BEAUPLAN’S PETROCARIBE REPORT TARGETS FORMER HAITIAN PRIME MINISTER FOR POLITICAL REASONS:

BEAUPLAN’S PETROCARIBE REPORT TARGETS FORMER HAITIAN PRIME MINISTER FOR POLITICAL REASONS:

 

MIAMI, FLORIDA – Laurent Salvador Lamothe, the longest serving Prime Minister under the Martelly administration maybe a mercurial personality eliciting controversies. Long seen as a presidential aspirant to succeed the current President Jovenel Moise, Mr. Lamothe a businessman turned politician, young and vivacious had a rare opportunity as prime minister to move Haiti towards a path of development. Some may agree or disagree as to his effectiveness as prime minister, but his sincerity and love for Haiti cannot be seriously challenged.

 

There is no love lost between Omega and Mr. Lamothe. In 2015, Mr. Lamothe and his associate Salim Succar filed a federal lawsuit against Omega for an article that was written by our editor calling into questions some of his decisions as Prime Minister of Haiti. Omega defended the lawsuit and prevailed. Even with such an experience, Omega editorial staff harbors no ill will towards Mr. Lamothe. Our job is simply to report the truth. When an injustice is done to a person’s reputation based on lies or motivated by politics, we will not support it.  We will denounce it.  And for this reason, our staff has reviewed the Beauplan report, and the accusations against Mr. Lamothe is baseless and factually incorrect.

 

We do not pledge allegiance to any politician, any political party, any businessman or government official.  Our allegiance is only to our readers who trust our news coverage will be correct and factual. We do not engage in fake news, nor do we engage in the politics of destruction for pecuniary gain. When a person is wrong, and/or violates the public trust, we call that person into account.  But when a person is wrongfully accused, and their character being assassinated for political reasons, we will be fair and balance in our reporting.

 

The Beauplan report accuses several former Haitian government officials of “theft.” “misappropriation” “malfeasance” and “embezzlement.” Though we are not here to absolve anyone of any liability. Nor are we here to say that any of the government officials mentioned in the report has never done anything wrong violative of the public trust.  All we are asking  Senator Beauplan and his committee is for the evidence of wrongdoing. This report is devoid of any such evidence. Accordingly, we must emphatically decline to consider this a serious report.

 

Mr. Lamothe was prime minister of Haiti from May 16, 2012, to December 12, 2014. Before becoming prime minister, he served briefly as Minister of Foreign Affairs. As prime minister, he oversaw the operations of the government including the work of all ministers who reported to him. His government was the recipient of over 800 million dollars of the PetroCaribe fund. However, his government inherited some of the largest contracts for public projects negotiated by the prior administration of Preval/Bellerive, in addition to his own public projects funded wholly by the PetroCaribe fund.

 

In early 2016, Senator Youri Latortue investigated the Petro Caribe fund and released a report which concluded in part that government officials were negligent in their duties with regards to both procedural and substantive violations of standing rules regarding government contracts. Mr. Lamothe was one of many former government officials who testified before the Latortue committee and had an opportunity to explain deficiencies or discrepancies relating to the public projects under his supervision. The Latortue report concluded that there should be further investigation regarding the same. The Latortue report was succinct, on point, with documentary and testimonial evidence. It was a serious report and it was treated as such.

 

On November 6, 2017, Senator Evaliere Beauplan, a member of the opposition issued what Omega considers a “political hit job” in an attempt to sully the reputation of many including Mr. Lamothe. It should be noted that this Newspaper has been critical of Mr. Lamothe when it is warranted and evidence supports it. But the current report presents no evidence of wrongdoings by Mr. Lamothe.  Instead, the report makes wild allegations about issues that are easily verifiable.  For example, the report claims that Mr. Lamothe authorized a road construction contract for a company to construct 10 kilometers of road, but the company built only 7.5 kilometers but got paid for ten. That lie is easily verifiable by sending someone to measure the number of kilometers constructed by the company, and this is precisely what was done. The truth is, 10 kilometers were built not seven as the report claims.

 

The report is full of similar accusations unsupported by either documentary or testimonial evidence. Such a report cannot serve as the basis for Omega or any other media source to call for further investigation. Integrity and fairness requires a journalist to be fair even to his most arcane enemy, and Mr. Lamothe is such an enemy, someone who would most likely like to see Omega disappear. But our job is not to join the list of partisan news reporting. Our job is to report the truth no matter what.

 

Our next 2 articles will reveal more discrepancies in Beauplan’s report

 

Omega Staff Writers

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