On a hill near Saint Marc stood an old man tired and exhausted from a long journey. He encountered a gaggle of children singing and rushing about. ” Why are you not in School ?” he asked with perplexity.
“Old man, there is no more school”, they said in unison “They would rather we become gangsters, that way we can work for them.”
“And who are they?” I asked pointedly.
“Us to know, you to find out”, they answered derisively, “They want to stay on top, so they need for us not to attend school, but to learn about AKs, ARs and 40 cal. This is our school”, they ran away laughing at my naivety.
In Haiti we were spared by Hurricane Dorian, but we are still in the eye of the political storm caused by the inept executive seconded by the greedy and corrupted legislators. Add to that a bevy of judges willing to sell their soul and grant victory to the highest bidder and you have all branches of government, Executive, Legislative and Judiciary working together to bring chaos and underdevelopment to the country. Starting with the President we have a situation where all Jovenel Moise cares about is getting his chosen Prime Minister approved as the country sinks into chaos because of the lack of gasoline and the overall poverty exacerbated by runaway inflation and rising prices. For more than two weeks people have been unable to find gasoline to replenish their vehicles. This in a country where there is no alternate transportation like the subway or reliable public transport. Most people rely on cars or motorcycles that use gasoline to get around. Many people survive by riding around in a motorcycle used as a taxi, ferrying people around for a small fee. With no way to get gasoline many people are grounded while on the black market you must pay twice the amount at the pump in Port-au-Prince and three times the amount or more in the Provinces. In Les Cayes, demonstrations have paralyzed the town for days because of frustrated people who cannot find gasoline. In Cap Haitien, motorcycles have blocked all entrances to the town to demand gasoline. Recently we have all been spectators on the net where we saw people fighting with plastic barrels, hitting each other with evil intentions, just because they want to get some gasoline. While all this is happening the President says nothing and the BMPAD, the institution in charge of getting gasoline from abroad to Haiti keeps lying about gas being available. This is a situation that requires an intervention by the president of the country, but nothing of substance has come out to pacify the population. In a time where President Jovenel Moise needs support from the population he is getting people upset and angry because of ineptitude.
Schools are scheduled to open this week in Haiti, but only a small minority of students from the well to do schools can expect to have normal activities. Most of the public schools either have not opened or have had very few students and teachers show up. Prices of school books have doubled from last year, and even with a subsidy that was late in coming most school children will not have books because parents cannot afford it. The Minister of Education has stated that all schools will open on September 9, but the majority of public schools did not get any funds to clean up, prepare the school year and buy furniture and supplies. All this while one dollar fifty is taken every time someone sends money to Haiti from abroad. This money was supposed to feed the FNE, the National Fund for Education, but I can safely say that most of that money is spent on other things while teachers still do not get paid. Some of it was probably used to pay Gary Bodeau, the president of the Chamber of Deputies, and all the other deputies in the majority supporting President Jovenel Moise to vote for the recently chosen Prime Minister, the third or fourth since Jovenel became president two years ago.
A new police chief has been chosen but insecurity still remains the no. 1 problem for people living in Port-au-Prince, Delmas, Carrefour and all the rest of the country. In Martissant, gangs reputedly associated with elected officials are in charge whenever they feel like coming down from their hideouts. They shoot and terrorize the population from Carrefour and the south of the country. Recently people had to wait until midnight or after before they were allowed to pass through Martissant to get home. Night life is at a standstill in Port-au-Prince while things are operating slowly in Petion-Ville as people are afraid to go out after dark. On most nights you hear gunshots ringing in the night with no rhyme or reason, while darkness rules the streets due to the lack of electricity. Most mornings there are a couple of bodies laying around waiting to be picked up. The press says very little about this save for a couple of news chroniclers on Kiskeya, Zenith FM, Tropic FM and Radio Timoun who bravely report how people are really living. In Artibonite the gang from Savien near Petite Riviere is still operating with a new boss. They are being challenged by a newly arrived deportee who is said to be armed and ready to clean up the department. In La Saline, after the recent massacre gangs are still fighting for control of the neighborhood right across the street from Parliament. All this as the police stands by helplessly watching the fight.
This week the Senate is supposed to vote for the New Prime Minister like the members of the Chamber of Deputies. In a shameful display of patronage, corruption and bribery members of the chamber of deputies voted dishonorably to approve the Prime Minister’s political agenda which they did not even bother reading. An excerpt copied upside down was provided for them to read before the vote but few bothered to look at it. Members of the opposition walked out and the deputies left who were paid voted to earn their keep. Gary Bodeau, the president of the Chamber did not allow anyone to dissent and in record time for such a seance the deputies voted to approve the PM’s political agenda. This was a shameful display of corruption and this legislature is finally over. They stole their post via a crooked and violent election and they shined in their corruption, gangsterism and avidity. Jovenel needs to have his chosen Prime Minister approved in the Senate now so that he prepare an election that will bring his partisans back in the legislature. He may encounter some trouble because in the senate he will face formidable opposition from a group of old and new opponents. With the defection of Senators Lambert and Jacinthe and the dogged denunciations from Senator Latortue the count is close, especially since he cannot count of Senators Senatus and Dumont who do not like the direction the country has taken. So it should be an interesting fight in the Senate this week. Stay tuned for an exciting session.
Let us also not forget that Senator Latortue has uncovered a new scandal when following dermalog he has brought attention to SOFIDAI, a company created by Jovenel Moise to allow his former associates from a company called Argitrans, which defrauded the country by taking money twice from Petro Caribe, a situation that was brought to light by the Court of Accounts and Administrative Contentious Affairs in a report published in July, to take money from the BRH, the central bank and use it for…. Stay tuned for my next post.