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.


Presidential candidate Axan Abellard of KNDA

First, let me thank you, sir, for having left this video interview on my page on Facebook. At least, it gives me an idea as to where you stand on some of the key issues. You make sense in most of the things you said, but you left me a little perplexed for having not said a word with respect to the integration of the Diaspora in the development of the country and the reform of our system of justice. I understand the time allocated for this video interview may have not been a lot, but I think you missed a golden opportunity. How could you not be addressing these issues?

You talked about a program of job creation, and I think that is great. But how can you possibly think of any developmental plan without reaching out to the Diaspora, especially when we contribute over $2 Billion dollars a year to the country’s economy? We in the Diaspora have our own issues too, sir. We are tired of being economic contributors with no representation. We need to have a say in the internal politics of the country and have our own representation in Congress. And for all that to happen, the Haitian citizenship must be granted to us Haitians who happened to acquire the citizenship of our host countries.

In terms of the military, you are speaking my language -the return of the HAITIAN military to replace the MINUSTAH. I think that’s a must. You score some heavy points with that agenda item. To restore confidence in the foreign investors and the Haitian investors living in the DIASPORA, you have got to put the wave of insecurity under control. And so far, the UN troops currently occupying the country are not doing so. That was great to see you speaking in those terms.

You talked about a specialized intelligence agency to fight the corruptive practices in the public administration. I disagree wholeheartedly with you on that, sir. We don’t need another bureaucracy to fight corruption. We just have to enforce the law. By the way, don’t we have a Court Superieure des Comptes? It should be and it is the responsibility of that institution -to audit and investigate fraudulent practices in the public administration. Here in the US, we have an Inspector General (IG) inside almost every institution serving as watchdog to make sure things are being conducted according to the established internal rules, regulations and policies. So you don’t need another bureaucracy. We already have one. Let me tell you what we need. We need CAPITAL PUNISHMENT for these people. We need to be killing them. Once you prosecute and KILL five of them publicly, you will see if things will not be under control in a matter of weeks. I think you are a little too soft on this issue. I am for tough measures to fight corruption, especially in HAITI where it has become a CANCER. Well, again, I cannot blame you for your softness, for you are a politician running for office, meaning you have got to always be politically correct in your statements.

Well, though I disagree with your approach, unlike your rival Wilson Jeudy, at least you have a plan. That man plans on building a prison on the island of La gonave to jail the senators and other high government employees who are found guilty of stealing the people’s money. And the rationale behind that is that if the prison is destroyed and the prisoners are trying to escape, they will have the sharks in the sea waiting for them. That’s his plan to fight corruption. lol lol lol 😀 Excuse me, sir, if you see me laughing out so loud. This is the most ludicrous stuff I have ever heard in my life. lol lol lol lol lol 😀 I am sure you are now laughing too.

On the issue of taxation, I commend you for planning on working with our international friends to modernize our system at the General Bureau of Taxation (DGI) and train the staff there to make them more effective in their efforts to bring tax revenues into the country’s treasury. But I think it should be made a CRIME to not pay taxes in Haiti. Once we have the modernized system in place, we need to come up with laws to criminalize tax evasion. Then again, you cannot enforce something when you don’t have the system to do that. That would be foolish, would it not?

I see that you dodged the question on how to restore the authority of the state. You said: “Il faut moderniser l’etat” as though that is going to restore its authority. Yes, the computerization and modernization of our system is important, but I am not sure if it will restore the authority of the state.

I do agree with you on the necessity to strengthen the municipalities. The mayor in a city is the administrator, the president, the head of that city. If everything someone in the cities needs, it must be handled by somebody in Port-au-Prince, then what is the sense of having the local governments? Just have one central administration in Port-au-Prince and have everyone travel there for everything they want. Wait a minute!! Isn’t it the way it is now? What am I talking about? lol

Overall, it was a great interview. Many things you said I disagree with, but I do agree with you for the most part. Good luck, sir! You have a winning message. Just get out there and market it to see if the buyers will be interested in buying it.

P.S. Here are some issues –education, healthcare and agriculture -you slightly touched on but did not really get into details: 

  1. On the issue of public education, you only stated that 40% of our school age kids are not going to school. I would love to know what your plan is to remedy to this gruesome reality.
  2. Health care is a serious situation in Haiti. You mentioned that many pregnant women in labor in Haiti are being transported on the back of a horse to get to the nearest health care center, which, in many instances, is located tens of miles away. I am wondering what you have in your social agenda to fix this health care disparity issue.
  3. I did not hear you say anything about agriculture, a key component in our economy. Just let me know how important that is in your economic agenda. I hope it is somewhere to be found in your plan to reform our economy.