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The entire citizenry as well as the government continues to be preoccupied in addressing the current lack of security situation in the country and everyone is trying to put forth their ideas on how to tackle it. It was now the turn of former prime minister and one time head of the national police, Jean Michel Lapin, to wade in into the topic. In enumerating what he thinks will lead to a lasting solution, the former Prime Minister asserts that the current government doesn’t need a political agreement to restore security in the country but rather through the state security apparatus if, it is expected to be durable and permanent. The government must put the police and the army in a position to respond to their responsibility which is to guarantee the security of the people, while the leadership must reassure the population of their safety because this is vital for the successful functioning of the country. Leaders must come together to propose to the nation a public security plan with the police and the army as determining elements, and a social appeasement plan to reduce the social pressure on the police. Recalling his time as the head of the police, Mr. Lapin believes that the acquisition of equipment for the police must be undertaken with clear objectives and with a team of professionals within the police establishment that will properly train the users of such equipment. If the state is experiencing difficulties ordering equipment, it could be due to the history of state authorities with the international community. According to the former Prime Minister, the government has agreed on four points with the international community: where to buy the equipment, their date of arrival in the country, their presence at the reception of the equipment and their involvement in managing the distribution of equipment and materials. Moreover, the state most of the time does not respect its agreements, as evidenced by imported arms being that are routinely found in the hands of the wrong people, the consequences of which the country is facing now. The army, through their leader, General Jodel Lessage has confirmed that the army is always ready to support the police in any capacity needed as the police have become overwhelmed with the security issues and lack of equipment.

Meanwhile, representatives of the European Union (EU), in Haiti France, Germany and Spain have condemned acts of violence perpetrated on minors and women, including gang rape of teenagers and other acts of sexual violence within the Port-au-Prince metropolitan virtually controlled by the armed gangs. The EU representatives noted that these types of violence cause irreparable and irreversible harm to victims of such crimes and to the local community at large. Residents in these under siege communities are constantly terrorized by the gangs controlling their neighborhoods, thereby robbing them off of their dignity, and their fundamental freedoms. The diplomats call for an immediate cessation of these repugnant acts as well as the armed clashes, to allow people in these neighborhoods who happened to fall victim to this senseless violence to be able to receive emergency care and essential humanitarian assistance. The EU members further urged that Haitian authorities step up efforts to bring an immediate end to these unjustifiable human rights violations, and  also bring the perpetrators to justice.  The current UN mission in Haiti, BINUH, published its report yesterday on the wave of violence that took place between April 24th and May 16th this year, in the metropolitan area, in which rival gangs fought to control specific locations in Cité Soleil, to the North of the capital, and Croix-des-Bouquets and Tabarre in the Northeastern section of the capital. According to the report, in less than three (3) weeks, 94 people were killed, more than 120 wounded by gunshots and 12 who have been reported missing. Additionally, at least 96 gang members have been killed or wounded. Another report by the UN indicated that there were more than 470 people killed, wounded, or reported missing in Cité Soleil between Friday, July 8th and Sunday, July 17th. In Tabarre, residents in the areas of Torcel, Pernier and Eddy One have not been able to come back to their homes for more than a month now after gang violence by Vitelhomme Innocent and his group rampaged in the area effectively taking the whole neighborhood hostage. The group of Catholic Bishops of Haiti also presented a document with a 10-point declaration condemning the situation in the country following a suspicious fire at the transitional cathedral of Port-au-Prince this past Sunday.

In other news, the increasing cost of living is creating a situation in the country, where eating is soon becoming a luxury afforded only to a select few with means. For most of the people, the increasing prices are an immense burden thqat does not seem to be lessening any time soon. Despite the government’s promise to provide 3million gourdes in social appeasement program in May, there’s no evidence that any dent has been made in the plight of the people. According to Senator Louis Gérald Gilles, who’s also a signatory to the September 11 accord, and an ally of the regime, the policy is not producing any tangible results and calls on the government to address the pressing needs of the population more directly.

The transport workers union of the south has called for a 3-day strike to protest the increasing costs of basic materials and fuel shortages from August 1st through the 3rd. which was observed in Cayes, as the town virtually came to a standstill. Soaring food prices and volatility in the oil market due to the war in Ukraine and the increasing depreciation of the gourde against the US dollar, the leader of the Haitian petroleum sector, l’Association des professionnels du pétrole (APPE), Randolph Rameau, fears the likelihood of bankruptcies of oil companies and gas stations operating in the country. Intervening on a talk show on one of the local radio stations, Magik 9 (100.9 FM) the leader bemoaned the rarity of the dollar which is affecting their operations. They place orders based on the amount of dollars they have and have also maxed out on their credit and when creditors ask for payment. With the delay in government subsidies that are paid in gourdes, by the time they go to exchange the gourdes into dollars, there’s a significant decline in the value. He called on the government to sit down with the petroleum importers to come to an agreement to sustain the sector which is vital lifeline of the economy. Furthermore headed, if the war drags on, people must begin to expect shortages and price increases in the foreseeable future.

Dela Harlley

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