CARICOM calls for political parties to act “responsibly” in Haiti

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, CMC – The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping, of which Haiti is a member, has called on all political stakeholders in the French-speaking Caribbean Community country to “act responsibly” following deadly demonstrations aimed at forcing President Jovenel Moise of out office.

In a brief statement, the 15-member grouping said it is ‘deeply concerned about the present unsettled situation in …Haiti” adding ‘this has been brought about by the long delay in having a new government installed which, in turn, has deprived the administration of much needed resources promised by its international financial and development partners.

“CARICOM calls for all parties to act responsibly.  The resolution of differences is best achieved in an atmosphere of calm and serenity, through respect for constitutional and legislative procedures, law and order, and due process in an environment conducive to open and civil discourse,” it said in the statement.“The grave deterioration in citizen security and renewed mass demonstrations have once again resulted in violence, loss of life and the destruction of property, which is a cause for concern,” CARICOM said.

CARICOM and Cuban foreign ministers, who met here on Friday, also issued a statement in which they reaffirmed “our solidarity with the Republic of Haiti, for which we feel a historic debt of gratitude, and a commitment to continue fostering cooperation with that nation, in accordance with the priorities defined by its government and in full respect of its sovereignty”.

Moise himself has said that he not allow “anyone to put chaos and disorder in the country under any pretext,” as he defended himself against the report that found that significant shortcomings have been associated with the planning and implementation of development programmes and projects funded by the PetroCaribe Fund.

The opposition parties have stepped up their calls for Moise to stepd down in the wake of a damming report by the Superior Court of Accounts and Administrative Litigation (CSA/CA) into programmes and projects funded by the PetroCaribe, an oil alliance of many Caribbean states with Venezuela to purchase oil on conditions of preferential payment.

Earlier this week, the state filed a complaint with the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Port-au-Prince against those persons implicated in the PetroCaribe scandal, based on the report of the CSA/CA.

The CSC/CA audit found that significant shortcomings have been associated with the planning and implementation of development programmes and projects funded by the PetroCaribe Fund during the administration of former president Michel Martelly.

The Court made it clear that, overall, relevant documents were missing in most of the projects and contracts reviewed and as a result it was impossible to conduct a comprehensive audit of several projects.

For example, the 610 page report found that in 2014, for the same project to rehabilitate the Borgne – Petit Bourg de Borgne road section, the State signed two identical contracts worth more than 39 million Gourdes (One Gourde=US$0.01 cents) with two separate companies.

Moise, before he came to power in 2017, headed a company which received more than 33 million Gourdes to do the road work, though the company in principle did nothing but grow bananas.

Moïse said when he was running the company he was neither president, a government employee nor a presidential candidate..

The company in a statement earlier this week reacted to the report pointing to errors and requested that the authorities “make the necessary corrections in order to dispel any doubts and misinterpretations that could harm the image of the company”.

The company, AGRITRANS SA, said that it also wanted to note “that the contract for this project, signed on October 15, 2014, was regularly obtained, seen and approved by the CSC/CA after submission of the technical file prepared by the Civil Engineering Unit of the company and all other related documents.

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