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Haiti’s newsreel

by Della Harley

May 18, 2020 marks the 217th anniversary of the Haitian flag, and Haiti Progrès is taking the opportunity to wish Happy Flag Day to the nation and to our compatriots, world over, who revere this national symbol of resistance and hope. During a televised speech to mark the occasion, President Jovenel Moïse lashed out at those who he termed “enemies of the people” who hide behind the hunger and misery of the people to create social instability from which they and their cronies benefit. Mr. Moïse was candid enough to recognize that the systemic corruption institutionalized by deputies from his own party is also part of the root causes of the instability and general malaise that threatens and weakens the nation. As is becoming all too common, the president alleged that these people are very cynical and pretend often to be the voice and defenders of the people while plundering and holding the country hostage, by doing all they can to control all state structures and institutions in order to avoid paying taxes, smuggling, tax evasion and other fiscal frauds. Furthermore, the president listed some of the projects his government has undertaken during his more than three(3) years in office, such as the nationwide electrification project, infrastructural projects such as road networks, dams and his agricultural project all the while reminding his detractors that the only way they will be able to wrestle power from him will be through the ballot box.

 

While the president was touting his accomplishments and plans for the future in a rather subdued ceremony in the National Palace, the democratic opposition called for a nationwide protest against the government, calling for the resignation of the President. Opposition groups accuse the current administration of mismanagement and embezzlement in the PetroCaribe scandal, where the final report by the courts mentioned the President’s name more than 20 times. The protests aim to demand that Mr. Moïse step down by February 7, 2021, to respect the constitutional mandate. The protesters assembled at such key places as Champs de Mars, Carrefour de l’aéroport in Delmas and the premises of the former St. John Bosco RC church. The protest march ended with the police arresting some of the militants and breaking up the crowd with tear gas especially in Delmas where some skirmishes and confrontation with the police were reported. The leader of the democratic and popular movement, Mouvement democratique et populaire, (MOPOD) Guy Numa was arrested, while protesters marched down some of the main streets in Port-au-Prince, including avenue Poupelard and avenue Martin Luther King, popularly known as Nazon, to denounce the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, information circulating on social media spoke to displeasure within the police force and to counter any work stoppage, the police headquarters suspended all leave requests from Sunday May 17, through Saturday May 23, 2020 except in cases of illness.

 

In other news, President Moïse expressed his satisfaction with the availability of all equipment and supplies purchased in the fight against Covid-19, calling on the health authorities to rigorously manage the equipment that must be used to help the population. For the equipment to be effective, it must be used by the competent health authorities to benefit the people. Mr. Moïse went to the Sonapi, where the equipment was stored to inspect them personally, and reported that 10% of the equipment will be distributed across the country by sea, to help and strengthen health facilities because they will be used beyond the fight against the corona virus. The President further announced the arrival of nine (9) oxygen generators to be installed in the nine (9) other departments, which will be an important step in improving the health system in the country because only the capital, Port-au-Prince is currently capable of providing oxygen for the entire country. He then paid homage to medical personnel who are on the frontlines for the battle against the corona virus.

 

Talking about the frontlines on the war on COvid-19, the L’Hopital Universitaire de Mirebalais (HUM), is the main center handling the Corona virus treatment in Haiti, with nine (9) patients currently on admission there. Since the onset of the pandemic, 32 people have been treated at the infectious diseases unit of the hospital, with 19 recovering fully, according to officials of the medical center. Hospital officials specified that recovering means the absence of the symptoms they exhibited when they were admitted and not a cure which can only be determined by testing. During a guided tour, journalists were able to see t security measures put in place to ensure the safety of the patients and prevent the virus to be spread through the air. The Secretary of State for Communication, Eddy Jackson Alexis, called on Haitians to avoid casing damage to health facilities devoted to the care for corona virus patients, failing to release the names of the centers where covid-19 patients are treated.

Finally, fans of the latest female sensation, Rutshelle Guillaume who were concerned about her absence on social media in the past few days can rest assured, their idol was not hospitalized due to Covid-19. With her absence on social media in recent days, rumors have been swirling around that she may have contracted corona virus. But in an open letter from her communications team, the artist was in the hospital for a procedure and has since been released after a successful operation and is currently recuperating at home.

Dela Harlley

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