Haiti Action Committee is honored to publish this statement issued by Fanmi Lavalas, the people’s party of Haiti, at the recent CARICOM forum held in Jamaica. The statement outlines in detail the steps that must be taken to ensure a genuine transition to democratic governance in Haiti. We urge you to read the statement carefully and share it widely.   [Unofficial translation from French to English by Haiti Action Committee]

Déclaration au Forum de la CARICOM Jamaïque, 11-13 juin 2023

Bonjour à toutes et à tous! Ladies and Gentlemen, Good afternoon!
We thank CARICOM and especially His Excellency Mr. Philip Brave Davis, Premier Minister of BAHAMAS and Chairman of CARICOM, for this invitation to participate in this Forum on the urgent and unprecedented crisis that our country, Haiti, is going through with a view to finding possible solutions.

We also thank the Jamaican people, the Jamaican authorities, and His Excellency the Prime Minister Andrew Holness, for their hospitality. Special thanks also go to the Eminent Persons who will facilitate the process of dialogue during these three days.

We particularly greet our fellow Haitians present in this room and say to them that, despite our differences, we will necessarily have to gather around a table and to work on the search for a consensus with a view to finding ways out of the crisis, both through immediate actions and through a long-term orientation.

Our special thoughts go to the victims of the recent torrential rains that have hit Haiti, causing flooding in several areas of the country, as well as to those of the earthquake in Grande Anse. These disasters remind us of our vulnerability and increase the loss of life and extensive material damage which Haiti is subjected to every day.

As we will never cease to repeat, Fanmi Lavalas firmly believes that no sector, no single group can claim to have the solution to Haiti’s problems. The solution will have to be both Haitian and collective, because it concerns us all, Haitian women and men.

Haiti is sick. The persistence of this system of exclusion, social injustice, corruption, impunity and insecurity is at the heart of the problem that has plagued for decades the prospects for development and progress, culminating today in this hellish situation. Considering the gravity of this continuing crisis, the accelerated deterioration of living conditions of the population, and the specter of famine threatening our most vulnerable, Fanmi Lavalas Political Organization continues to encourage any initiative aimed at finding a way to address this crisis with a viable and definitive solution that is in line with the deep-seated aspirations of the Haitian people.

Let us now turn to the themes suggested by CARICOM for these discussions. The questions asked, however relevant they may be, should be prioritized by giving the burning problem of insecurity all the attention it deserves because the solution of this particular problem is the sine qua non condition for the success of any approach aimed at possible elections.

A.  –  What interim governance measures are needed to approach general elections to restore confidence in the transition and ensure that the government can keep its promises? This would include, of course, the question of security. Regarding Governance, the total disconnect between current governance and the demands of
the population are obvious. To produce sustainable results, any viable transition project must be decided collectively and be led by a credible team that has the trust of the Public. In a context where the National Assembly’s term has expired, where the mandate of the PM is contested and in which the amended 1987 Constitution is silent as to the possible solutions, it is necessary to have a consensus among all actors in the political, social and economic life to determine a course of action.

Our proposal for a transition, for a rupture, for a complete break with the status quo, has been presented since 2018. It consists of the implementation in its place of an executive of public safety which must respect and satisfy the priorities defined in a roadmap. This program would serve as the mandate/ terms of reference for the objectives and actions of the Transitional Government.

This transitional government of public safety will be composed of credible, competent personalities who share the vision of a new mode of governance and management of the economic and political environment. Another point of discussion to be addressed would be the establishment of a structure for control over the executive. This transition would require the active participation of local human resources as well as those of the diaspora, so that together, a long-term social project is developed for Haiti by Haitian women and men.

The interim government will have to show a spirit of inclusiveness, firmness, transparency and solidarity. The inclusion and participation of the population in the democratic process is paramount. In this regard, we can refer to the brilliant national education campaign that took place in the run-up to the 1987 constitutional referendum and the 1990 elections, with radio advertisements, printed materials (in French and Creole), community meetings, etc. and voter enthusiasm. Initiatives like these made even easier and accessible through social networks would not only meet information needs but would also help restore confidence and public trust. However, the mandatory prerequisite is SECURITY [PUBLIC SAFETY].

Security remains the fundamental issue that hinders all public and private initiatives. The credibility of the new transitional government will be judged largely by its political will to combat organized crime and punish all actors in this mafia sector while bringing peace to the neighborhoods reputed to have the most conflicts and freeing up major highways. Rampant crime in Haiti and impunity for criminals acting openly is the result as much of structural weaknesses as of laissez-faire at the highest level of the Haitian State, when it is not a symbiosis among businessmen, politicians and marginalized individuals used as henchmen. The country is compartmentalized into blocks that communicate only by air or sea bridges, the roads being impassable, because they are “under the rule of gangs.” It is therefore irresponsible, in a democratic process, to envisage elections without free movement of persons and without maintaining as a prerequisite the return to a certain normality in terms of security and serenity of social and political life.

Insecurity is a major problem that has adverse consequences for all components of political, economic and social life in Haiti. This social plague of insecurity causes, among other things, food insecurity, population displacement, deficiencies in the education of our children and the vocational training of our young people, and lack of access to basic services, including medical care. This climate of terror is directly linked to the slowdown in economic activities and investment, and is responsible for increasing unemployment and deepening poverty.

It is clear that the PNH is outdated, undersized and poorly equipped. Also, the PNH will need international cooperation to support the professionalization of the Police, the training of members of specialized units and the supply of materials and specialized equipment.

It is therefore a challenge whose dimensions are still poorly understood that will not be easy to meet. Participation of the population in a movement of national service will be essential to any search for a solution to the problem of insecurity. To conclude, security is essential for us to be able to go to elections and return to the path of democracy.

How to achieve credible general elections to choose a legitimate government that is representative of the Haitian people? We must first recognize the historical and current responsibility of certain countries for the Haitian electoral disaster since 2010, and then shift the paradigm. The Haitian people demand that every vote be counted and respected and that they should be free to choose their representatives through free elections, honest and democratic, without international interference.
To do this, we need to:
• Restore security throughout the national territory
• Install the new government of public safety through a process of consultations
• Rebuild trust between the population and the State
• Revise the electoral system
• Revise the Law on Political Parties
• Facilitate diaspora voting through the consulates.

What fundamental reforms are needed to ensure that the current crisis is not reproduced? Fundamental reforms that can ensure that the current crisis does not happen again start with the eradication of all the practices that led Haiti to this bankruptcy.
These will include:
• A constituent assembly and a new constitution establishing a presidential system, which refines and strengthens the mechanisms and institutions of decentralization, and which also strengthens the independence and effectiveness of financial regulatory bodies.
• Political, economic and social institutional reforms,
• Sound and effective management of the State
• A realistic and integrated development project with a long-term strategy defined by consensus.
• An adequate legislative framework that can support the new vision.
• The redefinition of new national priorities by giving priority to professions and various vocations and businesses essential to the achievement of our new objectives and by integrating in a harmonious way Haitians from abroad willing to participate in this national effort.
• Full participation of Haitian civil society to reinforce new economic and social practices in harmony with the set objectives.
• Strengthening the judicial system at all levels for an aggressive fight against impunity.

Dear compatriots, Dear friends of CARICOM
Haiti deserves a new system more in harmony with the dreams of our founding fathers, a new vision of the Republic focused on Justice, Transparency and Participation.
We must come together in agreement. “Unity Makes Us Strong!”

Thank you,
Dr. Maryse Narcisse
Coordinator of the Executive Committee
Fanmi Lavalas Political Organization