MIAMI, FLORIDA – Haitian President Jovenel Moise came to Florida last week to meet with the Haitian community. According to his press secretary, the president wanted to share with the Haitian community in Florida his plans for Haiti. The caravan of change that he has been trumpeted since taking over as president has been nothing more than a lot of talks and no actions. Standing there in his blue suit, with an overwhelming sense of despair and corrupt resignation, the president made more empty promises. But the more pressing issue facing Haiti is the cancer of corruption, and president Moise seems incapable to put concrete actions behind all these talks.

Petrocaribe has been one of the more brazen case of corruption in Haiti, and the president has yet to call for an investigation into Petrocaribe. Petrocaribe was a special agreement between Haiti and Venezuela brokered in 2006 where the Bolivarian country agreed to sell to the Haitian government petroleum products at below market cost. At the time, Venezuela was able to show its largest through its policy of petro diplomacy. Similar deals were made with Cuba and other Caribbean nations.

The purpose of petrocaribe was to assist the Haitian government on earning hard currency for infrastructure and capital development projects. However, two senate investigations have concluded that between 2006 and 2016 the Haitian agency in charge of managing the Petrocaribe fund grossed 3.2 billion dollars. Aside from 1.2 billion dollars that was paid to Venezuela, the 2.1 billion dollars have been largely unaccounted for. Government officials from the director of the agency, Michael LeCorps to current presidential advisor WILSON LALEAU dubbed the architect of the embezzlement scheme have been unable to account for the money.

Recently, two Haitian citizens in Haiti brought two separate complaints against current and former member of the Haitian government for embezzlement of the Petrocaribe fund in which a Haitian judge had been appointed to investigate. The head of MINIJUST a United Nations commission in Haiti issued a statement of support for the appointment of a judge to investigate the petrocaribe affair prompted President Jovenel Moise to recall the Haitian ambassador to the United Nations claiming that the statement of support has the potential for political destabilization in Haiti. Since, then, the head of the mission went to New York City, and it not clear whether she will return to Haiti.

A foreign group of Journalist who had been investigated corruptions in different parts of the world including Nicaragua, Peru and Malta have shown interest in the PetroCaribe affair, but so far, there has been a black out in regard to the investigation. In addition, Haitian media in Haiti have tried in the past three years to bury the story, but this newspaper has made it its mission to make sure that those who embezzled the funds are brought to justice and made accountable for their misdeeds.

According the the Haitian senate investigative report on Petrocaribe released on August of 2016 a number of former government officials including, Wilson Laleau, Jean Max Bellerive, former Prime Minister of Haiti; Daniel Dorsainvil, and Marie Carmelle Jean Marie, former Ministers of Finance; Hebert Docteur, Minister of Agriculture; Josafa Gauthier, Minister of Planning; Florence Duperval, Minister of Health, Ms. Nonie Mathieu, President of the Court of Auditors; Jacques Gabriel, former Minister of TPTC, Arold Elie and Patrick Milfort and many others have named person of interest who allegedly embezzled the petrocaribe fund. Most of these people are currently living in Haiti, Dominican Republic or Miami. In fact, WILSON LALEAU who served as minister of finance and commerce under president Martelly is named as the person who orchestrated the theft. Former Haitian prime Bellerive whose government have received the largest part of the petrocaribe fund, some nearly 800 million dollars, have lied to the investigative committee according to the report.

So far, the Petrocaribe affair is moving slowly through the anal of an often unremarkable Haitian justice system riddled with corruption. The few judges with integrity to stand up to the pressure of corrupt politicians are often find their early demise. Under president Martelly, a Judge who had been investigated his wife, Sophia Martelly for corruption suddenly die suspiciously. To this day, reports have been written about the judge demise and no had been held accountable. The Petrocaribe will continue to be an issue that this newspaper will continue to write about, and keep our readers inform of its development if for anything, we cannot as a people turn a blind eyes to government corruption. Those who engage in corruption and breach the public trust should be held accountable.

Other countries have held their presidents accountable for graft. South Korea recently convicted its former president for graft. Peru, Nicaragua, and even France a country that the Haitian elites adore is currently investigating its former president Sarkozy for corruption. Why is Haiti any different? Or is it that corruption is so ingrained so endemic, that the country itself is corrupt?


Omega Staff Writers



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