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#PetroCaribeChallenge

mismanagement and embezzlement of the PetroCaribe funds is showing no sign of dwindling
down, especially as a massive demonstration are planned across the country to press for justice in
the matter. Several Civil society groups have lent their support for the demonstrations. In a
communiqué made public on October 12, Dr. Stephen Michel, one of the organizers of the
movement called on Haitians to take to the streets on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 to denounce
the corruption that has infested the government. Senator Youri Latortue, Leader of the Ayiti an
Aksyon (AAA) party is encouraging people in Gonaïves to take to the streets as well. The
humanitarian organization Action Aid Haïti also lent their voice to the cause. Speaking to the
press, the spokesperson for the group, Elizabeth Richards said that those who have been
implicated in the report must be sanctioned and brought to justice, asked to pay restitution so that
the recovered funds can be used to undertake much needed development programs across the
country. Since January 2018, there have been over sixty lawsuits brought up before the
Prosecutor Ramoncite Accimé’s office.
On the other hand, the government, monitoring the organizing events on social media has said it
will take measures to ensure that demonstrations are peaceful and that there are no incidents on
the day of the demonstrations and through the week. According to the Secretary of State for
Security, Ronsard Saint-Cyr, the national police, PNH, will be deployed in great numbers to
provide a security cordon throughout the capital and across the nation. Their role is to assure the
safety of demonstrators and guide people pursuing legitimate activities in the streets. Police will
be stationed at key intersections every 300 meters so that if the event of an emergency, they can
easily deploy. While these measures are welcomed in certain segments of the society, others feel
these measures are unnecessary and excessive. According to the leader of UNIR, Clarens Renois,
the government’s approach is designed to intimidate and scare people away from showing up in
the streets when they should have rather taken the road of dialogue instead of the excessive show
of force. President Jovenel Moise’s visit to all the police stations across the capital in preparation
for the demonstrations does not send the right message to the people.
Furthermore, the mood in the country has been tense for sometimes as the scheduled day for
demonstrations approaches. Lawyers at the Port-au-Prince Bar Association and religious leaders
added their voice to the demonstrations with their own grievances as well. Activities at the courts
were crippled last week when the lawyers went on strike to call for the resignation of the
government’s prosecutor and the opening of judicial procedures against the Departmental police
chief who has been accused of beating the Officer of Oaths and several some lawyers. The
evangelical movement, led by the largest church in Haiti, the Shalom Tabernacle de Gloire, also
denounced the government’s attempts to shut them down for tax evasion reasons. Pastor André
Muscadin, calls the taxes levied on his church to the tune of 3million gourds as arbitrary and
unjust, stating that the tax authorities have already received a verdict form the Court of Appeals
to shut their church, two radio stations and a TV station as well as an online radio that transmits
across the country. The pastor called on people to join them in denouncing the government
during the massive planned demonstrations. Pastor André Muscadin , who is rumored to be close
to the PHTK tek kale party is getting support from some unlikely sources, in the person of the
main opposition leader and leader of Pitit Desalines, Moise Jean Charles, a support he gladly
welcomed. But the preacher has intimated that they are hoping a dialogue with government
officials will resolve the stalemate with the religious establishment. Meanwhile, the government
  • has decreed that no gun permits will be issued across the country until October 19, 2018. This
    decision is to ensure that there are no individuals armed during the demonstrations and only law
    enforcement officials can carry any type of weapons throughout the time. An appeal has also
    been made to private security guards to work closely with the national police so that here are not
    any issues in which firearms are involved in the public square.
    In bilateral cooperation, the Taiwanese Ambassador to Haiti, Hu Chengdu Hao, announced the
    beginning of a large electrification project courtesy of the Taiwanese Cooperation Agency,
    during an official ceremony commemorating the 107th Independence anniversary of Taiwan.
    While President Moise’s policy objectives are in line with energy production across the country,
    this cooperation will see Taiwanese engineers fanning the entire country, with the initial project
    focusing on providing transmission and distribution networks for electricity in the Port-au-Prince
    metropolitan area. The US Ambassador also inaugurated a new center for infectious diseases and
    urgent care. With funding from USAID and in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and
    population (MSPP) and the Fondation Saint-Boniface in Haiti, the new treatment center is 33-
    bed ultramodern facility with isolation wards where patients are treated, and the public is
    protected against infection such as cholera and tuberculosis. Since opening last month, the ward
    has treated over 5,000 patients. The new French Ambassador to Haiti, Jose Gomez on Monday
    visited the Techno Group Communications’ facilities where the newspaper Le National, and the
    Pacific TV and radio stations, where he took the opportunity to talk briefly on the over 180 years
    bilateral Relationship between the two countries. He spoke on his country’s interest in promoting
    education in Haiti and promised that France will need to increase their cooperation agreement
    especially in the areas of education and health. When asked about the maternity clinics planned
    for towns along the Dominican border, the Ambassador said to have no comment on the topic
    because of the fact that he is no longer the Ambassador in the Dominican Republic but stated
    that he recently inaugurated a maternity and infant care center in Savanette, a border town with
    the DR.
    The first ever Gede festival, GedeFest is planned from October 25, 2018 through November 3,
    2018. The festival will include conferences, concerts, workshops dances, a parade of rara bands,
    a visit to the Port-au-Prince cemetery, exhibits, demonstrations and tastings among others. The
    festival is planned for both Port-au-Prince and Jacmel, as well as honoring New Orleans, US,
    which is celebrating its 300 years centenary this year. The organizers hope to establish links with
    the US city which despite their geographic differences have a historical and cultural affinity,
    under the theme “Twin Sisters Reunited” where the festival will put on display art and culture of
    these two communities during the 10 days. The places that will be hosting the GedeFest are La
    Maison Dufort and FOKAL.
    Dela Harlley

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