On Friday, June 18, 2010, at 02:52 AM (EST), on my Blackberry phone, I received this text message from CNN: “CNN Breaking news – Death row inmate Ronnie Lee Gardner was executed at 12:20 a.m. (MST) by a firing squad at Utah State Prison.”

Mr. Gardner, after being trialed for a crime he was accused of, was found guilty. And the only way for him to pay for that crime, according to the law in Utah, was for him to be executed by a firing squad. To that, everybody said justice has been served.

See, that’s in the United States, and most of us Haitians would accept it, and rightly so, as a matter of justice. Yet, if I were to propose media-covered death by fire or “Pe Lebren” in public for anyone found guilty of committing gruesome acts such as -the killing, kidnapping and raping of another citizen; committing treason against the republic of Haiti and/or stealing the people’s money -most of you here reading this would raise hell as though one way to die is inferior/superior or more/less civilized to another, without taking into account that death is death regardless the means by which it is inflicted.

We need to be burning alive these criminals for two main reasons:

  1. Budget wise, it does make sense. We don’t have the budgetary luxury to house these criminals and keep them alive. It costs us money to keep a criminal in jail. We cannot even find the money needed to spend in social projects to better the lives of our people, yet the little that we have, we want to spend it on caring for criminals having no business to be living.
  2. Psychologically speaking, it does make a lot of sense. Burning these people alive will discourage others, who may have been contemplating ways to carry out these shameful acts, from actually implementing them. That will get them to think twice about the consequences of their actions before they act.

Whether you call it death by fire or “Pe Lebren,” the end result, which is death, remains the same. So the issue, in my humble opinion, does not lie in the name used to identify the practice but, rather, what may come out of it.

We need to take the practice off the streets and place it in the hands of the judges in the courthouses to administer. In other words, we need to institutionalize it and work on the applicability and practicability of our system of justice.

The administration of justice should and must be made the sole responsibility of those officials recognized by the Constitution of the land to carry out. No one citizen should have the right to self-procure justice. Otherwise, unless acting upon self-defense, the individual must be addressed within the realm of our legal recommendations. Having said that, the only way we can prevent self-procurement of justice is by making sure that the citizens have faith and believe in our justice system. Otherwise, we can forget about it.

We cannot and must not let these criminals have their way and thereby turn our beloved Haiti into a crime state. We have to do whatever is in our human power to prevent that from happening.

To any drastic situation, we must always adopt drastic interventions. And death by fire is one of these drastic measures that must be implemented to turn things around in the country. On a long run, such measure will have a positive effect on maintaining a sense of order and security, which is paramount for the safeguard of our citizens, our sovereignty and our national security.

It is a national security issue when economically speaking we are vulnerable. And the only way we can counter that economic vulnerability is by maintaining political stability, protecting private investments, and instituting a culture of order and respect of the law, which will attract investments and keep them within our borders.

After all, death by fire or “Pe Lebren” could be a good thing to remove Haiti from the abyss she finds herself today. Crimes and political instability are two types of cancers that are destroying our nation. Therefore, we must do whatever we can to prevent them from getting to a point of no return or irreversibility. Our aim is not to have a crime-free Haiti, which, by any standard, is not a realistic goal; we only hope, rather, to see the country doing better, which will be beneficial to all of us Haitians.


  1. I do not agree for the simple reason that we have too much corruption and as we cld get rid of criminals like that we also can get the “bourgeois” that do want someone dead pay to have someone kill because it’s easy to put someone in jail in haiti. Death roll is a serious matter and it does work for a couple of places but not in a country so full of corruption and that its legal system is bs.

  2. Ok, I agree with you. I always thought that Haiti needs a “mokout” strategy to move forward, this would definitely helps.

    My concern is, who, how and when will the court decide that the person is guilty? Will they have a fair trial? Will we also use DNA testing as a result, rather than fully decide by words of mouth or so-called witness.

    Less than 3 yrs ago I went to Haiti and saw this gruesome act right up the hill of petion-ville; an individual claimed that this old man stole their “barrie” and stupiditly trying to sell it back to them. He was beaten by three man right there. Blood was running, folks were laughing and of course, commenting. I was in rage, rage the point that my host dragged me in the car and ran off. (Lmao, not funny, but the act was).

    Are we Haitian willing to creates job for those who are willing to work without no “aparans”; are the government willing to let go of all the crooks and create a working citizen nation for those living in haiti? I bet you, most of us who live the USA or a different country currently would wanr to go back to make a fresh living at home. I know I would!

    I don’t know man, very tricky. It’s already in place in Haiti, it’s just not been use properly.

  3. capital punishment is a MUST regardless of the fact that it would be abused with innocent victims…….
    but i see no point in choosing the lavalas barbaric pere lebrun..
    a public firing squad is enough

    • “capital punishment is a MUST… but i see no point in choosing the lavalas barbaric pere lebrun.. a public firing squad is enough”

      You are now politicizing the issue. You are for death penalty, not any kind of penalty. I see. And wouldn’t the end result be the same? Apparently, you are against it because you are not a Lavalas. And Lavalas did not come with Pe Lebren. At least if you are going to be against the practice, be honest, fair and objective in your opposition.

  4. u said it yourself….lavalas did not invent it…it was always barbaric….lavalass is ONLY the last people promoting it….that is all
    so where is the unfairness….???

    not everything lavalas meets meets my comdemnation or approuval

    some things are great and some are unacceptable

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