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Haiti’s newsreel

As of Monday June 8, 2020, there have been 3,538 confirmed cases of Covid-19 as 204 new cases and 3 deaths have been included in the official count, as reported by the Ministry of Public Health. There is a total of 54 deaths, and other statistical breakdowns show that there are more men contracting the corona virus than women (59.85 to 40.2%) with the Department of the West which included the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area recording two-thirds of the confirmed cases (2,852).  Within the capital area, the breakdown is as follows: Delmas (714 cases), Port-au-Prince (709 cases), Pétionville (483 cases), Tabarre (329 cases), Carrefour (233 cases) and Croix-des-Bouquets (211 cases). One of the people who are stressed over the current state of affairs is the police who see the pandemic as a hindrance and a present threat to their ability to conduct their duties diligently. Speaking under anonymity, some officers confided that the stress they are going through is related to the fact that some of their close colleagues have been diagnosed or died of the virus. With the headquarters and leaders not providing adequate PPEs or the support needed, the police are in constant fear of bringing the virus home to their loved ones. Some feared their superiors will not allow them the necessary time off to self-quarantine or seek medical attention when they feel the symptoms coming on, and where masks were provided, only two masks per officer was given and almost a month into it, they become unusable. Others conceded they have to buy their own hand sanitizers to use at work to the extent that motivating them to go into the streets has become a difficult task.

 

In other health news, the office of the ombudsman, L’Office de la protection de la citoyenne et du citoyen (OPC), condemns the fire that destroyed the building that houses the center for the study of Kaposi’s Sarcoma and AIDS related parasitic infections, Groupe haïtien d’étude du sarcome de Kaposi et des infections opportunistes (GHESKIO), located in Bicentenaire, destroying their electrical installation. The non-partisan national institution that fight’s for human rights in the country is calling on the government to reinforce security around healthcare facilities across the nation. The fire comes at a time when the center, – which plays a very important role in fighting HIV/AIDS in the country, – is struggling to deal with the new pandemic. The call for authorities to protect health facilities extends also to workers and patients alike, because just the other day, there was news alleging an individual who was burnt alive in his home in the Lamentin 52 neighborhood in Carrefour. The victim who lives alone was suspected of having Covid-19 even though no test was conducted to determine this rumor. Those who committed this atrocity were residents in the neighborhood who have heard that the man had flu-like symptoms.

 

In other news, the Jouthe government has adopted a new 198 billion gourdes budget, reflecting a 36 percent increase on the current revised 2017/2018 budget that is still being implemented. According to the Prime Minister, the new budget will make for efforts to be deployed for the fight against smuggling and tax evasion in order to achieve the laudable goals of stemming out corruption. In terms of corruption, the Prime Minister hopes to examine the public funds system and hopes that with collaboration from the central bank, BRH, the state will honor all its fiduciary commitments, and to jumpstart the economy, it is important to increase productivity, as this is the sure way to ensure that the gourde stays stable against the dollar. With regards to the foreign aid, especially aid from the World Bank, the Prime Minister promises that once the agreements have been finalized, the state will respect the terms of contract regarding good governance.

 

While on the topic of politics, the New England Human Rights Organization (NEHRO) has condemned the way President Jovenel Moïse is trying to force the Haitian people to prolong his mandate which is expected to expire on February 7, 2021. In a letter addressed to the Speaker of the US House of Representative, Nancy Pelosi, the organization stated that the President has instituted an autocratic government in the country, while at the same time, the US government is supporting such a regime with little respect for human rights, little to no support for its unpopular management of the state of affairs and the atrocities such as the crimes, arrests and persecution directed at political opponents. Most human rights organizations have expressed their consternation at the OAS Secretary General Luis Leonardo Almagro Lemes who stated that the President’s mandate ends one year later, February 7, 2022, when all indications to the contrary shows that the mandate actually ends in 2021.

 

Furthermore, the city of Gonaïves has been under a lot of security uncertainty for some weeks now, as crime has gained a foothold in the city, with the criminals going high tech, using unconventional methods. The scam works this way; victims are called usually at night with the bandit calling anonymously on their cell phone to inform them that there was a bounty on their head and for the victim to buy their freedom, or so they would not be killed, they are asked to pay a ransom in the form of say, three cartridges of ammunitions. A commissioner contacted at the Toussaint Louverture police station confirmed that this is just a scam and for people to report them to the police.

 

Finally, regarding the rape accusations launched against the head of the Haitian Federation of Football,

The interim President of the federation, Joseph Variéno Saint-Fleur, said the federation is cooperating with the world football federation, FIFA, in the investigation of the now demoted leader, Dr. Yves (Dadou) Jean-Bart, who has been sanctioned for 90 days.

 

This past Friday, the governor of the state of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, announced the appointment of the Haitian-American jurist, Fabiana Pierre-Louis to the highest court in the state of New Jersey, effectively making her the first black female and first Haitian American to hold the post.

Dela Harlley

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