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Peasants, drivers and displaced people express their opinions on the presidential council

  • May 2, 2024
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“I have no hope in this advice. Everyone is trying to get their share of the pie. And given their personal agenda, they will not even think about the situation in the country,” Camilus Flaubert, a farmer in Dessalines, told AyiboPost.

Read this piece in English

The controversies surrounding the Presidential Council are of little concern to Beauzile Yvenat.

In Delmas 83, the “madan Sara” is selling this Wednesday 1is May green vegetables, a few overripe bananas and other tubers stored under a worn umbrella.

“If the State wanted to help us, we would not be at this stage today,” declares Yvenat who affirms, with a disdainful look, not to be aware of the installation of the Presidential Council last Thursday.

The mother of four children chased from her home by Canaan gangs in 2022 justifies her lack of interest with “an observation”: “politicians,” she says, “are content to fill their pockets and those of their families. »

Read also: Pictures | Pursued by gangs, victims expelled from state offices

The founder of the Fontaine de Cité Soleil hospital, Jose Ulysse, “expects nothing from the Presidential Council” either.

Less than a week after being sworn in, the grouping of nine political blocs already finds itself at the heart of a storm.

Four of its seven members with voting rights announced that they had chosen their president and the next Prime Minister, after the signing of an “indissoluble” agreement.

At least two other camps in the Council also with voting rights are protesting these decisions “in violation”, according to their analysis, of a Political Agreement signed by the stakeholders on April 3, 2024.

“They start with trickery,” charges Ulysse, whose Fontaine hospital was closed for a week in November 2023 during a clash between two gangs in Cité Soleil.

“These are the same people who, for 25 to 30 years, have caused all the problems we have: how can they now provide solutions? “, asks Ulysse, former advisor to ex-presidents Jean Bertrand Aristide and Michel Joseph Martelly.

Read also: The selection of a council president and a prime minister divides

This question crosses the entire country. Because there is no shortage of emergencies.

Half the population finds itself food insecure. The gangs isolate Port-au-Prince, prevent the regular operation of the main airport, attack ports and prohibit the delivery of fuel.

An FADH soldier guarding the entrance to the airport as a prelude to the rumor regarding the potential arrival of PM Ariel. March 2024 |© Jean Feguens Regala/AyiboPost

Water is starting to run out. Dozens of hospitals have closed their doors, and stock in pharmacies is dwindling.

“I have no hope in this advice,” Camilus Flaubert, a farmer in Dessalines, a town in Bas-Artibonite defeated by Savien’s “Gran grif” gang, told AyiboPost.

“Everyone is trying to get their share of the pie,” continues the farmer. And given their personal agenda, they will not even think about the situation in the country.”

Flaubert, as well as hundreds of workers in the area, are going through a difficult period.

National road number one remains almost impassable. The public markets in his locality are functioning inadequately. The drought is making the farmer’s rice production of around nine hectares very deficit.

“This year is the most terrible,” declared Flaubert. “I am not yet assessing the losses. »

Read also: Artibonite: an agricultural area that has become the valley of crime

According to a source involved in the process, the Council is due to meet this Thursday.

Among the points under discussion is the need to return to the process outlined by the April 3 Agreement for the choice of the Prime Minister.

“These people who do not even respect the decree creating the Presidential Council will respect nothing, even when they sign other papers,” analyzes Me Samuel Madistin of the Je Klere Foundation. “The sharing of ministries and general directorates will generate corruption,” continues the human rights defender.

According to the agreement reached at the beginning of April between groups with often antagonistic alliances and interests, the head of government was to be appointed in consultation, on the basis of a list comprising a single name submitted by each of the sectors, not exceeding a total of fifteen applications.

After choosing Edgard Leblanc as president of the Council, the group of four also announced the selection of the former minister, Fritz Bélizaire, as the next head of government — without going through the April agreement process.

The so-called “indissoluble” arrangement found between the four president-advisors and made public on April 30 provides that three of them can decide for the block of four.

However, the April 3 agreement assigns one vote to each of the seven members entitled to vote. It is unclear whether a dissident member of the so-called “indissoluble” bloc can vote in certain cases with the rest of the Council.

Read also: Disagreements over the decree creating the Presidential Council

Outside of Port-au-Prince, these intrigues do not mobilize the population.

“I am no longer interested in the news, I am no longer interested in knowing what is happening,” confides from Jacmel Peterson Prévost, a former bus driver who operated the Port-au-Prince-Jacmel route for ten years.

The professional abandoned the transport sector in 2022, after being robbed by bandits on the road to Martissant.

Since then, he has retired to his hometown of Jacmel, where he works in local transportation to support his family.

Prévot no longer wants grandiose speeches and promises. Politicians, he says, will need “more than just words to regain my trust.”

The agreement of April 3 announces the arrival of a “Document on the organization and functioning of the Presidential Council”. This document has not yet been made public.

Thus, nothing says whether political parties and groups can replace their delegates during the transition.

The concrete tasks of the council president are not defined and questions persist about the need for members to submit the legal documents required in the decree establishing the council.

The divergent interests on vital issues such as the indictments in the assassination of Jovenel Moïse, as well as financial and blood crimes, suggest, according to observers, a fierce battle to come to constitute the ministerial cabinet of the transition.

The concrete tasks of the council president are not defined and questions persist about the need for members to submit the legal documents required in the decree establishing the council

Part of the population cautiously observes the unfolding of events.

“I’m going to see what they come up with. So I will know if it is worth going to vote when they have to hold the elections,” declares Althemany Clifford, a young man expelled from Carrefour-Feuilles by gangs at the end of last year.

Since then, the former language teacher has found refuge at the Fritz Pierre-Louis high school in downtown Port-au-Prince, then at the Ministry of Communication from March 8, 2024.

In this camp with his wife and son, Clifford no longer sleeps at night because of the conditions in the space which he describes as “miserable”.

Without resources, the small family places its future in the political process. “This is one last chance for us to get our lives back together,” Clifford told AyiboPost.

The supposed illegitimacy of the council remains a concern.

“To be sincere, I don’t trust Haitian politicians, even more so (when they) haven’t been elected through elections,” says Fredo Saint-Cyr, an electronics technician and computer science professor in Tiburon. , a commune in the southern department.

The father of two children, forced to “take out loans to pay his rent”, hopes for an outcome in the situation to facilitate an economic recovery.

Others, like Faustin, despair. Kidnapped in Croix-des-Bouquets in 2022 while trying to return home to Petite-Rivière de l’Artibonite, the former student of modern languages ​​at the École Normale Supérieure is watching for the next opportunity to leave Haiti.

“It will be difficult to tell my children about all these tragedies in case I live long enough to have them,” Faustin says.

Par Jerome Wendy Norestyl, Wethzer Piercin et Widlore Mérancourt

Cover image: A woman and her child arriving from Route 9. March 2024 | © Jean Feguens Regala/AyiboPost

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Jerome Wendy Norestyl