There’s kick-off: Corruption officially integrated into the Moïse-Lafontant regime

 

 

 

There’s kick-off: Corruption officially integrated into the Moïse-Lafontant regime

 

U Under the first “Baldheaded” regime of Michel Martelly, the presidential family and allies had fully embraced corruption. But they strove to operate secretly. With Jovenel Moïse, trained in the school of corrupter Martelly, corruption is practiced openly. To wit, the presidential family’s involvement in marketing of petroleum products, a new chapter in the book of corruption at the highest level. Suddenly, it‘s an open conflict between the Government and fuel importers, exposing the shenanigans of Jovenel Moïse and First Lady Martine Joseph, advised as they are by Wilson Laleau, a former Finance Minister implicated in the sacking of the PetroCaribe Fund.

Now the Palace is competing with three companies legally authorized to import these products. Following in the footsteps of Michel Martelly and his wife Sophia, President Moïse and his wife Mar tine began to exploit state institutions for their own interests. For example, revenues derived from vehicle parking services and rental of luggage trolleys at the Toussaint Louverture International, Airport in Port-au-Prince, are turned over to the First Lady. In violation of the Constitu tion, the presidential couple invents various projects financed in total opacity with funds from the public coffer. In practice, only a small percentage of the disbursed funds are invested in the announced projects, while the bulk of the money is kept by the Presidential couple. Example: Under Martelly, less than 20% of the millions extracted from the Petro Cari be Fund went to finance the Pre si dent‘s so-called small projects, such as soccer stadiums and soup kitchens for the poor.

 

Jovenel Moïse has invented a new method to amass his millions. The Presidential couple has become im por ters of petroleum products. Through the official import regulating Office of Monetization and De ve lopment Assistance Programs (French acronym BMPAD), Haiti’s leading couple and Special Advisor Laleau have entered the fuel business. Legally, three petroleum products companies — Sol, DINASA and Total — are authorized to import stocks of these products through a bidding process. Advised by Laleau to bypass the legal constraints, the presidency imported 400,000 gallons of fuel and threatened the leaders of the three companies for having introduced petroleum products in the country “without authorization.“ (The companies had also imported fuel, as they had done regularly in the past.)

 

Meanwhile, Haiti’s Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, evok ing the monopoly of force for the government, said the State may order the punishment of those in said companies who are responsible for having imported gasoline without authorization. Using that logic, the BMPAD assumed the right to violate the law and placed a fuel order for the president, his wife and Special Adviser Laleau.

 

The new “Bald-headed” team is dragging the country into unchartered waters, raising concerns in ma ny political sectors. Now attention is drawn to a statement by President elect Jovenel Moïse even before he was sworn in. Last February, in deciding to stage the national carnival in the hurricane-battered southern city of Les Cayes, he paid no attention to contrary advice and shouted: “The president has spoken, it’s final!“ That was an eloquent expression of the dictatorial drift of the “Banana Man,” which provoked outcries in the media as well as in various democratic circles. The latest presidential action in the fuel deal is alarming. The citizens should not turn a deaf ear to the situation, neither should those who raise the issue be called spoiled sports for denouncing the slide to dictatorial tendencies.

 

This is no small matter. Especially since the president considers himself the “Father of the family,“ who believes he is authorized to make decisions unilaterally for the nation without being accountable to anyone. This tendency can lead to an increasingly authoritarian Jovenel Moïse while the concerned are asleep. Since his joke of the president has spoken, it’s final,“ even before his swearing-in, President Moïse hasn’t reversed course. His actions since February 7, 2017 only confirm his desire to lead as a dictator. More over, paying no attention to positive criticism, he listens only to himself. Other means should be found to make him understand that the country doesn’t intend to lose the democratic gains made by the Haitian people at the cost of great struggles and enormous sacrifices. If he isn’t stopp ed early, Jovenel Moïse could go from budding dictator to absolute monarch setting up his hereditary monarchy.

 

The nation must wake up to collectively say no to the president. He can’t shamelessly and without res traint overstep the rights conferred on him by the Constitution. A Creole proverb is applicable at this dangerous juncture: “Chemen bouton se che men maleng” (An untreated scratch becomes a nasty wound.) Inspired by the kleptomaniac administration of Michel Martelly that preceded his, President Moïse seems to be on course to surpass his mentor. Intent on getting rich quickly, he’s dipping everywhere he can. No doubt he must repay the debts to those who financed his campaign. In that light, they don’t care what he does as long as they recover their investments. The reality of power isn’t at all good for the nation. Greed being a strong motive in President Moïse’s action, we should expect other operations similar to those carried out by the BMPAD. Having inherited from his predecessor a system of corruption that allowed Michel Martelly and his allies to squander the PetroCaribe Fund, Jovenel Moïse and his team have fine tuned the machine they found. So, they won’t spare anything to collect millions, even if they have to scrape the bottom of the barrel everywhere in the administration. After the “breakthrough” in the petro leum sector generating millions, a presidential invasion should be expected into food imports and other lucrative economic activities. In reality, one couldn’t have expected anything better from Jovenel Moïse whose behavior in business led him to being charged with money laundering. As it is, there never was a verification of candidate Moïse’s wealth, if indeed he had such wealth, and how he had gained it. And this raises all sorts of questions about his behavior as the tenant of the National Palace. Indeed, corruption is what counts for the Banana man!

 

H.O

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