Tuesday, November 8, 2011
(WPEC - CBS12.com)
MIAMI - The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Seneca responded to a sinking barge approximately 10 miles east of Miami Monday afternoon.
The crew of a 94-foot tug boat towing a 270-foot barge notified the Coast Guard that they were experiencing fuel problems and later became disabled and adrift.
The cutter Seneca arrived on scene and took the tug in tow.
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Diamondback and a Coast Guard Air Station aircrew also arrived on scene to monitor the situation.
The barge, which has 33 empty containers on deck, was believed to be taking on water.
A commercial tugboat arrived on scene Tuesday morning to relieve the cutter Seneca of its tow.
(Nassau Guardian) - By Juan McCartney
A 50-year-old Haitian man was killed and another left missing at sea when the vessel they were traveling on with four other men capsized in rough waters off Abaco yesterday morning.
Police said the incident occurred around 11:00am, after the Bahamian captain of the boat and five Haitian men left the C.J. Dock at Marsh Harbour, Abaco.
The men were reportedly en-route to Port-au-Prince, Haiti on "Hideout" - a 48 foot fishing vessel - when they hit rough water and overturned in the Man-O-War Channel about five miles east of North Abaco.
Police said three of the men surfaced after the boat capsized and were able to board a small sea raft.
The Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) and the Bahamas Air Sea Reserve Association (BASRA) were notified, rescued the three men on the raft and conducted a search of the area.
The rescuers located another man and the body of the 50-year-old a short while later. The search for the missing man is expected to continue today.
Weather advisories over the past few days have warned boaters to operate caustiously as high winds produced choppy seas and large swells.
Head of NEMA, Captain Stephen Russell said that the weather system is expected to leave the area over the next few days.
Maxine Brown, the nurse in charge of the clinic in Marsh Harbour, said that all the survivors received minor injuries and were treated for exposure to salt water.
She said all of the mean claimed that they live in the area but lost all their documents at sea.
They were later discharged.
(Washington Post) - By Associated Press,
LEOGANE — Haiti hasn’t seen many homes built for the poor following a devastating earthquake almost two years ago, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said Monday.
In a 10-minute interview with The Associated Press, Carter said he noticed little housing reconstruction for struggling Haitians as he drove from the international airport to the residence of the U.S. ambassador in Port-au-Prince to Leogane, a coastal city 18 miles (29 kilometers) west of the capital that was largely flattened in the earthquake because of its proximity to the epicenter.
He added that there may be construction in other parts of Haiti but that he hadn’t seen it.
“We haven’t seen very much reconstruction of homes for low-income people,” Carter said with his wife Rosalynn seated at his side. “We have seen some of the villas, some of the fancy homes along the beachfront being repaired. But there hasn’t been much evidence yet of reconstruction of the homes in Port-au-Prince.”
Rosalynn Carter weighed in with her own observations of the earthquake zone, her voice shaking: “I don’t think anybody on earth ought to have to live in situations like this.”
The Carters came to Haiti as part of a six-day mission to help 500 volunteers from the Atlanta-based Christian charity Habitat for Humanity build 100 homes for families displaced by the January 2010 earthquake. The housing effort aims to house 500 families, and they are due to move in February, after latrines and wells have been installed.
Nicole Sully, a 39-year-old wife and mother of five, will be among those to take a new home. The one-room houses are built with cinderblock bases and plywood walls.
“It’s good for us because where we are now it’s not really a good situation,” Sully said as volunteers hammered away on two-by-fours on the frame of her home.
Sully was among the tens of thousands of people to lose her home in the earthquake and sought shelter in flimsy constructions patched together with tin, twine and nails.
Community leaders in Leogane deemed her eligible for a free house after they found her to be among the “most vulnerable,” said Claudy Jeudy, the national director for Habitat for Humanity.
The $6 million housing project, funded mostly by the Inter-American Development Bank, is unique in this sense: The group secured the land, a 34-acre plot of land at the end of a dirt lane, from the mayor of Leogane, who gave it away. Builders have complained since the earthquake that they’ve been unable to move forward on home construction because it’s unclear who owns which parcels of land. Many land titles were lost in the quake.
“They came to help us,” Leogane Mayor Santos Alexis said in his office at the town hall. “We had no choice but to give them the land so they could build the houses.”
There are still 3,000 people living without proper shelter in Leogane, Alexis said. Nationwide, there are more than 500,000 people living in makeshift camps, down from a peak of 1.3 million just after the quake, according to the International Organization for Migration.
Carter, 87, has long been involved in Haiti, whether as president or after he left office.
He last visited Haiti in 2009 with his Atlanta-based nonprofit the Carter Center to launch a campaign that sought to eradicate malaria and lymphatic filariasis, a mosquito-borne illness that causes limbs to swell to grotesque proportions. Carter and his wife hope to bring attention to the diseases on this trip.
This week, he also meets with Haitian President Michel Martelly and Dominican President Leonel Fernandez. Carter leaves Haiti Saturday.
(Omaha World Herald) - By Erin Grace
LÉOGÂNE — Haitian President Michel Martelly's controversial decision to restart the Haitian Army is a "distant" project, former President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday.
Carter, who is in Léogâne to lead a weeklong house-building blitz, met with Martelly on Tuesday at the Habitat for Humanity building site. Martelly, a huge draw for the Haitians working and volunteering here, toured the project and shook hands with another famous pair of volunteers: country singer Garth Brooks and wife Trisha Yearwood.
Then he, Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, went inside the sole air-conditioned house on-site and spoke privately. Martelly then addressed a throng of Haitian journalists, telling them in Creole that he was grateful for the houses. He joined Carter in a tent for a VIP lunch with several dozen people, including Omahan John Bunch. More than 500 people, including 400 U.S. and Canadian volunteers, are at the building site.
Bunch is a TD Ameritrade executive who is raising money for Habitat.
Carter, at a press conference later Tuesday, said he "expressed concern" to Martelly about the Haitian president's plans to start up an army.
"He told me that was in the distant future," Carter said.
Carter said Martelly envisioned an army that would help rebuild the country "like the (U.S. Army) Corps of Engineers."
"He doesn't want the rest of the world to believe that one of his early priorities is to build an army," Carter said.
Carter said he would also remind the world's major governments and former President Bill Clinton, who is serving a dual role as the U.N.'s Special Envoy to Haiti and heading up a commission to green-light reconstruction projects, that donors need to make good on their promises to Haiti.
(Defend Haiti) - By Mauel Jimenez
PARIS - Two experts in international relations have considered that while the foreign cooperation that has come to Haiti has been done with good will, there still exists today problems exacerbated by the earthquake of January 12, 2010. This is because, the help has never been a coordinated strategy or guided by the ideas of Haitians.
Doctors Francisco Nieto, and Jean Francois Claverie, directors of the Cooperation of L'Observatoire des Changements’ in Latin America, agreed that all aid into Haiti enters in a dispersed manner and there exists no coordinating body at both the national and municipal level.
For Nieto, the reconstruction of Haiti must be a "coordinated cooperation, which does not have to come in separate pieces.... hand in hand with Haiti,,,, that the Haitians be heard before any action is undertaken" ...
In addressing this issue, Claverie said that:
"what we have seen after a meeting with officials from Haiti is not so much that there is no money from international cooperation but, I mean that there is a big mess in the international cooperation itself."
He explained that the disorder is expressed by many people who came to Haiti with lots of good intentions... "But with no coordination with respect to their role; for example, the role of the United Nations, MINUSTAH..."
He added that those who make international cooperation in Haiti, both institutionally and in terms of the NGOs think that there is "no state, no towns, there is no public education,... as opposed to the fact that before the earthquake there were indeed institutions, ... they were (certainly) weak but there were mayors, ministers ... ".
Considering the cooperation that is done in these conditions, "the effectiveness of this cooperation is very negative. Haitians do not understand why the money does not arrive. But in fact there is money, the problem is that the projects are so disordered and further, the implementing agencies do not think like the Haitians themselves."
Claverie cited the case of Quisqueya University, which collapsed a month after being inaugurated, at a cost of five million dollars. "And now, almost two years after the earthquake, the courses are taught in a tent in 35 degree heat. It is incomprehensible that after two years there is no progress, not even the least minimum of reconstruction of an area to teach courses..." The French expert was flabbergasted.
Projects in Haiti
Nieto has been the creator of several centers and universities specializing in public policy issues and corruption.
He has also done consulting for the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Friedrich Ebert and Hanss Seidel and has been a consultant to the World Bank, Andean Development Corporation (CAF) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
"We joined with the Institute of Latin America, which have over fifty institutes in the United States. We created a network with Georgetown University a region of 18 universities ranging from Mexico to Argentina.
“Our idea of coming here is to make two or three specific concrete projects involving Europe and America through the Foundation for Democracy and Development and say yes you can do this with results and projects that are under the matrix that Haitians want. This must be respected, "said Nieto.
He revealed that the Haitian Association of University Rectors will request the training of teachers, because they go abroad and in Haiti there is a lack of well prepared human capital.
Nieto said he accepted that request and will train teachers in Haiti with the cooperation of France, the United States ......
He added that "through this mechanism we are also going to form diplomats and teachers specialized in the social issues, which is our area. This is not going to take long and we are not going to invent anything. There is a clear document made and approved by the Haitian authorities about what they need in the area of higher education.
He said that in Haiti he has recognized that the infrastructure issue is serious because there is still debris in the city, but that others will take care of that, because "what we are saying is that important projects can be made in Haiti, in absolutely important areas such as education. It is a matter of thinking ahead and materializing a joint project (effort), having a clear result in mind, a clear objective that is measurable."
Corruption: zero tolerance.
Nieto also referred in general terms to corruption, and in this regard said that we must try to bring it down to reasonable levels...
He felt that something fundamental for combating corruption is: "the institutionalization, the creation of civil service, in moderation, because if we follow in the case of Greece, where the state apparatus ate the state by becoming too heavy and cannot survive. It must be made that the state like in many countries in Latin America, that the state lives for the nation and not vice versa,... the nation living for the state."
Nieto said that "democracy, ... organically, ....the first thing is to organize a process which gives equal rights, entrusts assets and liabilities, the possibility to elect and be elected for all eligible citizens."
He added that the second thing that makes a democracy is "set periods of time to undertake tasks. You will be given a certain kind of task that you will be fulfilling... responsibilities to perform in a given time....” Furthermore, “considering that I have given you an order for you to comply with requirements, it is logical that you report to me."
(Defend Haiti) -
MONTREAL - Canadian Immigration deported to Haiti gang leader Bernard Mathieu aka “Tipon” who was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The Haitian-Canadian gang leader, Bernard Mathieu "Ti-Pon", was returned to Haiti two weeks ago, ... in spite of efforts to put off his eviction from Canada.
Last May, in a final attempt to prevent his return to his native country, Mathieu Bernard had used a Citizenship and Immigration Canadian program and raised humanitarian arguments. Since then, the 40 year old man was awaiting the decision of Canadian authorities.
However, the immigration officer in charge of his case took a decision that was unfavorable. Friday, October 15, his lawyer, Stéphane Handfield, pleaded on the phone and tried to convince a judge of the Federal Court to grant a stay, to no avail. Bernard Mathieu was returned to Haiti on Monday, October 17.
Mathieu did not have Canadian citizenship, but was a permanent resident. He was dismissed for serious criminality, because he was sentenced to a prison sentence of more than 10 years in Quebec.
Bernard Mathieu was considered the leader of the Pelletier Street gang, a network of importers and dealers of cocaine that had established its headquarters on this street in Montreal-Nord, and it was dismantled in 2004.
"Ti-Pon" was convicted three years later along with his accomplices. It was the first time that members of a street gang were convicted under the new provisions for this offense. Mathieu was released in April, but a few weeks later he was arrested by border services officers for deportation. He had to pay a deposit of $120,000 to be released pending the decision of the immigration officer.
(Haiti Libre) -
LES CAYES — A Haitian police officer was only a few feet away from an unarmed prisoner when he raised his handgun and shot the inmate dead, a witness said Monday in a rare trial that has captivated a coastal town in southwestern Haiti.
Hans Maitre recounted to a crowded courtroom that he peered through the door of his cell to see uniformed police officers dash into the prison and take aim at a handful of prisoners.
“The police entered the courtyard, and they yelled at everyone to get down, get on their stomachs,” Maitre said.
Maitre is one of dozens of witnesses expected to testify in a closely watched trial that will test Haiti’s historically weak judiciary. Thirteen 13 police officers stand accused of murder, attempted murder and other crimes after they allegedly opened fire on prisoners during a riot one week after the January 2010 earthquake.
Twenty-one other officers will be tried in absentia because they fled Les Cayes for other parts of Haiti as well as Miami and Canada, said lead prosecutor Jean-Marie Salomon. Under Haitian law, absent defendants are entitled to a separate trial should they return or be extradited.
The trial stems from a riot in a prison in Les Cayes that began when some of the 400-plus prisoners tried to escape because they were terrified of aftershocks in the overcrowded prison.
Haitian officers allegedly stormed the prison to prevent a mass escape like the one that occurred in the country’s main penitentiary in the capital. They are accused of then rushing into the building and opening fire.
U.N. police saw the bodies of 10 dead prisoners but more people are believed to have been killed and dozens more were wounded.
As the trial rolled into its fourth week Monday, Maitre, the witness, acted out the shooting and described the prisoners choking on tear gas. He said he rubbed toothpaste under his nostrils to keep the stinging gas at bay.
Defense lawyer Jean Renel Senatus responded by saying the witness could not be sure of what he saw if there was so much tear gas.
“When you come here, you can’t tell lies because, look, Jesus is here,” Senatus said, pointing to a crucifix hanging in the Catholic community center-turned-courtroom. Supporters of the defense cheered.
Judge Ezekiel Vaval has already heard witness testimony from the prosecution. Some of the police officers are slated to testify later this week.
The trial is expected to last several more weeks.
The trial is unique in that few legal cases make it this far because the justice system is widely considered corrupt and dysfunctional. About three-quarters of the 5,000 people imprisoned in Haiti have never even been charged with a crime.
Haiti’s judiciary showed signs of progress in 2001 when dozens of former military and paramilitary leaders were tried for their role in a seaside massacre in a city north of Port-au-Prince. But the convictions were later overturned.
(Haiti Libre) -
President Michel Martelly during a visit Monday to the Directorate General of the police, reassured the police officers, in relation to his decision to establish a new national security force; by promising them in advance to strengthen the national police force by recruiting soon thousands of police with the support of Friends of Haiti and the Minustah and improve the working conditions of police officers.
"...since President Martelly is in power, we're talking of restoring the army. I want the police to know one thing, .... restoring the army is a campaign promise, that we will do, .... when we are ready and we will do it at a specific time [...] it is necessary that there is a developed comprehensive plan,... that it is well done [...]
But we see that there are people who took the opportunity to make disorder around that [...] who take things wrongly. For their part, I call that disorder. The President made a promise, .... the President will keep his promise, but everyone will follow the plan of action that the government will implement to achieve this. This is not because we made a promise about the army, ... that people should come and do things their way.
[...] One of the first things we will do before we establish the army, is to strengthen the police [...] today, I want everyone to know that there is only one force in the country, [...] ] it is the police force [...] we have already discussed this with the Directorate General of the police. We talked about this with people who are involved in the strengthening of the institution, ... friendly countries and partners.
[...] There are many people who are impatient, who want to enter into the police force, There are people who are almost ready, young people who are already trained to do sports, but the training [...] it is the police who should give it to you.
When the army will be ready, it will give you the training. I have already spoken to the Director General to see how we can increase the staff quickly. We made various proposals to the Prime Minister [...] so that in the next 2 years, we can recruit thousands of people. We have no logistics for that, but in conjunction with the Friends of Haiti, with different Minustah bases across the country, we will see if there are ways to work and take a lot of young people and place them into the police, to strengthen the police force.
We will also work on the issue of police salaries, their insurance, the care of the family,... if he dies in the performance of his duties. All these are things that police officers require, to be able to give good service. So I repeat, the police is there to be strengthened and you 'hired' me to do it.
The question of the army that I mentioned, .... we continue to work on it and as I said, .... on November 18, we will announce what is to be announced,... but I do not want, that people anticipate, to make disorder with something that I have not yet announced.
What I will announce, is not the remobilization of former troops. What I will announce is just a calendar,... a work plan to restore the force..."
(Defend Haiti) -
PORT-AU-PRINCE - The Government Prosecutor Félix Léger was laid off by the Minister of Justice, Josue Pierre-Louis, according to government sources.
The decision of the Minister of Justice, taken November 7, was approved by the Prime Minister Garry Conille, informs the same source, reported by Alterpresse.
Félix Léger is in the center of the crisis between the three branches of government, since he ordered the arrest of Deputy Arnel Bélizaire (Delmas & Tabarre/Veye-Yo), despite the fact that his immunity was not waived.
According to Leger, the MP was a criminal on the run.
The arrest caused an outcry in Parliament, where some deputies and senators promise to dismiss ministers.
Even the chief of government, Garry Conille, seems to be on an ejection seat. After less than a month as Prime minister, Mr Conille was questioned by the Senate last weekend.
Félix Léger was the replacement of Jean François Sonel. The latter was revoked last September by former Prime Minister Jean Max Bellerive, for convening Paul Antoine Bien Aime, the Interior Minister then in office, for alleged corruption.
(Haiti Libre) -
The postponement to November 15 of the interpellation of Josué Pierre-Louis, Minister of Justice and of Michel Brunache, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and the creation of two Commissions responsible for drafting the reasons for the interpellation and investigate on the arrest of deputy Arnel Bélizaire, has obviously not pleased the deputies, who have strongly expressed their disappointment.
Frustrated, Deputy Danton Léger reproached the senators to not finish the session, throwing a warning against any desire to use the practice of "kase fèy kouvri sa" considering that the harm is irreversible; without excluding the possibility of the indictment of the Head of State if his involvement is proven.
Deputy Levaillant Louis Jeune said that he was disappointed to have attended to "a comedy in the Senate". He assimilates the approaches of the senators as "a big joke", aiming to avoid penalizing members of the government involved in the Belizaire case"... I want to inform the senators that the Chamber of Deputies, the deputies in general have not asked the senators to do anything for them. Demagoguery that has been made in the Senate of the Republic, is intended to bury the Haitian Parliament and strengthen the personal power of President Michel Martelly. The Senators took an entire day to exit without a vote. They created a Commission to supposedly investigate who is responsible, while they knew perfectly well, because they were in contact with the entire government,... that it is President Martelly, Josué Pierre-Louis ..., all these people are fully implicated in the Belizaire case.
I have a message to send especially to Senator Lambert, the coordinator of INITE. I told the Senator: all good generals ensures all the time, to have the confidence and the control of his troops. I asked Senator Lambert if after the acts that have been posed Saturday, if he has the guarantee that he has the troops behind him?"
Deputy Eloune Doréus expressed surprise that Saturday's meeting did not end on a vote of confidence or a censure motion, urging the senators to not tergiviserate on an issue as important as that ot the arrest of a deputy in office.
Deputy Pierre Matin Tatoute estimates for his part "that the Senate is processing the file with lightness," warning that the Chamber of Deputies is preparing to give in January, "a proportionaland historic response to the government..."
Deputy Jean Tolbert Alexis, disapproved the formation of commissions of inquiry by the great body and rejects the formation of the Independent Investigation Commission of the Government, recalling that the only real Commission should be formed by the Chamber of Deputies; the only body empowered to make the indictment of senior officials.
Other deputies think that the change in the original decision, of some senators, is linked to the fact that they are at the end of their mandate and that they think first of their re-election...
Note that last Saturday, during the convocation session of the Supreme Council of the National Police (CSPN), the Prime Minister, Dr. Garry Conille, informed that measures had been taken against Mr. Félix Léger, the Government Commissioner, pending the results of the administrative commission of inquiry, responsible for determining the Commissioner's role in the arrest of Deputy Bélizaire.
(Haiti Libre) -
The Prime Minister, Dr. Garry Conille, announced yesterday, Monday that the Government intends in the coming days, to hold a retreat of two days; to establish a clear agenda of its commitments, which will be presented to the public before the end of this month.
"we gave three tasks to members of the government. The first task is to do an inventory, understand what they found, the challenges and the opportunities, to understand what projects are underway, what resources we have and what we do not have, what every member of the government is doing. This is a very efficient and fast manner, ...., to be able to reflect on what we will do in the next 12 months.
....We will announce to the public .... how this project will begin, how it will end and the inventory list of the activities that will serve as a dashboard; both to the President of the Republic, to the Parliament and to the public, to keep us accountable for the promises we make [...] to be able to tell everyone, that, for example, the reconstruction of the airport will begin ...and and this is when it will end,... the reconstruction of the Parliament, roads, schools, health centers that have been promised, ... when these will begin, and when these will be completed.
With this dashboard, the public will be able to see if indeed the government is moving in the direction it should move forward. We also ask the international community, to do the same work; to give us quickly an exhaustive list of projects and programs that are underway and simultaneously we say to them our priorities for the next 12 months,.... to ensure us, that we work with cohesion towards the vision of the President of the Republic and the general policy statement that I presented to Parliament.
This is something that will be made in complete harmony with all sectors. We will obviously integrate the political sector within .... In the coming days I will form a Commission, which will work on how we can realize this pact...
Monday, November 7, 2011
(Haiti Libre) -
Dr Florence D. Guillaume, Minister of Public Health and Population, has proceeded last Thursday, to the installation of Dr. Carl Murat Cantave, former Departmental director of Health in the Artibonite, as Secretary of State.
In his inaugural address [extracts], Dr. Carl Murat Cantave explained, "No political, economic, social, environmental without cultural planning can be done without referring to the demographic variable. In 1950, the Haitian population was about three million, in 1981, it rose to 5.1 million. We currently have a population of 10,200,000 inhabitants [...] The population projections are dramatic when you consider that with a current growth rate of 2.4 - 2.5%, we will have between 2040 and 2050 a population estimated as 20 million inhabitants, in the same area, for goods and services that do not increase; hence the importance of the intervention of the Secretary of State for Population to make the adequacy between the goods and services available and the population [...]
[...] We will establish family planning services across the country to meet the expectations of the population. Always in the quantitative development of the population, we will do an education campaign to reduce the "synthetic index" of fertility from 5 to 2 [...]; track in the field the births and deaths, and conduct a census every 10 years.
We will develop a major program of monitoring the population through a platform, through a sectoral table that we will create, which will allow us to solve a number of problems that we have. For example, the control of migration flows both internal and external of the population [...] With the support of other entities, if we really put our heads together, we will be able to do something in terms of migration [...]"
Concerning the budget to implement these projects, Dr. Carl Murat Cantave indicated, "It is necessary that there is a vision, a leadership, an ability to negotiate. For example when there is money somewhere, you must be able to get it to deliver services to the people..."
(The Eleutheran) -
A boat, reportedly registered in Abaco and on its way from Haiti, with more than 100 Haitian migrants, was found drifting at the southern end of Harbour Island near South Bar during the early evening of Saturday November 5th.
Under the supervision of Eleuthera Police, the migrants were ferried on two vessels to Harbour Island, attracting a large number of resident onlookers - both Bahamian and Haitian. Inspector Elvin Missick in communication with The Eleutheran, expressed gratitude to the citizens of Harbour Island who assisted the police in their operations.
Immigration assumed custody of the Haitians as of about 11:00pm on Saturday evening and have been housing them in a hall building on Harbour Island.
According to sources, the vessel appeared to have suffered engine troubles, and got stuck in the channel. Upon initial arrival to the dock on Harbour Island, barricades were used to keep the migrants separated from the general public, and according to Chief Councillor Tremaine Johnson a "mix-up" resulted in a delay until Monday morning.
A witness on the scene said many of the Haitians appeared to be ill and were taken to the clinic and seen by a local doctor. A medical team was expected to be dispatched to Harbour Island on Sunday from the Capital to assess the group.
The migrants are expected to be moved by immigration on Monday.
Immigration officials and the Bahamas Defense Force, mounted a joint operation on Harbour Island, on Thursday November 3rd taking into custody 60+ persons. Of that number, 44 persons (23 men, 17 women and 4 children) were found to have no documented status in the country. The illegal migrants were taken to the capital for further processing.
NEW YORK — The US Drug Enforcement Agency has five commando-style squads it has been quietly deploying for the past several years to various countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean, the New York Times reported Monday.
The countries where the commando teams have been deployed include Haiti, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Belize, all countries struggling to combat drug trafficking, the daily wrote.
The DEA confirmed the existence of the Foreign-deployed Advisory Support Teams (FAST) and said they "provide key support and mentoring to host nation law enforcement agencies."
"All United States law enforcement activities are conducted in close coordination with host governments and the United States embassy. Moreover, they comply with US and host country laws," the agency said in a statement.
The program dates back to the George W. Bush administration, and was created originally to investigate Taliban-linked drug traffickers in Afghanistan.
But US President Barack Obama beginning in 2008 broadened its mandate beyond the Afghan war zone, according to the Times.
The newspaper reported that the program reflects Washington's growing reach in combating drug cartels, amid concerns by some policy makers that the line between law enforcement and military activities is becoming increasingly blurred.
But Michael Braun, a former head of operations for the drug agency who helped design the program, told the Times that the military-trained commandos are exactly what is needed for often dangerous drug interdiction activities.
"You have got to have special skills and equipment to be able to operate effectively and safely in environments like this," he told the newspaper.
"The DEA is working shoulder-to-shoulder in harm's way with host-nation counterparts," he said.
Bruce Bagley, a University of Miami professor who specializes in Latin America and counternarcotics, said the US commando teams could help arrest kingpins, seize drug stockpiles, disrupt smuggling routes and help train security forces in small drug-trafficking plagued countries.
But he said such operations on foreign soil are inherently sensitive, and risk a possible backlash if operations go awry.
"It could lead to a nationalist backlash in the countries involved," he told the Times.
"If an American is killed, the administration and the DEA could get mired in congressional oversight hearings," he said.
"Taking out kingpins could fragment the organization and lead to more violence. And it won't permanently stop trafficking unless a country also has capable institutions, which often don?t exist in Central America."
(Haiti Libre) -
Former President Jimmy Carter (Nobel Peace) arrived Sunday in Port-au-Prince to participate in the completion of the construction of 100 houses (permanent). "I came with 500 volunteers of my country to complete the construction of 100 houses in Leogane with Habitat for Humanity," said Mr. Carter at the residence of the Ambassador of the United States Kenneth Merten.
Jimmy Carter comes also supporting a national campaign against lymphatic filariasis in Haiti and will meet tomorrow, Tuesday, President Michel Martelly at the National Palace.
Delta has donated two charter flights, a Boeing 767 and a Boeing 757, to transport the volunteers, a group that includes 11 Delta employees, who will donate their personal vacation time to be part of the efforts. "Delta people put a high value on supporting the communities where we live and work," said Scarlet Pressley-Brown, Delta Air Line's director of external affairs and community relations. "Our employees have a long history with Habitat and their involvement in this project is a testament to the commitment the Delta team has for serving others."
Habitat's 2011 Carter Work Project will bring together 500 volunteers to build 100 core houses during the week. The build will take place in the Santo community of Leogane where Habitat will build a total of 150 houses this year with families currently living in tents and other temporary structures. Another 100 houses are planned for 2012.
Habitat's Carter Work Project is the culmination of a month-long observance of the need for safe, decent and affordable shelter that began on World Habitat Day, Monday, Oct. 3, 2011. The Carters are Habitat for Humanity's most famous volunteers and give a week of their time each year to help Habitat build, renovate or repair homes, and raise awareness about the need for affordable and decent housing. They joined Habitat for Humanity in 1984 to help renovate a decaying building in New York City's Lower East Side. Today, the building is part of a thriving, reinvigorated and dynamic community. Since that first build, the Carters and thousands of volunteers have worked with Habitat for Humanity across the United States and in Mexico, Canada, Hungary, South Africa, South Korea, India, the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, China, Laos and Vietnam.
(U.S. Embassy) -
Port-au-Prince – Together with Haitian Minister of Public Health and Population (MSPP) Dr. Florence Duperval Guillaume, and former President Jimmy Carter, U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Kenneth Merten inaugurated a $1.5 million campaign to administer medication to eliminate lymphatic filariasis (LF) in the Port-au-Prince region.
Lymphatic filariasis is a mosquito-borne parasitic infection that causes painful swelling of the limbs and genitalia, preventing those affected from living full and productive lives. While Haiti is one of only four countries in the Western Hemisphere where LF is still present and approximately 8.6 million Haitians are at-risk, transmission of LF can be interrupted by treating the entire population in endemic communities once per year for 5 to 8 years with a combination of medications.
A strong partnership of U.S. government agencies, NGOs, and the private sector is working with the MSPP to fight this disease, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the University of Notre Dame, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, IMA World Health, and pharmaceutical manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline. Port-au-Prince is the last area of Haiti to begin the treatment protocol and moves Haiti one step closer to eliminating LF from the country.
Ambassador Merten highlighted the importance of this campaign when he said, “Diseases like LF do more than cause pain for those they afflict; they prevent their victims from reaching their full potential and impair their ability to support their families and be active and productive members of society.”
For her part, Minister Guillaume said, “We appreciate the U.S. collaboration and support in the fight against filariasis and we commit to work, with the participation of all sectors of Haitian society, to eliminate the disease in the country.”
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter attended as the guest of honor. He and his Carter Center have long championed strengthening healthcare on the island of Hispaniola, especially against diseases such as LF and malaria.
Health is one of the four priority sectors of U.S. assistance to Haiti, together with governance and rule of law, agriculture, and infrastructure, and the U.S. government team in Haiti, which includes CDC and USAID, is working with the Haitian MSPP to support health services delivery; to prevent and control infectious diseases, including HIV, tuberculosis, cholera, and malaria; to rebuild public health infrastructure; and to support care and rehabilitation services for Haitians with disabilities.
(Haiti Libre) -
A group of peacekeepers from the Brazilian and Chilean contingent of the United Nations Mission for Stabilization in Haiti (Minustah), carried out during three days, a major medical-sanitary operation and a mitigation of cholera in the College of girls Our Lady of Perpetual Help, in the neighborhood of Bel Air in Port-au-Prince.
This mission was carried out by soldiers of the Minustah in coordination with UN civilian professionals, led by the Force Commander, General Luiz Ramos, assisted by Mariano Fernández Amunátegui, the Special Representative of the UN and Head of the Minustah.
Soldiers and members of the UNPOL (UN Police), as well as professionals: Korean, Japanese, Nepalese, Filipinos and Canadian, have participated in this operation which consisted of providing medical and dental attention and lessons in general hygiene (especially of the hands and teeth). Students and neighborhood residents, have received toothbrushes and toothpaste. Soldiers also repainted the walls of the College, cleaned the streets around the school, distributed water and fumigated the areas where mosquitoes that transmit malaria and dengue can be found. In addition, the presence of peacekeepers, has allowed people to come together and discuss key issues affecting this sector of the city.
This mission is part of the civil-military action organized on a regular basis, by the various contingents of the Minustah for the benefit of schools, orphanages and the people living in their areas of responsibility.
(Haiti Libre) -
Kentaro Minami, the Ambassador of Japan accredited to Haiti, and the person responsible for the Sigueneau Sanatorium in Léogâne, on Friday signed a contract with the Government of Japan amounting to nearly one million U.S. dollars.
The Ambassador of Japan, clarified that it was a project funded within the framework of aid to local micro-projects that contribute to human safety (APL), aiming to rebuild and modernize the Sigueneau Sanatorium destroyed on January 12, 2010, "which became in the eyes of the Government of Japan, a priority." He explained that the project consists of the construction of two buildings that meets the seismic standards, connected between them to form one large pavilion for the treatment of tuberculosis, with an area of 1,144 m2. Kentaro Minami said that Japan was "satisfied with all structural studies of this hospital and that the latest technology in the seismic prevention of structures have been considered."
Japan will provide all medical equipment for the treatment of patients "to ensure adequate care for patients in need and the proper functioning of the hospital as soon as the work is be completed [...]" added the Ambassador of Japan in Haiti.
(Defend Haiti) -
PORT-AU-PRINCE - Minister of Justice, Josue Pierre-Louis was not so forthcoming when he told reporters at a press conference that he had nothing to do with the arrest of Deputy Arnel Bélizaire (Delmas & Tabarre/Veye-Yo). According to the director general of the police, it was Pierre-Louis indeed who directed officers to take the deputy to the National Penitentiary.
During the interpellation session on Saturday, the question was put to the Director General of the Haitian National Police (PNH) by Senator Steven Benoit (Ouest/Alternative):
"...the President of the National Assembly was talking to the police and the SWAT team. They took Deputy Belizaire and they told the president [senate] that they were going to the commissioners office."
"While on that route, the driver of the car got another order to take the deputy to the national penitentiary."
"Who gave that order? Was it you? Was it Prime Minister Conille? Who?"
The director general told the senators:
"There was communication between the police at the scene and the Minister of Justice."
"At some point during the communications there were orders to take the deputy to the national penitentiary."
Senator Benoit interrupted to ask:
"Who gave you those orders?"
To which DG Andrésol replied:
"The Minister of Justice spoke to us. He told us - I don't know if he was in conversation with the government commissioner - but at a point he told us rather than the commissioner's office take him to the national penitentiary."
On the day following the arrest of Deputy Bélizaire Minister Pierre-Louis called members of the press into his office to disclaim having any involvement in the arrest of the MP.
By his account, Pierre-Louis said he heard about the situation over the radio and spoke to the Government Commissioner Félix Léger to ask if the charges and warrants were all to form. Pierre-Louis said that at no point did he, or would he have intervened.
The Minister of Justice has not appeared before the senate, requesting 8 days to undergo an investigation. The senate has created a commission as well and are to return to this matter at a November 15 session.
(Defend Haiti) -
PORT-AU-PRINCE - The Haitian Senate failed Saturday night to decide on the fate of two members of the Martelly-Conille government whose connection with the arrest of Deputy Arnel Bélizaire (Delmas & Tabarre/Veye-Yo) would result in an interpellation.
The session to interpellate two members of the executive was intercepted by Senator Andris Riché (Grand Anse/Alternative), who successfully had the senate resolve to form a commission of inquiry. The commission will report its findings, at least 24 hours ahead of a Novemeber 15 session.
Five members: François Joseph Anick (Artibonite/Alternative), John Joël Joseph (Ouest/Inite), Riché Andris, Jean William Jeanty (Nippes/KONBA) and Simon Dieuseul Desras (Centre/Lavni) are the commission.
Senators Moïse Jean-Charles (Nord/Inite), Jean-Baptiste Bien-Aime (Nord-Est/Inite), Fritz Carlos Lebon (Sud/Inite) and Nènèl Cassy (Nippes/Inite) left the session in protest.
All four, including Senator Steven Benoit (Ouest/Alternative) were prepared to interpellate and take a vote of no-confidence against both members of the government.
On October 28th, the Haitian Senate declared "solidarity" with the Lower House of Parliament whose member, Arnel Bélizaire, was arrested with parliamentary immunity on October 27th.
Parliamentarians who arrived to greet their colleague at the airport were impeded from entering the Toussaint Louverture International Airport's Diplomatic Room.
The Haitian National Police and peacekeepers from the United Nations Stabilization Mission (MINUSTAH) had restricted access to the airport since 4:00 p.m..
(Haiti Libre) -
Last Thursday, on the sidelines of the interpellation session, of the Minister of Justice and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Michel Brunache; Senator Joseph Lambert had cited as an example of decisions made too quickly,.... the interpellation of the Secretary of State while the latter was not yet invested in his functions...
In response to this statement, Edgard Leblanc, former Senator and coordinator of the Organization of People in Struggle (OPL, who condemned the arrest of Deputy Bélizaire that was done, according to him outside the prescriptions of the Constitution, has wished to clarify "...the Parliament, the Chamber of Deputies and the Chamber of the Senate act within their constitutional prerogative. Therefore, they do it in all legality. When the Ministers are named, they are in function, and even if the Secretary of State has not yet been installed, he has been named [...], and therefore he is responsible and in charge [installed or not], if something happens in the course of his duties.
In its role of monitoring, the interpellations made by the Parliament are made in all legality and I think that's a good thing that the Parliament has reacted. The interpellation, do not forget, must end with a vote [of confidence or of censure]. We just want, as part of a rule of law, to uphold the law in all circumstances, and this requires much more reason than emotion...
[...] The Prime Minister must come out of his silence, and of his frustrations to play his role as a conductor. There is no government, ... everyone can see. There is a Prime Minister and a Chief of Government. They should behave as such and try to take things in hand..."
Saturday, November 5, 2011
(Forbes) - By Daniel Fisher
Sometimes you come across a piece of writing so good, you just want to hang it up and become a plumber instead. The speech below, delivered to the Yale Medical School class of 2011, is one of those. The writer is Frank Bia, medical director at Americares, the Stamford, Conn. disaster-relief and medical aid organization. Before joining Americares, Bia had a long career as an infectious-diseases specialist at Yale Medical School (full disclosure: My wife worked under him there.)
Bia does an excellent job of explaining what motivates clinicians as well as puncturing the myth of selfless service. He also works in a mention of a certain libertarian author whose works are rarely celebrated within the halls of ivy. Well worth a read:
Dean Alpern, colleagues in the Yale Faculty, parents, grandparents, siblings, partners other voluntary members of the intricate support structure surrounding our group of new Yale physicians – today we celebrate and launch Yale Medical School’s Bicentennial class of 2011, who are seated before you. Forty years ago I received my medical degree from Cornell University Medical College on a similar spring day at the NY Hospital in Manhattan, epicenter of my known universe. I dutifully sang Far Above Cayuga’s Waters (which I had never seen) and set out on a medical career. I must honestly remind myself that forty years from now, in the year 2051, some of you will be doing exactly what I am today. Like me, you will have absolutely no idea who spoke at your commencement. Nevertheless, I thank you all, the last Yale class I was privileged to teach in the classroom and at the bedside.
I am fond of reading NY Times obituaries, as they often trace the arc of a person’s life. Before my own obituary becomes a permanent document, I take this commencement opportunity as a gift from you. I can actually dictate it myself – right now.
Seven billion of our species inhabit this invitingly vibrant planet. In 1945, as World War ll ended, and I dropped in at the Bronx Maternity Hospital, there were about 2 billion of us – not all in the Bronx, although it sometimes felt that way. By the time my wife, now Dr. Peggy Bia, and I entered medical school in the late sixties great hopes were emerging, based on ideas like equality, civil rights and social justice. Some have come to fruition, and others have clearly not reached maturity. What characterizes most human societies today, including our own, could, to some extent, be characterized in a single phrase – increasing disparity and inequality. In our own country, we have reached a point where one-quarter of all yearly income accrues to just 1 percent of the population. Disparities like this are unprecedented in our country; they are not sustainable; they are dangerous and they extend deeply into virtually every society – ultimately weaving themselves into the torn fabric of human healthcare. If we sincerely believe that healthcare is a basic human right for every member of our species, and not just a privilege for those who can afford it, then clearly, my colleagues in the Class of 2011, you have your work cut out for you.
So how is it that I came to the place where I am in my life now – a physician and medical director of a humanitarian and disaster relief organization, called AmeriCares. And why does this new role contribute to my personal sense of satisfaction and happiness? More importantly, does it even matter whether I am happy or not? Isn’t this all about some form of ethical altruism – helping, serving or living for others, erasing disparities, and doing so at the sacrifice of our own self-interests?
Not on your life. And not on mine either.
The story I wish to share with you is a blatantly personal one beginning with a kind of literary relationship between two very different women, both of whom greatly influenced my life. The first was a Russian immigrant, Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum, who arrived in the United States in 1926, while in her early twenties, and began writing. The second was my mother, Anita Ioppolo Bia, born in that same year, 1926, youngest of seven in an immigrant Sicilian family, patiently practicing their one true faith – an abiding faith in education. I can still see my mother, in her early thirties, raising four sons in the Bronx, stealing precious time to read, before ethnic Mediterranean havoc completely overtook the dinner table in our apartment. You have all seen that movie, I am sure. Often I found her avidly reading the works of Alisa Rosenbaum, whom she revered….but I am getting ahead in my story.
We might first consider some critical aspects of your social contract – the one that defines your medical professionalism from this point on, once you take that Hippocratic oath. They include your putting patient welfare and autonomy first and placing them within a greater commitment to social justice. In return for your service to individual patients and contributing to the public good, for your assurance of competence and a high level of morality, for your integrity, your accountability, transparency and objective advice – you will be accorded very significant privileges as physicians. They include deep trust, autonomy and self-regulation, participation in public policy, funding for what we value in both patient care and medical research in addition to many personal rewards. However, there is one other proviso. The medical social contract calls for altruistic service. But ethical altruism stipulates that one’s deeds benefit the recipient, and not necessarily one’s self. The word altruism is derived from Latin through French and refers to “other people.” Auguste Comte, a French philosopher, coined the term, and he believed that individuals had a moral obligation to renounce self-interest and live for others. Frankly, I do not agree with this concept.
In fact, I never understood why I felt such discomfort with this idea of altruism as solely for the benefit of others until 1982. My father died suddenly and within months so did my mother, both at a young age. My mom died just two weeks before Peggy and I left on our first trip to Hôpital Albert Schweitzer in Haiti’s Artibonite Valley. That hospital, built by Dr. and Mrs. Mellon, provided ample opportunity to practice our craft using the skills that Peggy has been so insistent upon transmitting to you – listening to and with one’s heart and using one’s hands to both diagnose and touch another person’s life. On our return to Yale, I did my requisite medical Grand Rounds. During question and answers, I was lauded by a generous colleague for my “altruism.” I knew in my marrow there was something very wrong in that. “You don’t understand,” I said. “At this point in my life, I needed Haiti one hell of a lot more than Haiti needed me.” It was really in my own moral and physical self-interest to be in Haiti, where I achieved some healing. But healing whom? Healing myself, mostly. Haiti and its people had intersected with both my personal grief and medical skills. Together they had become part of a personal re-emergence. At that time, without telephone lines, computers, third party payers and with seemingly endless medical needs in rural Haiti, I found myself appreciating how I could make a difference – one patient at a time. It made me happy, and that very much mattered to me.
You see, no set of religious or societal mandates could have sent me there, nor would any forced marching orders have produced this kind of response in me. So I began to understand something about professional altruism. I think my mother, Anita, or Alisa Rosenbaum, for that matter, would have grabbed me by the shirt and said, “Listen Frankie. (She called me Frankie). You have to own it. If your good works are not yours, then no matter how good you are at them, no matter how much you give – if they are done solely at the request or even the mandate of others you will not be happy –not as happy as you deserve to be.”
They both would have understood that ultimately it was very much about me, and reject the classical concept of altruism, or selfless giving to others, because it excludes benefit to the person who does the giving. As if receiving something in return diluted or contaminated the effort. No, there is always something very much about service that is critical to one’s own inner needs. Once a person recognizes those needs, the rest will follow. I regretted not being able to return from Haiti, and tell my own mother she was right in person, except while standing quietly in a cemetery before a stolid, granite stone with the newly carved names of my parents in it.
So what formula for professional happiness can I offer you over your next forty years? It is a contract – the social contract. It is one that has already been written, not for you but by you. And will you have to “altruistically” surrender your personal interests, your autonomy and the primary reason for your existence – life, liberty and the pursuit of your own personal happiness? My answer is decidedly, no.
Others have wrestled with this moral issue beautifully during their lives. I found one solution written on the walls of the Schweitzer Hospital itself. In his own words:
I do not know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.
You see “Self-ishness” becomes a virtue when your own happiness is tied to service, just as Schweitzer described – finding whatever uses you up to your fullest capacity, and knowing that you are loving nearly every minute of work. It really matters very little what peculiar gemisch of motivations leads you to this end. We are all different in that regard, as different as our destinies. In Hebrew one says tikkun olam, a sort of taking the world in for repairs. In Hindi, paropakari sewa which is not selfless service but includes benefit for the one who gives. In Spanish, probably best expressed when working together in solidaridad, and in Kiswahili, huduma or simply, service. Regardless, what matters is that you own your own motives completely.
Yale alumni have been known for their unusual sense of service over the past 200 years. One of your predecessors, Dr. Kinari Webb, Yale class of 2002 found her passion for medicine growing adjacent to the threatened rain forests of Borneo. Her motivations are complex, and may not match your own, but you can always bring your skills to her new hospital when it suits you. And I hope you will contact our Medical Outreach Program at AmeriCares for the pharmaceuticals and supplies when you need them. In our own community Dr. Suzanne Lagarde, my longtime friend and colleague – and respected gastroenterologist – visited post-Katrina Mississippi and did not like what she saw. Access to her medical specialty is virtually impossible for the uninsured. So while she continued her successful career here, she negotiated the byzantine process of obtaining a Mississippi medical license. For one very busy week every three months she cares for patients in Mississippi and performs procedures, such as endoscopy, to which they would never have access. Technology and new professional colleagues in Mississippi allow for more than adequate follow up. No wonder that Sue is an optimistic and happy person. Dr. Vivek Murthy, a recent Yale graduate, is co- founder and president of Doctors for America. He will make his own difference serving on President Obama’s Health Advisory Panel.
Personally, I could not be doing what I do on a daily basis, if I did not also practice medicine at AmeriCares Free Clinics for the uninsured because I need this piece to define myself as a physician. And you don’t have to go abroad or provide care for the uninsured to commit yourself to service. You just need to remain patient-centered, and neither dictated to nor consumed by a flawed system of healthcare. Then you will find your own happiness of personal excellence in service.
I find that in keeping with Yale tradition the class of 2011 has crafted its own version of the Hippocratic oath. But make no mistake, it all began with many of the people seated behind and around you – parents, grandparents and siblings who first taught you the language of service. Recall one of the first words they slipped into your vocabulary – share. Share your crayons, your bike, your stuff – your life. And that word echoes throughout the oath you wrote. I know because I asked Dean Nancy Angoff for a copy of it.
I will serve those in need without bias or prejudice, and I will never lose sight of the fundamental humanity that links us all.
These are your words, not mine
I will practice the art of medicine for the benefit of my patients above all else…..
You listened well to those early lessons. But you end it with a very important proviso. You say:
I know that I cannot effectively care for patients without also caring for myself. I will maintain perspective by seeking wellness, balance, and happiness in my own life, both within and outside my career.
This is the virtue in selfishness, because without meeting your own personal needs, you will be of very little use to others. You cannot share, what you don’t even have.
And I think you have gotten it right.
Returning to the two women who influenced me. Following my father, Anita and Alisa died within weeks of one another in the spring of 1982. Neither had lived to see the steady rise of Alisa’s literary and philosophical influences that followed. In 1991 – a survey was conducted for the Library of Congress. Respondents were asked about the most influential books in their lives. Alisa’s work came in second after something called The Bible. When Alisa Rosenbaum reached the United States in 1926 she adopted and wrote extensively under her new name, Ayn Rand, and that book was Atlas Shrugged. Unbelievable. Can this be true?
Alisa’s work has been hijacked and co-opted by elements in our society that are the most eager to maintain inequalities. They quote her philosophy of objectivism as their excuse for continued disparities – they speak of individualism versus your personal social contract with society, free market capitalism versus intelligent economic and social policy, and severely limiting the role of government, rather than bending it to the public good, especially in healthcare. This is an egregious distortion of her work and it serves to foster even more inequalities in healthcare. The antidote for this movement is to both find and connect with your own personal prescription for service. This will not only enhance your professional lives, it will mitigate against such inequalities and healthcare disparities.
I believe the life we have been given to lead is our own responsibility, and does have our happiness as a primary goal. To the extent that we forfeit that primary goal we defeat the purpose of our own lives. My mother knew that to be a truly moral human being one must act upon one’s own rational self-interests. You also deserve to be the beneficiary of your own moral actions. Let no institution, no system, no healthcare industry or “business ethic” take that away from you, and you are guaranteed a great measure of personal happiness. And that, I can assure you, is one of this world’s most infectious entities. My best to you all.
(Haiti Libre) -
President Michel Martelly finds that individuals are circulaing on the Internet a "decree, remobilizing the military component of the public force." There is no doubt that the authors of this tract are clearly trying to cause trouble within the population.
President Michel Joseph Martelly, wishes to clarify that he never took any decision authorizing the remobilization of the Armed Forces of Haiti. Therefore, he asks the Haitian people to not cede to the manipulations of any sector.
The President of the Republic, while reiterating his determination, in accordance with the Haitian Constitution, to provide the country with an armed force, calls upon all citizens in general and those interested in the issue in particular, to remain calm. On November 18, 2011, the Presidency will officially inform the nation of provisions adopted within the framework of the establishment of the new public security force.
(Prensa Latina) -
Port-au-Prince - The Haitian Senate has unanimously passed a resolution demanding an end to the U.S. blockade of Cuba.
At the suggestion of Senators Westner Polycarpe, Jean Baptiste Bien Aime, Maxime Roumer, Kely C. Bastien, Jean William Jeanty and Jean Charles Moise, the Senate called on the Haitian government to express solidarity with Cuba and declare the U.S. blockade as unjust and unjustified.
According to the resolution, Haiti has always defended the principles of peoples' self-determination and sovereignty since its independence in 1804.
The Senate also takes into account that Cuban society has made big achievements in different sectors, chiefly in education, health and science since the triumph of its Revolution.
The Haitian Senate considers that the U.S. blockade seriously damages Cuba's development, and has caused losses worth 975 billion dollars over the past 50 years.
(Defend Haiti) -
PORT-AU-PRINCE - Parliamentarians denounced the creation by President Michel Martelly of 14 new Secretaries of State. They consider this a burden for the public treasury. The Martelly-Conille government has 18 Ministers and 19 Secretaries of State.
Before, 7 was the number of state secretaries. Today, it has increased to 19 with the arrival of the new team. 3 of them are attached to the Ministry of the Interior, two others are linked to the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training.
Two secretaries of state are also attached to Trade and industry Department, and Public works, transport and communication.
Senator Steven Benoit (Ouest/Alternative) criticized such decisions. “The internal laws of these Ministries don’t mention creation of Secretaries of State attached to them. In addition, such structures are not budgeted for”, regrets the lawmaker.
(Defend Haiti) -
PORT-AU-PRINCE - The Prime Minister, Garry Conille and other members of the Supreme Council of the National Police (CSPN) were called Saturday morning to the Senate, while Minister of Justice, Josue Pierre-Louis, and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Michel Brunache, are expected to show up in the afternoon.
Prime Minister Conille is expected to show up with the Minister of the Interior, Thierry Mayard-Paul, the Director General of the Haitian Police Mario Andresol, and Secretary of State for Public Safety Reginald Delva.
"This measure allows the National Assembly to acquire more information on MP Arnel Bellizaire (Delmas & Tabarre/Veye-Yo)’s arrest, regardless of his parliamentary immunity, before making any decision," said Senate President, Rodolphe Joazile (Nord-Est/Alternative), quoted by Alterpresse.
The questioning session began on November 3. The Assembly of Senators Office, at Senator Steven Benoit's request, adopted a suspension of the meeting after more than seven hours of fruitless discussions.
Josue Pierre-Louis and Michel Brunache have each requested a written report.... Other senators also requested the extension of the inquiry to other ministers, or other senior officials of the public administration, in order to shed light on the issue.
This situation has taken place after the arrest and release last week of Deputy Arnel Belizaire, whose head of state, Michel Martelly, is considered the "prime contractor".
Martelly intervened Thursday, November 3rd to say that the presidency has nothing to do "near or far" in the Belizaire case.
(Defend Haiti) - By Jonel Juste
PORT-AU-PRINCE - "The Government Prosecutor did order the Bélizaire arrest," said Prime Minister Garry Conille this Saturday. He was questioned by Senator Steven Benoit (Ouest/Alternative) about the author of Delmas-Tabarre Deputy’s sequester.
Prime Minister Garry Conille, Minister of the Interior, Thierry Mayard-Paul, and National Police Chief Mario Andresol responded to the invitation of the Senate on Saturday to shed light on the Arnel Bélizaire (Delmas & Tabarre/Veye-Yo) case.
The Interpellation Session in the Senate began a few hours ago. Elected officials want to know who ordered the police mobilization to arrest MP Bélizaire.
Prime Minister Conille said the government commissioner ordered the arrest. The PM said he doesn’t intend to blame anyone, and will take his share of the responsibility in this case as head of government. The Government Prosecutor's arrest of MP Bélizaire was because it was "a case of a repeat offender."
In addition, Senator Benoit asked Minister Thierry Mayard Paul to explain his presence at the Port-au-Prince airport on the day of the arrest of Bélizaire, where there was an assault on airport employees.
"I didn’t assault anyone at the airport," said Mr. Mayard Paul.
On his presence at the airport on October 27, he indicated that his wife had to leave that day. "I was accompanying her," said the minister showing off tickets as evidence.
Furthermore, Mr. Mayard-Paul said he has not attended any meeting to arrest Bélizaire. "No I never did," said the Minister of the Interior, who said he is Arnel Belizaire’s "great friend".
"I never gave the order to stop Belizaire, nor did the President of the Republic, who has no right to order the arrest of anybody," the lawyer argued; adding that President Martelly would never ask him to do something illegal...
(Defend Haiti) -
PORT-AU-PRINCE - President Michel Martelly is real "danger," says pro-Lavalas Senator Moise Jean-Charles (Nord/Inite). The parliamentarian added that the president is an "unstable" leader and accuses him of lying in regards to the Bélizaire case; he "dropped his pants in front of elected officials."
Senator Jean-Charles, one of the more fierce opponents to Michel Martelly called, last Thursday, for the impeachment of President Martelly. Martelly, the former singer is "a danger to Haiti and the Americas," stated the senator of the North during the questioning of the Minister of Justice, Josue Pierre-Louis, and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Michel Brunache, in the Senate, Saturday, according to Radio Kiskeya .
"Mr. President Martelly is unstable", Jean-Charles declared as he criticized the Head of state for his statement of non-involvement in a illegally-deemed arrest of Deputy Arnel Bélizaire (Delmas & Tabarre/Veye-Yo), October 27th.
Jean-Charles argued a leader who dares to lie to the nation should be impeached. Such a man would be ready to disclaim responsibility for anything that might go wrong later to other political opponents, he added.
The senator states that the National Palace tenant has his daggers drawn with the press, senators, deputies and part of the international community.
(Haiti Libre) -
Friday, on the eve of his appearance before the Senate, as part of his interpellation in the Bélizaire case, Mr. Josué Pierre-Louis, the Minister of Justice and Public Safety said he's "calm and serene." Reacting to the allegations of parliamentarians, who consider the arrest of Deputy Bélizaire as being illegal and arbitrary, the Minister of Justice stated that "only judges of the courts can rule on this issue... Article 173-1 of the Constitution states: challenges whose purpose is civil rights is exclusively within the jurisdiction of the courts. "In this context, as a judge of my state, I can not judge an illegal and arbitrary arrest. Just as the parliamentarians who defend the constitutional principles that, according to them, are not respected, all authorities are required to comply with Article 26 and 26.1 of the Constitution, which clearly outlines the steps and procedures in the case of an arrest considered arbitrary and illegal."
Regarding the decision of the Government Commissioner, Mr. Félix Léger, to apprehend Deputy Bélizaire, the Minister explained, "If I felt that the Government Commissioner had made a mistake on the administrative side, I would have revoked him"... ""The judiciary is fully independent [...] we did what needed to be done under the procedure laid out, according to a consensus between the three powers. If there is problem, it is not at the level of the government. We must look elsewhere."
Declaring that he's ready to accept any decision of the Upper House, the Minister believes, however, "that the procedures of the interpellation have not been obeyed to as prescribed in Article 107 and 107-1 of the Constitution. "An evil must not be corrected by an evil," by a clear violation of the law mother. The Senate should not interpellate a Minister while the Parliament is in extraordinary session."
(Haiti Libre) -
Yesterday, on the sidelines of the interpellation session, related to the case of Deputy Arnel Bélizaire, (session postponed [in principle] to tomorrow Saturday), Senator Joseph Lambert stated that decision had been taken to "go fast" in solidarity with his colleagues of the Chamber of Deputies, and that it's necessary to not enter into a logic "ofo cutting off heads, just for cutting heads," but the Senate must show that it is "an Assembly of the Wise..."; moderate statements that will surprise some observers, who will undoubtedly ask if the statements of Senator are part of a strategy, of a surge of wisdom, of a return to reason, or if they are motivated by the fear of an uncertain future...
"There are decisions that were taken in the Senate of the Republic, in a hurry, in a spirit of solidarity with the Chamber of Deputies. In the phase where we are now, minds have calmed down. This period of overflow is decreasing more and more. Now we see that it is imperative, before taking any action concerning the Minister of Justice or the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, that the other members of the CSPN [High Council of the National Police] are invited. I mean the Prime Minister, the Minister of Interior and the Director General of Police to establish the responsibilities of each of these personalities...
This is the ideal decision, because we can not in any way fight the arbitrarily by the arbitrary [...] Take for example the Secretary of State Mr. Brunache, who was not even invested into his functions of Secretary of State...., and who is supposed to undergo a decision of the Assembly of Senators. [...] Responsibilities will be set at all levels and, as stated by President Martelly, all those who are involved in one way or another in this case will have to to suffer sanctions, from the Assembly of Deputies or the Senate or even, sanctions that could come from the executive branch itself. [...]
We said that there is a set of people who have responsibilities in the country. Before perhaps "to cut off the heads", of Mr. Josué Pierre-Louis, it is imperative to question all the other people who at one level or another, may have a responsibility in this case. Once the responsibilities have been set, [...] we will be able to sanction the people that we are supposed to sanction in this case..."
Friday, November 4, 2011
(Business Week) - By Jan M. Olsen (AP)
Prosperous countries have not lived up to their promises to help the poor, the U.N. declared Wednesday, saying poor people often go hungry because of polluted water, drought and other environmental factors that are increasing poverty.
In its annual report on the quality of life worldwide, the United Nations Development Program said more should be done to address international environmental concerns and that sustainability must become a way of life as the world population grows above 7 billion.
"The key finding of the report is that the very impressive long-term development progress that we have been able to document in low-income countries in recent decades may slow down or even be reversed unless we, as a world community, come to terms with these central environmental challenges, which include climate change but are not restricted to climate change," said William Orme, who oversees publication of the report.
The poorest countries, which tend to be tropical, arid and rural, are most vulnerable to extreme weather events including droughts and typhoons that impact crops, forest resources and fisheries, he told the U.N. launch of the report in New York.
Orme warned that "all these things will converge in a very negative way unless global action is taken."
UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said in the report's introduction that "sustainability is not exclusively or even primarily an environmental issue."
"It is fundamentally about how we choose to live our lives, with an awareness that everything we do has consequences for the seven billions of us here today, as well as for the billions more who will follow," she said.
The report noted that although aid to poorer countries grew 23 percent from 2005 to 2009, it was not enough.
"Rich countries have consistently failed to meet their stated pledges," including promises made by the G-8, the European Union and the United Nations to give $100 billion a year by 2020 to fight the impact of climate change in developing countries.
"The pledges fall well short of estimated needs, and disbursements fall well short of pledges. Most of the 'new and additional' funds pledged at the 2009 U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen have not been delivered, and less than 8 percent of pledges for climate change were disbursed in 2010," the report said.
Last month, the world population hit 7 billion. The U.N. estimates the world's population will reach 8 billion by 2025 and 10 billion by 2083.
The UNDP report, published annually since 1990, said high living standards don't need to be carbon-fueled and follow the examples of the richest countries, adding CO2 emissions have been closely linked with national income growth.
Among the 187 nations surveyed, Norway, Australia and the Netherlands topped the annual Human Development Index while Congo, Niger and Burundi were listed last.
The United States was fourth, ahead of New Zealand and Canada, but when the index is adjusted for internal inequalities in health, education and income, some of the wealthiest nations drop out of the UNDP's top 20, the report showed.
The U.S. falls to 23 on that list, South Korea drops from 15 to 32, and Israel -- at 17 -- falls to 25.
Associated Press Writer Edith Lederer contributed to this report from the United Nations in New York.
(British Red Cross) - By Ellie Matthews
In the UK, we accept toilets as an essential part of life, but it’s not often we sing their praises. The most publicity the humble lavatory gets is probably in the form of toilet humour. What goes on behind the bathroom door is shrouded in embarrassment, secrecy and a wide array of euphemisms, ranging from spending a penny to powdering your nose.
Hardly surprising then, if we sometimes forget how serious sanitation is. The fact is: toilets help save lives. From the gold-plated WC to the bog-standard public loo, they all ensure potentially harmful human waste is disposed of safely.
Most UK residents can take for granted that they’ll never be more than a few minutes from a functioning toilet. However, even before the 2010 earthquake, Haiti only had one toilet for every 1,000 people.
What do you get if millions of people don’t have sanitation?
With the worst sanitation in the western hemisphere, there are millions of people across Haiti without access to a toilet. Poor sanitation, compounded by the earthquake’s destruction, had devastating consequences; the cholera outbreak that began in Haiti last year has already killed 6,000 people.
The British Red Cross responded to the outbreak by setting up a cholera treatment center and oral rehydration points. It also started a cholera prevention education campaign that had reached over 214,000 people by the end of July 2011.
Once local communities made the connection between lack of sanitation and disease, demand for toilets was high. So, to complement the cholera response and recovery work it was already undertaking, the Red Cross started a programme to build toilets in the rural communities of Les Anglais, Coteaux, Chardonnieres and Port à Piment.
Why did the community build a latrine?
Jean Eubert Amardy, a Red Cross field officer, says: “People just go to the bathroom anywhere, and this leads to unsanitary conditions. Building latrines is one of the best ways to counter disease and keep people healthy.
“In some ways, the cholera outbreak that highlighted this situation has provided an opportunity to make a difference to the local sanitation situation and to tackle the causes of cholera and other diseases, and not just the symptoms.”
The project has built toilets for both vulnerable households and schools. It has worked with local communities to find affordable solutions that take into account environmental factors such as soil type.
Edma Maguerite has been hosting family members displaced by the earthquake. Local workmen employed by the Red Cross have just finished building her a composting latrine. She says: “We have never had a toilet so we are very satisfied that we will soon be able to have our own. This will make a big difference to our lives.”
(Haiti Libre) -
According to parliamentary sources, the Bureau of the Lower House yesterday, Thursday received a summons from Judge Bernard Saint-Vil, [responsible for the instruction of the investigation], addressed to Deputy Arnel Bélizaire, asking him to appear at the Office of the investigating judge, on Tuesday, November 8, 2011, to answer the charges of forgery, criminal association and escape.
Some parliamentarians, [unfavorable to the lifting of the immunity of Deputy Délizaire], see in this action of justice, a diversionary tactic to try to demobilize both Houses, who seek to dismiss some ministers.
Others [favorable to Martelly Government, believe that this convocation, aims to the contrary, to demonstrate that the authorities control the situation, despite the pressures that they are subject to since the arrest followed by the release of Deputy Bélizaire.
For his part, the Government Commissioner, Mr. Félix Léger, accused by the Parliamentarians of having acted illegally in this case, has declared "...only a higher court or a tribunal can say that the Government Commissioner acted improperly.
As part of this case, simply, we have brought the person in question befoe its body, ie the Chamber of Deputies ...., so the prosecution is waiting, the justice is waiting.
Now it is for a court to decide, to determine after investigation, to say if a magistrate has acted badly in this case. Now we are in a normal situation. The magistrate as part of his mission, looked at a record and he has responded. Now it's up to a court to say if the actions have been legal or illegal...
(Haiti Libre) -
As part of the sanctions envisaged against those allegedly responsible for the arrest, considered arbitrary, of Deputy Arnel Bélizaire, 15 senators had signed a resolution for the interpellation of Josué Pierre-Louis, the Minister of Justice and Michel Brunache, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
Convened yesterday, Thursday, the Minister of Justice did not show up. The latter has requested a postponement for a week in order to carry out in advance an investigation on the circumstances surrounding the arrest of Deputy Bélizaire.
For his part, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, although he also requested a postponement due to the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry on this case, was nevertheless present.
After more than six hours of waiting, the Senate did not even bring Michel Brunache into the Senate meeting room...
After more than seven hours of debate, wrangling, verbal excesse between supporters and opponents of the postponement of the session, of charges against elected officials in favor of the government team that would have deliberately sought to protect certain ministers, no real out of the crisis is in sight...
Senator Steven Benoît, at the origin of the censure motion, revealed that 14 senators were ready to dismiss the Minister of Justice. Senator Latortue stressed on the necessity to respect the request for postponement of the Minister of Justice, noting that Mr. Pierre Louis accepts the principle of the interpellation, while recalling that the objective of the Senate was to bring out first of all, the truth and not to dismiss a minister....
Although divided on the opportunity to postpone or not the session of interpellation, the Senate finally postponed to Saturday, the session of interpellation of the Minister of Justice and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
Senators, in the largest division, have wished the enlargement of the arrest to other ministers or the convocation of other senior officials...
Joazile Rudolph, President of the Senate has finally made accepted the idea to convene leaders of the Supreme Council of the National Police (CSPN) before a possible dismissal of the authorities interpellated.
On the proposal of Senator Benoît, the President of the Senate, decided to convene the Prime Minister, Dr. Garry Conille, the Interior Minister, Thierry Mayard Paul and the Director General of the National Police of Haiti, Mario Andrésol, that will open [in principle] the Senate session tomorrow Saturday... A few hours will follow... the hearings of the Minister of Justice and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. If this session is held Saturday, it is not 100% sure, given the discussions behind the scenes and the executive.
(Defend Haiti) -
PORT-AU-PRINCE "President Michel Martelly is author and coauthor of the sequestration of the member Arnel Bélizaire. Ministers Joshua Pierre-Louis and Thierry Mayard-Paul are just performers," said Deputy Sorel Jacinthe (Moron Chamberllan/Inite), President of the Chamber of Deputies.
In an article published in Le Nouvelliste, the president of the Lower House is reported as being outraged by the comments of the Head of State, who denied on Thursday any involvement in the brief detention of the member Arnel Bélizaire (Delmas & Tabarre/Veye-Yo).
"Martelly can say that he was badly advised in handling the case, but that he is not involved in the imprisonment of fellow Bélizaire is lying to the nation," Jacinthe said at the end of a mass celebration in Ennery at Saint-Hubert, in the town of Upper Artibonite.
The President, as a human, can make mistakes, but to not admit mistakes is very serious, said the President of the Chamber of Deputies, annoyed by the air about Martelly claiming that the president has nothing to do with what happened, or even remotely.
"The Haitian people have made a bad choice. They chose a monster," Sorel Jacinthe continued in anger, reported the newspaper.
The Lower House no longer recognizes the authority of the Ministers of Justice, Josue Pierre-Louis, and of the Interior, Local Territorial and National Defense, Thierry Mayard Paul, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Michel Brunache, and the chief prosecutor in Port-au-Prince, Félix Léger.
The Lower House will be back in session in January. Deputies promise a vote of no-confidence to the relevant authorities if they do not resign.
MP Eloune Doréus (Môle Saint Nicolas/Alternative), who also serves Ennery, described the statement of President Martelly, at the Toussaint Louverture International Airport in an arm sling as shocking. "Martelly is involved in ... 100% of the sequestration of Arnel Belizaire. And it is extremely serious....," lamented the parliamentary board member of the Organization of Struggling People (OPL).
The president is ridiculing the Parliament and the people of Haiti, she said, when the President stands for an arbitrary act he himself commanded.
"An independent commission to do what?" asked Doréus, who does not take seriously the declaration of the Head of State to have Prime Minister Garry Conille investigate as head of the commission.
At the foot of the aircraft, he said, Deputy Arnel Belizaire was kidnapped as a common bandit on the orders of the government commissioner, following an altercation between the Head of State and the Parliament.
Taken to the National Penitentiary, the same evening, Mr. Belizaire was released the next day without being questioned. The Commissioner Félix Léger, whose authority is questioned by Parliament, was taken off the case and transferred to the office of education. A few hours after the press conference of President Martelly, MP Belizaire received a summons from Judge Bernard Saint-Vil. The member has to go on the morning of November 8 to the office of the court house on charges of forgery, fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy, according to the convening Judge Saint-Vil.
In the notice, the judge did not question the status of member Arnel Belizaire...
(Defend Haiti) -
PORT-AU-PRINCE - Senator Moïse Jean-Charles (Nord/Inite) reports that political pressures in both the senate and at the executive are working to cancel the hearing of two members of the government who were called to answer for the arrest, ruled illegal, of Deputy Arnel Bélizaire (Delmas & Tabarre/Veye-Yo).
Senators who were absent at the special meeting held this past Friday, October 28 at the Senate of the Republic, are insisting that the names of the Minister of the Interior, Thierry Mayard-Paul and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Laurent Lamothe, are figured on the list of people to call, said Moïse Jean-Charles concurring with them.
According to Jean-Charles who voted for the resolution to interpellate, the cancellation of the meeting is being negotiated with members of the executive and members of parliament.
(Defend Haiti) -
PORT-AU-PRINCE - The Senate of the Republic on Thursday resolved to append to the list of two executives facing questioning. The two executives, the Minister of Justice, Josue Pierre-Louis and the Secretary of State, Michel Brunache, will be joined by 4 more members of the branch including the Prime Minister, Garry Conille.
Senators will interpellate:
•Prime Minister Garry Conille
•Minister of the Interior Thierry Mayard-Paul
•Minister of Justice Josue Pierre-Louis
•Secretary of State Foreign Affairs Michel Brunache
•Secretary of State Public Safety Reginald Delva
•Director General of the Police, Mario Andresol
There will be an early convocation of the heads of the Superior Council of the National Police (CSPN) at 10:00 am at the Diplomatic Room at the Toussaint L'Ouverture International Airport. This meeting is merely characterized as a questioning session to prepare for an interpellation session at 2:00 pm in the Senate.
The interpellation of the Minister of Justice may be postponed until November 11 as it was requested but it is not clear if senators will honor the request.
The Superior Council of the National Police (CSPN) consists of the Prime Minister, Ministers of the Interior and Justice, Secretary of State for Public Safety and the Director General of the Haitian National Police.
(AJC) - By Trenton Daniel (AP)
PORT-AU-PRINCE — Haitian President Michel Martelly returned to Haiti on Thursday after doctors in Miami performed surgery on his left shoulder.
The 50-year-old leader said the operation was to relieve pain in the shoulder that he had bothered him for more than five years because of his previous career as a musician.
Before he was elected president early this year, Martelly spent more than 20 years playing keyboard and singing under the stage name "Sweet Micky."
"Every time I lifted the left arm I had pain," he told reporters at the airport's diplomatic lounge, his arm in a sling. "I've come back strong and healthy."
He added that he also sometimes feels pain in his right shoulder, which may require surgery in the future.
Martelly left last week for the United States, saying he was going for medical treatment but without specifying the problem.
His departure coincided with anger over the jailing of a lawmaker who had been openly critical of the president. Police locked up legislator Arnel Belizaire for a night because they said he had escaped from the national prison on the chaotic day of the earthquake that shattered the capital on Jan. 12, 2010.
The detention of Belizaire, rare for a government official because investigators need to formally submit a request to lift immunity, sparked outrage among members of both houses in Parliament. The Chamber of Deputies called for the removal of two Cabinet ministers and another official who they believed followed Martelly's orders to lock up Belizaire.
Martelly and Belizaire had lashed out at each other on the grounds of the National Palace.
Martelly hadn't commented on the arrest until Thursday at the international airport, when he denied having any influence on the police action.
"Close or far away, the presidency doesn't have anything to do with the" matter, he said.
Martelly said he has asked his prime minister, Garry Conille, to set up a commission to examine what led to the arrest and to prevent something similar from happening again.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
I still need to learn how to rotate the video. Just tilt your head to the side to watch Williamise walk! She only recently has been able to do this feat. Quite an accomplishment since she never had hydrocephalus surgery and she is battling malnutrition.