Last week was marred by unfortunate events threatening the stability of fragile steps the country has been taking to get out of what seem to be a perpetual state of flux. Early Monday morning, Parliament was rocked by an explosive device by unidentified assailants. The ensuing explosion shattered windows and left bullet holes in the building. Luckily there were no casualties, amid pending investigation by the judicial police, workers were not allowed in the perimeter of the legislative edifice. Various skirmishes resulted in injury to two journalists covering the event. According to reports, when judicial police came to the scene, they wanted to arrest the security guards on duty to take them in for questioning, but their colleagues formed a human chain to prevent the judicial police from arresting their colleagues. Meanwhile, the security guards attacked journalists covering the events, because they did not want them to record the confrontations. As a result, one journalist from Radio Télé Pacific, Frantz Cinéus was beaten while another one from Radio Télé Ginen, Bobslime Fontilus’ camera was damaged. In a press conference, the Senate President Joseph Lambert avoided addressing the issue directly stating that he does not want to make any statements until the facts are known, pending findings from the investigative authorities. On Wednesday, the speaker of the house of deputies and deputy from Delmas, Gary Bodeau, stated that ill-intentioned individuals planned to attack the parliament building and, though he did not provide details, he intimated that he addressed a letter to both the leaders of the national police and the judicial police warning them of the danger.
Meanwhile events in the border town of Belladère have left much to be desired. Commercial activities came to a standstill as a result of incursion into Haitian territory by Dominican forces, resulting in six Haitians injured, victimized by the Dominican forces. It all started on Saturday, August 18, 2018 when the Dominican Customs officials demanded duties from Dominican carriers going to Belladère from Elias Pinas, a requirement that was not readily accepted by the Haitian carriers, leading to an exchange of fire between Haitian civilians and Dominican soldiers. The injured were transported to hospitals in Mirebalais where they were treated. Meanwhile, the Dominican representative in Port-au-Prince was summoned by the outgoing Prime Minister, Guy Lafontant through his Minister of Foreign Affairs, to clarify the situation. In the meantime, President Jovenel Moise, who condemned the attacks and the incursion as an assault on Haitian sovereignty is calling for calm on all sides while local civil society groups are calling on the authorities to pressure the Dominican Authorities to pay reparations to the victims.
According to a former Minister of Haitians Living Abroad, Edwin Paraison, this territorial incursion is very serious and demands an equally strong response from the Haitian government. Despite Dominican authorities’ attempts to justify the incursion as an operation to stop smuggling, there is no justification for the assault. The Mayor of Belladères, Ledoux Macklish, speaking to reporters the next day confirms that the incidents were provoked by Haitian drivers and that the attack did not take place on Haitian soil as previously reported. In an interview granted to the newspaper, Le Nouvelliste, the mayor explained that the exchange of fire took place in the no-man’s land which is normally controlled by Dominican soldiers, an information that contrasts sharply with what the residents and the MP from the area, Guershon Guerar previously stated. The mayor contends that the Dominican drivers were willing to pay the duties and that it was the Haitian drivers who refused and were the ones to open fire on the soldiers, essentially confirming what the Dominican authorities had said.
On the infrastructure improvement initiatives of the caravan of change, road pavement work began in Jeremie, in the Grand Anse department. According to news coming from the national palace, residents of “Kafou Bak” in particular and the city of Jérémie in general expressed joy at the new project which will help in connecting the various towns and cities in the department. Financed through public funds, President Moïse asserts that these projects will go a long way to spur economic growth in these areas that hitherto have been deprived of good roads and transportation structures. After the nomination of his new prime minister; Jean Henry Céant, the president has been in the region during the past two weeks touting his economic development plan as well as his environment, energy and agricultural plans under his caravan of change program.
In another development, there is a push to increase the number of civil engineers and architects within the public sector. The office of Management and Human Resources, L’Office de Management et des Resources Humaines (OMRH) launched an appeal to recruit candidates for public service, to modernize the civil service system in the country, by looking to train and hire 100 civil engineers and architects into the system. The entry examination will take place in October 2018, with the application period starting on August 20, 2018 to 4:00pm September 21, 2018. Successful candidates will undergo training starting in January 2019 and must comply with all necessary requirements for the civil service status. Young, women and disabled persons are highly encouraged to apply. Candidacy requirements are: being of Haitian nationality and at least 35 years old, being civically engaged and of good moral character, with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering or architecture, or their foreign equivalents. The complete application package should include: a curriculum vitae, photocopy of their degree, photocopy of their Birth certificate or attestation, two (2) recent photographs, a recent medical certificate, a copy of their tax roll number, copy of their national identification card (CIN) and a judicial clearance of criminal record. Completed applications are to be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or directly to the offices of the human resources management, OMRH, at 14 rue Débussy, Turgeau, Port-au-Prince, or at the Ministry of Education offices in other departments during work hours.