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The security situation in the country does not seem to be getting any better and is in fact becoming an epidemic all unto itself. It appears the financial gains by the gangs have been so lucrative that there’s no indication that things may get better for ordinary people anytime soon. Dozens of heavily armed gangsters have taken to the main thoroughfare, the National 2 in Martissant 2, 4 and 23 to force passengers in public transports that ply the route to pay ransom before allowing them to continue their journey. Those who use this road are now at their wit’s end, because they have no choice and do not know how to extricate themselves from the daily harassment and abuse from these heavily armed gangs that seem increasingly bold and comfortable in their menace to the society. As these operations were going on in the early hours of Monday, May 09, 2022, there seem to be no police presence in the area. At the same time, the interim police commissioner was getting ready to give a report on his half year tenure at the head of the security apparatus.

At a press conference to report on his achievements and plans for the future, the interim police chief, Frantz Elbé stated his intention to strengthen the security approach in such areas as Cul-de-Sac and other hot beds of insecurity in the country, to prevent further insecurity in those areas. Mr. Elbe stated that the PNH will be more present in such areas and will present more effective opposition to the gangs and regain full control of the neighborhoods currently under gangs’ control. The police announced that during the armed clashes between rival gangs, 400 Mawozo and Chen mechan on Sunday, April 24, 2022, 54 people were arrested, 16 weapons and 7 vehicles as well as a number of motorcycles were confiscated during operations carried out in the Plaine du Cul-de-Sac neighborhood. Several bandits were killed and three police officers were injured. In addition, Commissioner Elbe is said to be delighted by unifying the high command with the PNH, an institution that was previously rocked by protest movements for the creation of unions, as well as the formation of the group known as Fantom 509. Mr. Elbe thanked the public their cooperation and patience as the police address the security concerns, while stressing that the PNH will not be beholden to any political group, nor any sector in the country but will only be there to serve the population.

Meanwhile, a UNICEF report on the severity of the security situation in the country indicated that at least 75 people, including women and children were killed and 68 others wounded during the clash between rival gangs in Croix-des-Bouquets and Tabarre and Cite Soleil. The report further stated that at least 12 homes have been deliberately set on fire, burning at least five people alive in Cite Soleil. The international body is said to be concerned about the security and human rights issues in the country, especially in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area.  At least 9000 people have been forced to leave their homes and seek shelter in churches and schools or with families willing to take them in or practically leaving for other departments across the country. While condemning the closure of dozens of schools and health care facilities, the UN also highlighted the food scarcity and water in the affected areas.  In fact, 1,700 schools have been closed in the metropolitan area.

In an article that appeared on yahoo.com, former senator John Joel Joseph who was suspected in the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and attended a key meeting with Colombian commandos on July 6, the day before the assassination, was charged in US courts. He was first detained in Jamaica before being brought to Miami Friday. Mr. Joseph admitted in an interview that he helped obtain vehicles and tried to get firearms for the co-conspirators’ “operation” targeting Jovenel. Mr. Joseph’s goal was to become the prime minister under Moïse’s successor following the leader’s removal from office. Mr. Joseph’s admission collaborates with that of a Haitian police investigation that placed him at a meeting with one of the four men police claim had gained access to the president’s private bedroom as part of “a delta team.” Haitian police also identified a known gang leader as among the people Joseph had contact with before the assassination.

On Monday, Joseph agreed to be detained before trial in Miami federal court, telling a magistrate judge the case was “very sensitive” and that “I trust the American justice system.”

Dela Harlley

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