I believe there have been sentiments of discord and strife between President-elect Martelly and former President Aristide. This is now the time for a cease fire to be called between the two men to reconcile the nation with itself. I am glad President-elect Martelly is taking the lead on the reconciliation mantra.
In an interview to La Press, published yesterday, Monday, April 18, 2011, President-elect Martelly, talking on the fate of the two former presidents -Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier and Jean Bertrand Aristide –said in French:
I would simply said that we will be able to eventually look at amnesty only if those who had been hurt in the past understand the necessity for the nation to reconcile with itself. Before we could get to that, we need to try to place ourselves in the victims’ shoes to understand them and respect their sentiments.
So we are not rushing into taking any decisions, though public opinion wants that I stand on the side of amnesty and clemency, a way to focus on the future, not the past. But we must always keep the past in our minds so that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past.
I think President-elect Martelly, in his effort to bring the country together, needs to be the bigger person to hand to the former president an olive branch; he needs to make peace with him.
Former President Aristide is a resourceful person whom President-elect Martelly could use in many capacities to help rebuild the country. We find strength only in unity, not in division and bickering.
The former priest’s rhetoric may have been too inflammatory during his tenure as president, but he could be a great asset to be put to good use if he is really honest about his ambition to serve the people and help move the country forward.
If his rhetoric and policies were being viewed as too far to the left, it was because he was in a position for whatever he said and did to matter much. He is not in that position anymore, President-elect Martelly is. In other words, Martelly is the coach to call the play now, not Aristide.
President-elect Martelly must not let these vultures, those who have never acted in the best interest of Haiti, dictate him who amongst us he should befriend and who he should ostracize. He is now the president of every single Haitian; therefore, he must act in such manner.
Now that he is elected president, in his post-election consultations, he should ask to meet with all the former presidents currently living in Haiti, including former President Aristide. That should take place prior to his inauguration ceremony, which all of them will be invited to attend.
It would be preposterous to think that a man in the caliber of Aristide could be pushed to the side. He can still be useful to Haiti so long as he is willing to play by the rules.
While I am for reconciliation between the two men, only for the sake of bringing all the sons and daughters of Haiti together to do what needs to get done, I am also urging President-elect Martelly to not be naive and let Aristide loose; he needs to be kept on check. I am sure Mr. Martelly will keep him in a tight and short leash. So I am not going to even worry about him acting up.