an uptick in the
smuggling of sophisticated weapons into the country by a network of criminals living in the
Diaspora, mainly from Florida. According to the 47-page report “Criminal Markets in Haiti:
Mapping Trends in Gun and Drug Trafficking,” the UNDOC warns that recent increase in arms
seizures alongside intelligence and law enforcement reports suggests that weapons trafficking is
on the rise amid growing lawlessness and inability of the security forces to stem the tide due to
lack of resources. The report further notes that a network of criminals which includes members
of the Haitian Diaspora typically acquire firearms from the US and smuggles them into Haiti
overland from the neighboring Dominican Republic or by air, using clandestine airstrips, but also
by sea. A chart provided by the agency notes that firearms generally come from Colorado,
Montana, Washington DC, North Carolina, and Georgia to Florida where they are then smuggled
either through Kingston, Jamaica, or the Dominican Republic, then through any of the border
towns such Dajabon, Belladère, Malpasse and Pedernales to major cities across the country.
Popular handguns that cost between $400 and $500 at federally licensed gun stores or private
gun fairs in the US can be resold for up to $10,000 in Haiti, with higher powered rifles, such as
AK47s, AR15s and Galils, being the preferred weapons of gang members.
According to Angela Me, Chief of the UNODC Research and Trend Analysis Branch, her
agency is determined to provide a rapid assessment of illicit firearms and drug trafficking to shed
light on the trafficking flows that enable the gangs and fuels further violence in a volatile and
desperate situation. The research will help inform responses and support the people in resisting
and avoiding this latest wave of violence. The UN Secretary General’s report of January 2023
revealed that gang-related violence has reached unprecedented levels, compounding the severity
of a cholera outbreak, increasing food insecurity, displacing thousands, and keeping children out
of school. At the same time, homicides, kidnappings, and displacements have risen across the
country which is suffering the worst human rights and humanitarian emergency in decades.
Authorities reported 2,183 homicides and 1,359 kidnappings in 2022 almost double the number
of cases for the previous year. As the UNODC assessment has shown, the country remains a
trans-shipment country for drugs – primarily cocaine – and cannabis entering via boat or plane at
public, private, and informal ports, as well as clandestine runways. The country’s porous borders
including 1,771 km of coastline and a 392-km land border with the Dominican Republic are
severely challenging the capacities of the under-resourced and under-staffed national police,
customs, border patrols and coast guard, who are themselves targeted by gangs. While the report
also provided an overview of international, regional, and national responses to date, it also
spotlights the need for comprehensive approaches that encompass investments in community
policing, criminal justice reform, and anti-corruption investigations.
Meanwhile, in line with the above findings, increasing cases of kidnappings has gotten way out
of control. The entire population is now a target; armed gangs are now kidnapping girls, boys,
children, adults, policemen and even senior state officials protected by bodyguards. Last Friday,
March 3, 2023, the former Secretary of State for Public Security, Frantz Sébastien Jean Charles,
and his daughter were kidnapped by heavily armed men in front of a school. Two days earlier, an
employee of the Archives Nationales d’Haïti, Jean Brunel Chermeil, was kidnapped in Bon

Repos. Another kidnapping took place in Fermathe, in the Kenscoff commune where according
to neighbors, former employee of the Ministry of Public Works, MTPTC, Eddy Joseph and his
wife were kidnapped in their home by heavily armed men. The gangs seem unfazed by the public
outcry and operate openly and freely with impunity. They are gaining territory and are more and
more organized, sometimes defeating even the most sophisticated plans devised by the security
forces, an example of which was the Operation Tornado, by the PNH which was a monumental
failure. The gangs have virtually shut down the educational system with very few schools
opening their doors to students and teachers who are under constant threat of being killed or
kidnapped. Meanwhile, the police have announced the arrest of noted gang members; Aristil
Enold and Jerry Firmin in Carrefour Fleurot, Tabarre, who have been suspected of carrying out
heinous crimes in the area.
Finally, the Customs and Excise headquarters in downtown Port-au-Prince, at the Bicentenaire,
not far from the Prime Minister’s office and the parliament has been the scene of vandalism and
pillage over the weekend.
The president of the transitional council, HCT, Mirlande Manigat on Monday met with a group
of signatories to the national consensus for an inclusive transition and transparent elections,
known as the December 12 accord, to discuss the delay in application of the said accord.
Interim PM Ariel Henry attended a swearing in ceremony for the eight (8) judges he appointed to
the country’s highest court, la Cour de Cassation today. The judges are. Marie Joceline Cazimir,
Ketsia Charles, Frantz Drice, Maguy Florestal, Anès J. Joazéus, Louiselme Joseph, Rameau
Patrick Métellus and Franzi Philémon. Mr Heny later on took to tweeter to say that ”It is in the
search for consensus, frank dialogue with all sectors of national life that we have managed to
find the formula to restore the functioning of the highest judicial body in the country today.”
Former Haitian Football Federation head, Yves Jean-Bart, announced last week that he is
returning to reclaim his position, after the lifetime ban from the sport over sexual abuse
allegations was overturned by the Court of Arbitration last month. Mr. Jean-Bart made the
announcement during a virtual press conference last week exactly one week from the date the
women national team beat Chile 2-1 to claim a historic spot on the Women’s World Cup in
Australia and New Zealand. Mr. Jean-Bart denied allegations by FIFA ethics committee, which
issued a lifetime ban after finding him guilty in 2020 of sexually abusing female players as
young as 14, keeping mistresses and preying upon girls from impoverished neighborhoods.
However, the court ruled that there were inconsistencies and inaccuracies in statements by the
alleged victims and information provided by such groups as Human Rights Watch and world
players union were not “sufficiently evidentiary”. Mr. Jean-Bar’s defiant announcement could
lead to a standoff with FIFA, which has already appointed an emergency management committee
to lead the FHF through November.
Dela Harlley

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