#HAITI:PETROCARIBE UPDATE: THE LATORTUE REPORT VERSUS THE BEAUPLAN REPORT ( VIDEO )

PETROCARIBE: THE LATORTUE REPORT VERSUS THE BEAUPLAN REPORT

VIDEO COURTESY OF Haiti 24

WASHINGTON, DC – The legislative branch has a duty  of checks and balances to ensure that the executive is performing its job on behalf of the Haitian people honestly without considerations and reservations. Part of the legislative branch’s job is to  investigate government corruption, to ensure that government agencies work efficiently. When an investigation based on evidence demonstrate wrongdoings by government officials, it provides the public with a rare look into the inner working of government agencies. It also allows the fourth power the media to inform and educate people about government officials rights and duties.

 

THE LATORTUE REPORT

 

In the age of social media, an investigation can lead to conclusions of wrongdoings and tarnish a person reputation who is the subject of the investigation. Too often political enemies in position of power use that position to destroy potential rivals. To  sully their reputations. Once a reputation has been damaged and it is extremely hard to recover from it. We understand that and that is the reason why we take great precaution in our reporting. Before we accuse a person, whether a businessman or politicians of wrongdoing ensure that the evidence is unquestionable, indisputable. When we accused Salim Succar of purchasing weapons from Isreal via Canada, we had all the documents relating to the transaction. When Mr. Succar sued Omega news, we were able to provide copy of the evidence to court.

 

It is not just or fair to make wild accusations. The Latortue report did not make wild accusations. First, the honorable senator Yourie Latortue whose commitee comprised of people without a political ax to grind, subpoena documents from the differen ministers involved in the petrocaribe saga. Issued subpoena for testimony. A number of former government officials testified, and had an opportunity to address all issues and questions put to them. Some of them lied as the report concluded, but the process was valid, fair, and provided due process. At the end, the conclusions of the Latortue committee was sensible and based on the evidence presented. In situation where the committee did not have evidence of wrongdoings, the conclusion reflected that. THe committee allowed the evidence to lead it wherever without political considerations neither for the targets of the investigation or the investigators.

 

One may disagree with the Latortue’s committee conclusion, but the evidence cannot be questioned. It was clear that government officials disregarded established rules, issued no bids contracts, issued payment to companies who had no intention of commencing much less completing the work. There was many instances of situation where the company receiving the contracts were associated with the government officials who authorized the contract. There were also situation where companies were formed just month before they received a contract.

 

The Latortue report interviewed members of the Court of auditors. The testimonies shed lights on various issues. First, some of the contracts were not authorized by the Court of Auditors either because the signature of the member could not be found on any of the paperwork, or that in some situation, signatures were  forged. Most of the forged signatures were of members who had left the agency.

 

The Latortue report concluded that 15 government officials engaged in malfeasance and other crimes either because of negligence, imcompetence or dilatory tactics designed to enrich themselves. The report provides the public with an opportunity to demand reform, and to ensure those things do not occur. It provides the government with an opportunity to ensure that contracts are issued based on the law which requires the government to submit such contract to a biding process. It also allows the government to assess whether the current system involving the court of auditors is  the most efficient. It is system that facilitate corruption, and the government should consider a different system.

 

THE BEAUPLAN REPORT

 

Senator Evaliere Beauplan is a man of questionable integrity who had been engage in many nefarious activies, and had been accused of several crimes. In all fairness to senator Beauplan, some of these accussations came from the rumor mills. But like my grandmother used to say “la fimin pa jam leve san di fe.” So, it is more likely than not that the rumors might be true specially because of the company the senator keeps.

 

Having said, that, is it impossible for Senator Beauplan and his commitee to have conducted a serious investigation? The question is a resounding yes. But senator Beauplan was not interested in conducting a serious investigation. First, the Latortue investigation was comprehensive and addressed all the issues with regard to the PEtrocaribe fund. Second,  the report covers all five govenments and two administration. All the people involved were allowed to testify. Some of them avail themselves to the opportunity to defend themselves and others did not. Third, the Beauplan’s committee was formed specifically for that purpose, to perform a sham investigation.

 

As head of the foreign affairs commitee, senator Beauplan has other serious issues that he could have spent his time addressing. One of the issues for example is the problem within the Haitian consulates overseas. Omega had interviewed many employees of the consulate who said that the government was not paying them on time. Though the minister of foreign affairs paid all the arrears it was not until after Omega published the article that the minister took actions and called Omega to make sure we report on his good deed.

 

Senator Beauplan could have investigated the minister of foreign affairs to find out why was the minister paying these people every six months. Many empolyees including the media would like to know what happened and why the government specially the minister of foreign affairs was behaving this way. That would have been a great investigation. But Beauplan disregarded this possible investigation and for good reasons. Beauplan has been part of the problems. His family  members who had received jobs in the consulate in Miami and Orlando are not only unqualified, but they had been involved in misappropriation of fund belonging to the consulate. Mr. Beauplan had his wife, sister, brother in law and friends hired by the consulate – nepotism at its best. Would we expect him to conduct such an investigation? Not so because he would have to take responsibility for the problem.

 

Why did senator Beauplan decide to engage in sham investigation? First, the senator witnessed the positive coverage that the Latortue report received; second, he has political aspirations and ambitions, and some people stand on his way. The best way to undermine your politica opponents is to sully their reputations, shift the spotlight from your own nefarious behavior to theirs. Take for example, former tourism minister Stephanie Balmir Villedrouin whom the senator accuses of imcompetence and criminal acts. The question is why? Take for example the current president Jovenel Moise whose name is associated with a company that supposedly received a contract from the government. Assuming that was truth, that would not necessarily be problem considering that Mr. Jovenel was not a government official at the time the contract was issued. But nevertheless, Beauplan could not careless about the truth, the fairness, and the integrity required of such investigation.

 

Mr. Beauplan, unlike Mr. Latortue was more interested in attacking his perceive political enemies such as Laurent Lamothe, Stephanie B. Villedrouin and others. IT is encouraging to know that other media in Haiti quickly understand the purpose of this report and what this report is about, and the goal of Beauplan – to shift attention from him to others.

 

QUESTION: How much did Beauplan received to omit the Martelly’s name: MICHEL-.SOPHIA -Olivier ,Patrick Norame ( BMPAD ) who was appointed by Nenel Cassis and many others

 

Omega Staff Writers

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