Two of the expected five (5) cargo planes of medical supplies purchased by the Haitian government from China arrived at Toussaint Louverture International airport; the first one last week and the second one this Monday. The medical supplies are to be used in combating the spread of the covid 19 virus. Dr. Marie Gréta Roy Clément, Minister of Health, was on hand to receive the equipment, together with Dr. Lauré Adrien, General Manager at the MSPP. The inventory of supplies includes 75,000 personal protective equipment (PPEs), 25,000 medical gowns, 500 beds and 150,000 N95 masks. Government officials intend to distribute needed equipment and supplies to health facilities across the country. According to official sources, there were 27 new cases just Monday and 16 deaths in the country. The number of active cases (excluding deaths and discharges numbers) remains at 176, an increase of 17.3%, 166 people hospitalized and 807 in quarantine, while some 1,311 cases have been suspected and being monitored by the health ministry’s alert system. Effective May 11, 2020, it is compulsory for individuals to wear a mask in public spaces. This was announced by the Secretary of State for Communications; Eddy Jackson Alexis who further explained that despite the exponential growth of the cases of Covid-19 in the country, the government does not intend to tighten restrictions but rather encourage people to respect the current ones in place. As for the wearing of masks in public, the police have been authorized to give verbal warning to offenders for now. It is interesting to note that social distancing and wearing masks can be challenging to the people, and quite impractical.
In other news, unidentified armed men opened fire on the premises of the human rights network, Réseau national de défense des droits humains (RNDDH), Sunday night and during the curfew. Bullet holes were seen on the building’s main gate and a request has been made to the local Justice of peace to assess the damage. The attack was an attempt at intimidation and persecution of the organization by the suspected organizer of the attack, the anti-corruption group, l’Unité de lutte contre la corruption (ULCC). Because of a purported case of funds transfer to the organization in 2016. A surprising convocation has been issued against the Administrator of the human right organization, Marie Gesly Damas Jean-Pierre, which the network rejected as an act of cowardice, intimidation and persecution, because the human rights group has already addressed the issue of convocation with the Director of the ULCC, Rockefeller Vincent. At issue is the fact that on March 23, 2020, the anti-corruption group requested documents from the human rights organization in connection with an ongoing investigation related to funds received by the RNDDH on November 29, 2016, from the monetization and development assistance program, Bureau de monétisation et des programmes d’aide au développement (BMPAD). Furthermore, the financial reports relating to the grant were sent to the BMPAD on April 27, 2017 and subsequently transferred to the superior court of accounts and administrative litigation, la Cour supérieure des comptes et du contentieux administratif (CSCCA) on August 27, 2018, after the institutional and financial audits have been completed.
The human rights network has maintained that the BMPAD has partially funded the organization’s activities such as election observation in the past, and that the Director of the anti-corruption agency is using the institution (whose mission is to train the population on acts of corruption and to investigate corruption) for unspeakable ends. This is brought to light given the ULCC leader’s checkered past. As a former government Prosecutor on the court of first instance in Cap-Haïtien, he was implicated in a highly publicized prison release scandal in 2006, where major criminals who were accused of rape, murder and kidnappings and ransom demands were released. He was removed from the bench on September 21, 2017, for poor performance and reintegrated as Chief Commissioner at the court of appeals in Port-au-Prince before being named on January 23, 2020 to head the anti-corruption agency, replacing Claudy Gassant.
Elsewhere, the President of the football federation, FHF, Yves Jean-Bart has been summoned to appear before the civil court in Croix-des-Bouquets on Thursday, May 14, 2020 to answer accusations of rape and sexual assault of young female players as published by the British newspaper “The Guardian”. A special commission has been set up to study the accusations and build up a convincing evidence around these allegations, according to the Minister of Youth and Sports, who is said to be aware of the allegations in the newspaper and plan to take action. In a letter written on May 6, 2020, the organization, Kri fanm Ayiti and human rights lawyers called on the prosecutor’s office to open an investigation into the allegations and to proceed to prosecute the FHF head. Other groups such as Solidarite fanm ayisyèn and Kay Fanm have called on the government to pressure them to have Yves Jean-Bart step aside as leader of the federation while these accusations play out in the courts. Meanwhile, Yves Jean-Bart on the other hand, has claimed his innocence and proceeded to sue a number of the people involved in accusing him of rape. His lawyer Stanley Gaston said the suit is for defamation, injury and witness tampering.
Finally, a member of the revenue service, Direction générale des impôts (DGI), Maxo Sauveur, was mortally wounded when unidentified assailants on motorcycles shot him last Friday on rue Rivière in Port-au-Prince. There is a gradual up tick in crime in the country especially in the south of the capital Port-au-Prince.
About 23,500 Haitians Return from Dominican Rep Due to COVID-19
(TELESUR) May 10, 2020 – The group warned despite the closure of borders decreed by Haiti, the free movement of migrants between both countries continues.
Nearly 23,500 Haitians including 1,101 minors who lived in the Dominican Republic returned voluntarily to Haiti during April due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Support Group for Returnees and Refugees (GARR) informed Saturday.
The group warned despite the closure of borders decreed by Haiti, the free movement of migrants between both countries continues. Most of the crossings are made by alternative routes to the official ones, which are located at irregular points such as Malpasse, Belladère or Ouanaminthe.
As of Saturday, the French-speaking nation has reported 151 cases and 12 deaths from the coronavirus. While their neighbor to the east has reported over 9,882 cases and over 380 deaths.
GARR warned that Haitians who return to their nation are not subjected to the respective health protocols to determine if they are infected with the virus.
The United Nations is worried that the coronavirus crisis is likely to aggravate an extremely fragile political and socio-economic situation.
The United States-backed and widely despised government had closed Haiti’s border, ports, and airports to the movement of people last month. Since then, only a small number of tests have been administered, and there are rising fears that a health catastrophe will unfold over the coming months.
More than four million Haitians, almost a third of the island’s population, are in need of emergency food assistance, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) warned, highlighting that the COVID-19 crisis has worsened the situation.
Haiti – Security: The Group «Phantom 509» soon reported as a terrorist group to international
Monday at a press conference, Lucmane Délile, the Minister of Justice threatened to report the organization “Phantom 509” to embassies whose countries are actively fighting against terrorism, saying that far from being a simple threat of intimidation, this decision will not take time to materialize.
Mr. Délile doubts that these hooded and destructive and violent individuals wearing for the most part police uniforms belong to the National Police of Haiti as they claim, ensuring they hold documents relating to the identity of several of these individuals who claim to be carriers of police demands. Individuals who could find themselves unable to travel to Haiti’s friendly countries.
He recalled that for the Government, the action of the members of this organization is comparable to terrorism, urging the Haitian national police union to distance itself from the “Phantom 509” group.
He warned members of this Task Force who may be considering further action in the coming days that they “[…] will be hunted down like wild beasts.”
Recall that during their last demonstration on April 27, these individuals were responsible for significant damage, acts of vandalism, violence and threats to civil servants.
HL/ HaitiLibre, 12/05/2020
Justice: Arrest of «Chen Mechan»
Friday, May 8, in the commune of Camp-Perrin (Southern Department) the National Police of Haiti (PNH) in the presence of the Government Commissioner of Les Cayes, Me Ronald Richemond arrested Joseph Jean Denis aka “Chen Mechan” an important member in the hierarchy of the Gang of Village of God (Port-au-Prince).
He was placed in police custody at the Cayes Police Station before his surrender to the Central Directorate of the Judicial Police for the necessary follow-up.
In addition, Saturday May 9, in Torbeck during a police operation, the PNH apprehended 8 individuals who would be accomplice with armed members of the Gang of Village de Dieu.
PI/ iciHaiti, 11/05/2020
Cap-Haïtien: Fencing of the site of the Toussaint Louverture Square
The Municipal Authorities of Cap-Haïtien have closed the perimeter of Place Toussaint Louverture whose reconstruction work must begin shortly.
The merchants who occupied the space and the numerous streets of the city are asked, in advance, “to respect the protocol of relocation of the merchants which will be presented to them shortly, so as not to disturb the current process” specifies the municipal authorities recalling that “[…] brutality and violence cannot solve any problem in a lasting way, but understanding through dialogue has always done great miracles.
Aware of the situation, the Municipal Authorities of Cap-Haïtien hasten to provide a sustainable solution and renew their commitment to the Capoise Community.”
IH/ iciHaiti, 11/05/2020