mardi, juin 09, 2015


MIAMI, FL – In response to an article that I wrote last week entitled: LAURENT LAMOTHE: THE NEW OWNER OF L’ILE-A-VACHE, a very dear friend who lives in Port-au-Prince sent me an email unceremoniously requesting that I cease and desist all attacks on Mr. Lamothe, as if I were engaged in a fist fight with the Prime Minister. My friend noted and I quote: “… Laurent Lamothe spent three million dollars of his own money on the Martelly campaign, and you of all people should know that he has a right to recoup his money…”

This statement is not only vexing but it reveals why Haitian Government officials often treat their offices as a private business. In addition, the statement raises a very important question: Have we become so resigned to corruption that we expect our government officials to use their positions to enrich themselves at the expense of the poorest people in the western hemisphere?
A retrospective analysis of Haitian politics in the last thirty years supports the notion that thievery of the country’s assets is acceptable in Haiti. It is often said that “people gets the politicians they deserve.” But in the case of Haiti it is not only the people but Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) and the trio of usual suspects, the USA, France and Canada who often support and encourage the venal nature of Haitian politicians. In the last thirty years, Haiti have had four presidents, present administration included. Each president including the often venerated Jean Bertrand Aristide came to power with modest means and assets only to leave the presidency as a multi-millionaire. Aristide is reportedly worth eight hundred million dollars; his successor Rene Preval is worth a cool five hundred million dollars. Prime Minister Lamothe is following on their footsteps.
A Haitian president earns ten thousand US dollars a month, in addition to per diem ranging from then thousand dollars to thirty thousand dollars for each day the president or his prime minister is out of Port-A-Prince, not “Haiti” which explains why current government officials including Lamothe are often out of Port-au-Prince. How a former Haitian President can amaze such fortune from a poor country is beyond comprehension. This acceptable norm of corruption continues to bury Haiti deeper into the hole of under-development as each new administration not only pre-occupies itself with recouping monies that it had invested in its campaign, but ensuring its members leave office with as much money as their bank accounts, often a bottomless pit can sustain. Meanwhile, each year that passes finds the country plunged further into the abyss of unsustainable poverty.
Haitian politicians have an undeniable duty to make decisions on behalf of their constituents devoid of all personal conflict of interest. When a prime minister conspires to steal the land of the poor farmers that he swore under oath to protect it is not only criminal but egregious. Neither Laurent Lamothe nor President Martelly have the right to declare any part of Haiti “Zone of Public Utility” unless the land confiscated is for “public purposes.” The building of a hospital, a school, a park a government building are all examples of proper use of “Eminent Domain.” The tourist development project is a private venture between Lamothe’s company LBK and foreign investors. As such, landowners should have the ability to decide whether they want to sell their lands and at what price.
My friend noted further in his email: “Laurent Lamothe has some very good ideas though his execution is off a bit…” No one should fault a prime minister who tries for failing. He is not superman. However, there is no record of any identifiable project proposed by Mr. Lamothe for the benefit of Haitians. He promised the Haitian people electricity a-gogo, the availability of which has become more scarce since taking power; he promised Haitian people clean running water – but people are still dying from cholera, partly because of consumptions of unclean water; he promised them free education and free tuition – million of dollars have been collected from the Haitian Diaspora, but no one in the government has been able to explain where the Education fund has disappeared to. Meanwhile, in the last two years, Mr. Lamothe has worked diligently to ensure that he, his friends, his paramour, and girlfriends are well taken care of at the expense of the Haitian people.
The international community has deservedly and unreservedly dubbed Laurent Lamothe “the most corrupt prime minister in the history of Haiti.” In the corridors of the US Department of State, and inside the Primature, Lamothe is often referred to as “Mr. 15%”. Nevertheless, some political observers believe that Mr. Lamothe is heir apparent to President Martelly. Since “people gets the politicians they deserve” perhaps Haiti deserves a president like Mr. Lamothe. But I say NOT. Haitians deserve better. When President Martelly said “Corruption is legal in Haiti” he spoke the truth. Mr. Lamothe and his associates are operating within acceptable norm. Those poor farmers in L’ile-a-vache and the rest of Haiti will do better to remember that in 2016.
Today it is L’ile-a-vache, tomorrow it will be L’ile de LaGonave, the day after it may be the waterfronts of Port-au-Prince, and Cap-Haitian, or Jacmel, and by the time Lamothe is done, Haiti, the land of our ancestors will be owned by foreign corporate interest; and some of us with the wrong phenotype will be unwelcome. As for the Haitian Diaspora whose complacency is notable, time would tell if it ever could.

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