Marie Carmelle Jean-Marie was Minister of Finance under the Martelly Administration for less than three years, but for the time that she was in charge, like other finance ministers such as Wilson Laleau and Daniel Dorsainvil, she quickly found a way to allegedly guarantee herself a huge payday.  She did so by engaging in the same kind of corruption; kickbacks for government contracts to companies willing to participate in such corruption. Between 2012-2014, according to a Haitian Senate investigation, nearly 40 million dollars had been paid to GTC and Tropic Build for work that the companies never intended to do or complete.
In the case of GTC, the company received a contract to build 18 kilometers of roads for about 1.1 million dollars per kilometer. At the time full payment was made to GTC, authorized by Ms. Jean-Marie, the company had not begun the work, and according to the Senate investigation, by 2016, only 40% of the work had been completed. In the case of Tropic Build, the company was hired to supposedly build pre-fabricated houses, except that there was no contract to speak of, but yet the company with an address in Fort Lauderdale received nearly 23 million dollars. As of this writing, Tropic Build has not built one house in Haiti. Both companies have found to be associated or have links allegedly with other ministers of the government, such as Josafa Gauthier as Minister of Planning and Wilson Laleau, at the time, Minister of Commerce.
Like other bureaucrats who have violated the trust of the Haitian people and became wealthy in the process, Ms. Jean-Marie is living life quietly in Haiti, enjoying ill-gotten money for which she should have been indicted. Every country in the world has to deal with corruption, but in Haiti, fighting corruption is akin to a crime against humanity. The Haitian judiciary is wholly insignificant, without proper resources, both human and capital to combat corruption. The new administration is full of bureaucrats who for years have lived principally by stealing from the government – whether it was receiving kickbacks from government contractors, or just stealing government equipment such as cars and computers. As a matter of practice in Haiti, every minister leaves office taking with them cars and other government resources for their personal use. Mr. Laleau had allegedly  taken government cars and computers when he left the Minister of Finance to join President Jovenel Moise as Chief of Staff.
Hardly anyone in Haiti, or specifically from the Haitian Judiciary is willing to take a stand and prosecute these people because of fear that they too may have been involved in the same pay to play tactic that is so engrained in the Haitian government.  In 2013, a Haitian judge who had the temerity to investigate the former first lady Sophia Martelly for corruption and nepotism ended up dead, though a Senate investigation concluded that President Martelly and some of his advisors were involved in intimidating the judge, nothing was done. Life continues as if nothing happened. Martelly and his advisors left the government richer, courtesy of the many companies both foreign and domestic who paid hefty bribes for government contracts.
In South Korea, we witnessed a president be impeached for corruption and subsequently indicted.  In Brazil, a former president was indicted for graft while in office.  Everywhere in the world, people with good intentions show the moral imperative to fight this cancer with the understanding that corruption is not just a victimless crime, it robs a nation of its ability to provide for its people. These countries are fighting hard to set an example, to deter others from engaging in the same behavior. However, in Haiti, Jovenel Moise hired a former Minister of Finance who spent the better part of the last seven years allegedly stealing from the government, but yet he continues working for the government as if he was an exemplary bureaucrat to whom the people should show reverence and praise.  Wilson Laleau and Marie Carmelle Jean-Marie must be indicted for corruption.
Most countries, especially donor countries, look at Haiti as a failed state, and part of the reason is not just because of poverty and the brain drain, it is also because of lack of decisive leadership, failure of vision, and an inability for self-governance. Former President Rene Preval and Martelly both called for foreign investment in Haiti. Preval specifically told this writer that Haiti could never move forward with handouts – “charity,” he said, “never developed a country.” While this statement is true, corruption can bury a country so deep that foreign investments and serious investors can hardly find the country.
In Haiti, corruption is often a top-down situation. It begins with the president who often seeks out people willing to steal, who are yes men! Under the Martelly administration, Martelly was seeking advisors who would agree to commit crimes; his own cousin left the government because of corruption, but others, like Wilson Laleau, Marie Carmelle Jean-Marie, Marcel Lecorps,Day,Stefanie B Villedrouin etc, willingly joined the government because of the opportunity for self-enrichment.
These bureaucrats are demagogues who do not know the first thing about running a government. In 2013, Wilson Laleau as minister of finance gave an interview to a Haitian radio station, discussing the Haitian economy. Mr. Laleau a former professor, is not by any means an ignoramus; he knows of what he speaks. He is far above the average minister of finance. Why does such a person find it easy to engage in corruption, knowing the cost to the people? The question is simple. Neither Mr. Laleau nor Ms. Jean-Marie was elected and if the president is using government coffers as his private bank account, why not the ministers who sign the checks?
Since, the fall of the Duvaliers, we speak about corruption in Haiti and how devastating it is to the country’s development, but since then, not one of the bureaucrats has been arrested, charged or forced to stand trial to account for his or her behavior. It is past time for the Haitian judiciary to assert its independence. There are at least 13 people who served in the Haitian government between 2006 and 2016 who should be in prison. These people are: Jacques Rouseau, Jacques Gabriel, Daniel Dorsainvil, Michael Lecorps, Josefa Gauthier, Florence Duperval,  Harold Elie, Nonie, Mathieu, Jean-Max Bellerive,  Herbert Docteur, Wilson Laleau , Marie Carmelle Jean-Marieand Stefanie B Villedrouin.
The Senate investigation report concluded that the above bureaucrats allegedly engaged in theft, embezzlement, fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, and other crimes under Haitian law. The report specifically called on the other law enforcement authority in Haiti to further investigate. But thus far, the Haitian Attorney General (Comissaire Du Government) has yet to institute an investigation. No one should be too big to prosecute, too important to jail. No one is above the law. Until an example is made of these people, corruption will continue unabated. Currently, the Haitian Senate passed new legislation designed to protect government bureaucrats against defamation. It is not defamation if the facts are true if the investigation reveals that these people are guilty of graft.
Omega World News is calling on the law enforcement authority in Haiti to refer the Petrocaribe case to a judge for investigation. Next week look for more articles on Petrocaribe. Stay tuned for the companies who paid bribes and the people in charge of these companies.
Omega Staff Writers






Print Friendly, PDF & Email