elections troubles




Photo: a voter shows how he feels about what can easily be recognized, in his hand


Port-au-Prince, Haiti – June 03, 2015, 01:00 HRS (ΩWN)– Following a bombshell allegation made on June 1, 2015 by celebrity radio host Guerrier Henry on his daily 08:00 pm radio show on Radio Zenith 102.5 FM, investigative journalists in Haiti were able to learn from other knowledgeable sources that, indeed, several current members of Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Commission appear to be themselves in violation of the legal requirements for administrative discharge they are applying to candidates for elective office.  As the law requires, some presidential hopefuls have been found ineligible to run for failure to include in their application package, the certificate of administrative discharge required from office seekers who previously held any public service position in which they were managers of public resources in general, with regard to public funds in particular.

As spelled out in Haiti’s constitution, the certificate of administrative discharge must be issued by both chambers of Haiti’s parliament, acting separately, following a favorable opinion of Haiti’s Superior Court of Auditors and Administrative Disputes on a candidate’s past performance as a manager of public resources, before this person can re-enter public service in a new position or function, elective or not.

It has recently been alleged that the current President of the Provisional Electoral Commission, Mr. Opont, held the position of General Director of the previous Provisional Electoral Commission that was in place for the elections of 2010, in which entertainer Michel Martelly won the presidency. Mr. Opont, it is believed, is not in possession of a certificate of discharge in relation to the public service position he held prior to assuming the presidency of the current Electoral Commission.  Other senior members of this Electoral Commission lacking the required administrative discharge, it is also alleged,  include Mrs. Marie Carmelle Austin who was a Minister in the administration of former president Aristide, and Mr. Nehemy Joseph, a former member of a previous electoral commission.

If these allegations are proven to be true, each such instances would constitute a major violation of both the constitution and the electoral law governing the elections of 2015 in Haiti.  Is the Electoral Commission above the law? Or, rather, are members of the Electoral Commission exempt from the laws of the land, including from their obligations under the constitution of Haiti?  Did anybody lie under oath, committing perjury?  Could this situation make the Electoral Commission unfit to carry out its important mission?  Who must be held accountable?

Earlier today, we have also learned, the Head of the Electoral Commission’s Legal Department, Mr.  Anthony Mathieu Chérubin, is reported to have been fired on corruption issues.  What is going on at the Electoral Commission?  Is the institution still credible?

The people need answers, and it is the responsibility of the Electoral Commission to provide them. It should not wait to do so.


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