Mario Andresol Needs To Act With Boldness

Mario Andresol, the Haitian Police Chief

This nonsense about a component of the Haitian National Police going on strike because some of their peers got shot dead, for the most part in the line of duty, needs to be stopped rigorously.

This is not the way to proceed. As part of their training at the Police Academy, I am certain they were made aware of the guidelines that underscore how complaints and grievances must be properly channeled through up to their commanding officers.

This cancer needs to be radiated at its gestation to prevent it from becoming a gangrenous precedent for the good functioning of the institution.

What these police officers are doing is like déjà vu all over again to me. That is the same nonsense we had to deal with back then –on the last days in the life of the Haitian military –with the foolishness about the “ti sòldas” protesting against their commanding officers. This is plain ridiculousness at its best.

Like the military, the institution of the police is apolitical, meaning it stays away from the political chatters taking place in its surroundings.

In 2006, I could not fathom to witness an installation of the United States Army going on strike demanding the resignation of G. W. Bush, their Commander in chief, for having “wrongly” committed troops in Iraq, having caused the lives of thousands of their comrades. That would have not happened. The day you see such foolishness happens in this country, you must make it your hint that America is definitely going down.

This is not the way the military/police force operates. These folks very well know that, why are they doing what they are doing? Why does it have to be in Haiti for such foolishness to take place?

I am urging the Police Chief, Mario Andresol, to open an investigation immediately to find out who these police officers are; they must be dealt with according to the prescriptions in the institution’s internal code of conduct. This is unacceptable. As far as I am concerned, they need to be kicked out of the force; they need to be made an example out of, so that such misbehavior never has to reproduce itself.


MINUSTAH peacekeepers

This United Nations Mission for the Stabilization of Haiti (MINUSTAH in French) has been established on June 01, 2004 by Security Council resolution 1542 -as a result of the fallout that followed the ousting of President Aristide.

The presence of this institution of the United Nations has been the object of many fulminating criticisms. Actions of certain members of the mission have infuriated people from many sectors in the population. Some see it as an occupation force that must leave the country by any means necessary and as soon as possible.

I think it is very unfair and dishonest to refer to MINUSTAH as an occupation force, for they did not come to soil the land of Dessalines, Christophe and Petion on their own; the Haitian government had requested it with the intent to stabilize the country after the ousting of former President Jean Bertrand Aristide in 2004. How can you call someone an occupier when that person is in your house upon your invitation? That does not make any sense whatsoever to me.

MINUSTAH, as a force, should not be discredited for the actions of some of its members, for those actions, I presume, do not reflect any of the institution’s policies. In any great and respectable human institution (military, business, philanthropic, academic, etc…), you will always find overzealous and corrupted personnel. But the actions of these people should not be used as a litmus test to totally disqualify or dismiss the establishment as a whole. When members of an institution violate the organization’s internal policies, disciplinary actions must be taken against them to address their violations. But to call for the complete eradication of the institution because of that is, in my opinion, illogical.

MINUSTAH must eventually leave because, in my humble opinion, it is an aberration to have a sovereign nation such as ours being under the tutelage of an international force –humanitarian or otherwise. That is an argument all of us Haitians can agree upon. We should have not gotten ourselves in this predicament in the first place. We Haitians put ourselves in it and now we are raising hell.

I am for the withdrawal of all MINUSTAH personnel, but that redeployment must be carefully studied, crafted and implemented. If anything, we must adopt a “step-by-step” approach to that, meaning we will die down the troop levels as we go.

The Martelly administration must immediately sit down with the United Nations Security Council to recalibrate and redefine the mission of MINUSTAH. We have work on the ground they can do. They can help to remove the tones of rubbles, plant trees and police our forest space to prevent further deforestation.

I reject the idea that MINUSTAH must leave now. President Martelly, being the man in charge of the security of the country, must not give in to the pressure coming from certain segments of the population protesting to ask MINUSTAH to leave -without any sort of structural preparation in place. That is very irresponsible on their part.

If MINUSTAH leaves now, there will be a security vacuum which will further destabilize the country. We must not let our emotions get the best of us. We must get it right so that we do not regret having taken the step later.

The Haitian government needs to lobby the international community for technical and financial assistance to accomplish three major things:

a)      double the size of the national police force;

b)      build from scratch a battalion/group of 500 – 1000 well trained and equipped professional special forces;

c)       institute a national intelligence agency

This national security structure, whose mission will be to stabilize and secure the country, can be put in place and fully operational in about 12 or 18 months -if we have the means and are really serious about it.

We do not need a big military like the ineffective one we had back then, which former President Aristide has deactivated and now the Martelly administration wants to emulate. We need a smaller, lighter, faster and smarter force –the model of all the modern militaries around the globe.

The mission of that small contingent of military personnel will be to back up the police force whenever necessary to secure the territory, which may include dismantling all the terrorist cells currently operating on the ground. With this level of coordinated action, capturing dead or alive these terrorists terrorizing the population will be just a piece of cake.

The professional intelligence agency will serve as eyes and ears of the police force. They will infiltrate the terrorist cells to get sensitive and highly classified intel on their locations, tactics, their next value targets, etc… These leads, once collected, will be sent to the rear, to the police, for treatment so they could mount their preemptive strategy to stop the terrorists before they carry on their mission.

Eventually, we will have to either close the Interior Ministry or change its focus. That ministry must be the center of coordination of the operations of the three independent institutions: the police, the small military and the intelligence agency. The head of that ministry must be someone with national security expertise and experience. He or she will be the president’s czar on issues pertaining to national security.

The constant babblings amongst us on the issue whether or not Haiti should have its own military really intrigues me. We need the return of the Haitian military by any necessary means.

It is a priority to secure the country. Nothing can be done without a secure Haiti. Secure nations appeal to investments (local and foreign), a necessary ingredient for economic development. Regardless how well-intentioned President Martelly can be, if he cannot arrive at securing the territory, he will not be able to do anything to better the lives of the majority poor.

Finally, these people speaking against the idea of equipping the country with a military force probably know nothing about the military. They probably have never served a day in their lives, yet, all of a sudden, they are all experts in military affairs. I am for a systematic and coordinated redeployment of MINUSTAH by using a step-by-step approach. Such redeployment should not go on until we have the structure in place to replace the mission when they leave. We need to stop the outsourcing of the country’s security. So we must prepare the nation to take charge of its own security. To achieve that, we must double the size of the police, put in place a small brigade of well trained and equipped professional special forces and institute a national intelligence agency.


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.