Saturday, December 31, 2011



Haiti has had a difficult year of trying to rebuild and find homes for all those who lost their homes in the earthquake. At year's end there are still around 500,000 people living in refuge camps. Everyone is impatient about the lack of reconstruction but the task is massive. The quality of living in Haiti is not good and according the the Mercer Study, Port-au-Prince is in the Top 5 worst quality of living cities in the world. The hope of the people here in the city is that with Michel Martelly and a prime minister now in place is that the world and ngo's will work together with the government to improve Haiti's quality of living score. It sure would be good to see Haiti leave the Top 5 of poor quality of living countries in the world. Pray that the quality of living for the Haitian people will improve in 2012.

The 5 worst quality of living scores were in the following cities of the world:

1. Baghdad, Iraq -(221)
2. Bangui, Central African Republic - (220)
3. N'Djamena, Chad - (219)
4. Port-au-Prince, Haiti - (218)
5. Khartoum, Sudan - (217)


( )

■ European cities dominate worldwide quality of living rankings

■ Vienna ranks highest for quality of living; Baghdad, the lowest

■ Luxembourg ranks highest for personal safety; Baghdad, the lowest

■ In UK, Aberdeen and Glasgow rank 44 for personal safety; London ranks 68 out of 221 cities

Vienna has the best living standard in the world, according to the Mercer 2011 Quality of Living Survey. Zurich and Auckland follow in second and third position, respectively, and Munich is in fourth with Düsseldorf and Vancouver sharing fifth place. Frankfurt is in seventh, followed by Geneva in eighth, while Copenhagen and Bern share ninth place.

European cities represent over half the cities amongst the top 25 in the ranking . London (38) is the highest-ranking UK city and is followed by Birmingham (52), Aberdeen (54) and Glasgow (56). Belfast (63) is the lowest-ranking of the UK cities that Mercer surveys. Globally, the cities with the lowest quality of living are Khartoum, Sudan (217), Port-au-Prince, Haiti (218), N’Djamena, Chad (219), and Bangui, Central African Republic (220). Baghdad, Iraq (221) ranks last in Mercer’s table.

Mercer conducts the survey to help governments and multi-national companies compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments. Mercer’s Quality of Living reports provide valuable information and hardship premium recommendations for major cities throughout the world. Mercer’s Quality of Living index list covers 221 cities, ranked against New York as the base city.

This year, the survey separately identifies those cities with the highest personal safety ranking based on internal stability, crime levels, law enforcement effectiveness and the host country’s international relations. Luxembourg tops this personal safety ranking, followed by Bern, Helsinki and Zurich – all ranked at number two. Vienna ranks fifth, while Geneva and Stockholm both rank sixth. Baghdad (221) is the world’s least safe city, followed by N’Djamena, Chad (220), Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire (219), Bangui, Central African Republic (218), and Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (217).

Aberdeen and Glasgow both rank 44 and are the highest ranking UK cities on the personal safety list. Birmingham (53) and Belfast (63) both rank higher than London (68).

Slagin Parakatil, Senior Researcher at Mercer, commented: “Companies need to keep on top of current developments to ensure that their compensation packages remain competitive and continue to motivate expatriate employees. That means reviewing major events, such as social unrest, economic turmoil or natural disasters and their impact on the success of overseas placements.

“The top-ranking cities for personal safety and security are in politically stable countries with good international relations and relatively sustainable economic growth. Most of the low-scoring cities are in countries with, civil unrest, high crime levels and little law enforcement,” said Mr. Parakatil.


Canadian cities dominate the top of the ranking for this region. Vancouver (5) has the best quality of living and is followed by Ottawa (14), Toronto (15) and Montreal (22). Honolulu (29) and San Francisco (30) are the highest-ranking US cities. In Central and South America, Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe (63), ranks highest, followed by San Juan, Puerto Rico (72), and Montevideo, Uruguay (77). Port-au-Prince, Haiti (218), ranks lowest in the region.

Canadian cities also dominate the higher end of the personal safety ranking for this region, with Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver all ranked jointly at 17. In the United States, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston and San Francisco all rank 53. Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe (40), is again the highest-ranking city in Central and South America, followed by Nassau, Bahamas (66), San Juan, Puerto Rico (79), and Panama City, Panama (92). At the other end of the personal-safety scale, Caracas, Venezuela (205), Port-au-Prince, Haiti (202), Bogotá, Colombia (196), and Kingston, Jamaica (192), rank lowest in the region.

Mr Parakatil said: “The disparity in living standards between North and South America is still considerable. Though a number of South and Central American countries have experienced positive change, political and safety issues predominate in the region. In particular, drug trafficking, drugs cartels and high levels of street crime, combined with natural disasters, continue to impair the region’s quality of living.”


Vienna is the European city with the highest quality of living. German and Swiss cities dominate the top of the ranking, with three cities each in the top 10. Zurich (2) is followed by Munich (4), Düsseldorf (5), Frankfurt (7) and Geneva (8), while Bern shares ninth place with Copenhagen.

In the next tier are Amsterdam (12), Hamburg (16), Berlin (17), Luxembourg (19), Stockholm (20), Brussels (22), Nurnberg (24) and Dublin (26). Paris ranks 30 and is followed by Oslo (33), Helsinki (35) and London (38). Lisbon is number 41, Madrid is at 43 and Rome ranks 52. Prague, Czech Republic (69), is the highest-ranking eastern European city, followed by Budapest, Hungary (73), Ljubljana, Slovenia (75), Vilnius, Lithuania (79), and Warsaw, Poland (84). The lowest-ranking European city is Tbilisi, Georgia (214).

With seven cities in the top 10, European cities also fare well in the personal safety ranking. Luxembourg ranks highest, followed by Bern, Helsinki and Zurich, which all rank second. Vienna (5) is ahead of jointly ranked Geneva and Stockholm (6). In Eastern Europe, Ljubljana (30) and Prague (47) rank highest for personal safety, whereas Moscow (199) and Tbilisi (215) rank lowest.

Mr Parakatil said: “European cities in general continue to have high standards of living, because they enjoy advanced and modern city infrastructures combined with high-class medical, recreational and leisure facilities. But economic turmoil, high levels of unemployment and lack of confidence in political institutions make their future positions hard to predict. Countries such Austria, Germany and Switzerland still fare particularly well in both the quality of living and personal safety rankings, yet they are not immune from decreases in living standards if this uncertainty persists.”


Auckland (3) is the highest-ranking city for quality of living in the Asia-Pacific region and is followed by Sydney (11), Wellington (13), Melbourne (18) and Perth (21). The highest-ranking Asian cities are Singapore (25) and Tokyo (46). Hong Kong (70), Kuala Lumpur (76), Seoul (80) and Taipei (85) are other major Asian cities ranked in the top 100. Meanwhile, Dhaka, Bangladesh (204), Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (206), and Dushanbe, Tajikistan (208), rank lowest in the region.

At 8, Singapore ranks highest for personal safety, followed by Auckland and Wellington – both ranked 9. Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney all rank 25, and all the Japanese cities on the list (Tokyo, Kobe, Nagoya, Osaka and Yokohama) rank 31. The region’s lowest-ranking city for personal safety is Karachi, Pakistan (216).

“As a region, Asia Pacific is highly diverse. Countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Singapore dominate the top of both our general and personal safety rankings, in part because they have been continuously investing in infrastructure and public services,” said Mr Parakatil. “In general, the region has seen a greater focus on city planning. Nevertheless, many Asian cities rank at the bottom, mainly due to social instability, political turmoil, natural disasters such as typhoons and tsunamis, and lack of suitable infrastructure for expatriates.

Middle East and Africa

Dubai, UAE (74), ranks highest for quality of living across the Middle East and Africa and is followed by Abu Dhabi, UAE (78), Port Louis, Mauritius (82), and Cape Town, South Africa (88). Johannesburg ranks 94 and is followed by Victoria, Seychelles (95), Tel Aviv (99), Muscat, Oman (101), and Doha, Qatar (106). Africa has 18 cities in the bottom 25, including Bangui, Central African Republic (220), N’Djamena, Chad (219), Khartoum, Sudan (217), and Brazzaville, Congo (214). Baghdad (221) is the lowest-ranking city both regionally and globally.

At 23, Abu Dhabi has the highest personal safety ranking in the Middle East and is followed by Muscat (29), Dubai (39), and Doha (67). Port Louis (59) and Victoria (79) are the only African cities in the top 100. Elsewhere in the region, Tunis, Tunisia, ranks 140, Casablanca, Morocco, is at 147 and Cairo ranks 176. At 185, Algiers is followed by Tehran (188), and towards the bottom of the list is Tripoli (204). In terms of personal safety, Baghdad (221) is the lowest-ranking city regionally and globally, along with N’Djamena, Chad (220), Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire (219), Bangui, Central African Republic (218), and Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (217).

Mr Parakatil said: “The recent wave of violent protests across North Africa and the Middle East has temporarily lowered living standards in the region. Many countries such as Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen have seen their quality of living levels drop considerably. Political and economic reconstruction in these countries, combined with funding to serve basic human needs, will undoubtedly boost the region as a key player in the international arena.”

He added: “Currently, expatriates and locals need to exercise extreme caution when going about their everyday activities in the most dangerous cities. The roots of unrest vary from country to country, and many places remain volatile. So companies should ensure they monitor the impact this might have on their local expatriates. Furthermore, employers should review their expatriate strategies to ensure they contain specific safety measures such as secure accommodation and effective communication channels if evacuation becomes necessary.”

"It is also worth noting that some of this region's cities, including Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Muscat, rank quite high on the personal safety list. This is mainly due to their internal stability and low crime levels," concluded Mr Parakatil.


(AFP) - By Sapa

"The number of victims has reached 45," Ambassador Jean Geneus said in
a telephone conference call from Havana.

"There was also about ten bodies that could not be recovered" because
they were trapped in underwater caves, he said.

The Cuban Coast Guard on Saturday discovered the half-sunken Haitian
boat just off Point Maisi on the eastern shore of the communist-ruled
island. They put the toll the following day at 38, and said that
another 87 people, including four children and seven women, had been

Geneus said it is difficult to know the exact number of people who had
been aboard the ship, but said it was "at least 160."

The survivors will be flown on Friday to Port-au-Prince, Geneus said.

Rusty, decrepit and overcrowded boats carrying migrants from Haiti are
often found in distress in the Caribbean Sea.

In 2007, a boat with at least 160 Haitians sank in the Caribbean Sea,
leaving 82 passengers dead. According to survivors, some of the
victims were eaten by sharks swarming the warm waters in the area.

Thousands of Haitian boat people arrived in the United States since
the early 1970s and settling in Miami, Florida.

But in 1981, Washington and Port-au-Prince reached an agreement under
which boats with Haitian migrants are interdicted at sea and their
passengers returned to Haiti.

Haiti is still recovering from a devastating 7.0-magnitude quake in
January 2010 that leveled the capital, killed more than 225 000
people, and left one in seven people homeless in a nation that was
already the poorest in the Americas.

The humanitarian situation has been further aggravated by a cholera
epidemic that has killed more than 5 000 people, food insecurity
affecting 4.5 million and an active hurricane season that destroyed
homes and crops.


(Defend Haiti) -

OTTAWA – In an interview with the Canadian newspaper La Presse, the Foreign Minister of Canada, John Baird, said that he is "not at all" satisfied with the reconstruction process in Haiti.

Recognizing that there are still major problems in the country, the Canadian diplomat renews the long-term commitment of his country to Haiti.

The Minister deplored the fact that nearly two years after the earthquake, half the rubble is still in the streets. The Canadian diplomat has also raised the issue of cadastre as an obstacle to reconstruction.

Like other obstacles to reconstruction, the Chancellor of Canada, spoke about the political delays recorded after the election of Michel Martelly as President of Haiti.

"He came to power with all this enthusiasm, ready to tackle the problems, and then he had to spend four months without a government”, he said.

We are pleased that the government was finally approved by the Parliament, so that we can get to work with him, "stated the Canadian diplomat.

"Mr. Baird also mentioned the "differences of opinion" between President Martelly and Canada on the army restoration matter, but said however, that" Canada remains firmly committed to Haiti. "

"We remain committed to working with President Martelly, and his government on reconstruction, he said. This is not an effort of a year, it is a ten-year effort, "assured the head of Canadian diplomacy who announced a visit to Haiti in 2012 to follow up on reconstruction efforts.


(Haiti Libre) -

Pierre Raymond Dumas, the Minister of Culture and Communication has proceeded, this Thursday, December 29, to several installations of officials, including the new Secretary of State for Heritage, Ms. Elsa Baussan Noël who declared " the level of creation of the Secretariat of State for Heritage, it was just the idea of the Government, to be able to link the historical, cultural heritage of this country to the promotion of tourism [...] I will try during my tenure to make the link between the tourism and cultural sector of the country [...]to have more tourists. We will create a Board that will manage the historic parks to be able to make them profitable, so that they can survive by themselves and get more money at the level of ISPAN and the various entities involved in the restoration of historical monuments,... a sector that creates jobs..."

The Minister of Culture has also installed a new Director at the Institute for the Protection of National Heritage (ISPAN) He is the engineer, architect, Henry Robert Jolibois. The newcomer says that he will be listening of anyone who can help him to carry out his task

Pierre Raymond Dumas has also named Michèle Frich as Director of the Museum of National Pantheon (MUPANAH). The latter has welcomed the work of his two predecessors, including the outgoing Director, Mr. Robert Paret. He promised to work for the proper functioning of MUPANAH and the establishment of museums in various parts of the country.

Finally, the painter Philip Daudart was installed by the Minister as the head of the National School of Arts (ENARTS).


(Haiti Libre) -

If the concerns of Senator Steven Benoît, President of the Commission of Human Rights in the Senate of the Republic, are legitimate concerning the presidential pardon of some prisoners on December 31, it is difficult to understand, that he falsely claims that there will be release 200 prisoners. A statement all the more surprising, that he said he has discussed this with the Prime Minister and Minister of Justice. If this were the case, Mr. Michel Pierre Brunache, the Minister of Justice, would certainly not fail to remind him of his public statement this week where he said very clearly that from "a preselected list of nearly 200 detainees; ... it will belong to the President of the Republic to decide if it's only 10 or 20 who will get through this... [.The number of prisoners to pardon is left to the discretion of the President." The statements of Senator Benoît can only contribute to create confusion in the minds of citizens, who are already struggling to be properly informed and may cause unpredictable reactions in the population.

Senator Steven Benoît declared "...When I heard the news I was a little worried [...] we will release 200 persons. This may be a good thing, but I would not like it that in the rush [...] errors creep into the list and that the President himself, animated by good intentions, as he has no time and that he must do this before December 31 [...] if 10 known criminals or assassins goes go on the list [...] notorious criminals who deserve to spend their entire lives behind bars [...] when I heard the news I took care to call the Prime Minister, and I also took care to converse with Minister Brunache. I explained to him that I understood the gestures of the President [...] I told him, ... be careful, .... we should not go too fast, because there is a network of human rights. I am the President of the Human Rights Commission in the Senate [...]

There is an ombudsman [...] It is important that the list is filtered through these bodies, [...] to be sure that there have been no errors made on the list for the President [...] We commend the President for the initiative, but we say, that we must do things properly. It is better to release them on January 4-5, and take the necessary time to study 200 cases; ... when they were sentenced,.... why they have been convicted, ... does the society have no problem with people who are on the list? In this case, I say Bravo to the President,... let's do it. But myself, as head of the Commission on Human Rights in the Senate, I have an obligation to my colleagues and to the Haitian people, and to the victims; to ensure that justice is done [...] it is not an attack against the President, or the Minister of Justice,... far from it [...] I just want to make sure that this decision is a conscious decision and that there is no error in the decision..."


(Defend Haiti) -

PORT-AU-PRINCE - President Michel Martelly on Friday stated contrarily to what was said by the presidents of the legislature, that he did not receive the signed Constitution of Haiti. Martelly says he has a team working on the matter.

Haiti is in its 208th day without a constitution in its official record Le Moniteur.

The Constitution of Haiti 1987 was amended in a May 9th session of the 49th Legislature that had a quorum. President Michel Martelly in the third week of his presidency declared the Constitution of Haiti erroneous based on recorded video from the National Television of Haiti.

On Monday, the President and Vice-President of the Parliament said a corrected Constitution based on the recorded video and bearing the signatures of both presidents and secretaries of the National Assembly were sent to the National Palace for publication.

On Friday, President Michel Martelly denied having received any document signed by the lawmakers.

President Martelly announced his own team was working on the matter.

"For the amendments we have another team that we are setting up, because I have received mixed signals. For example Mr. Bernard Gousse who is right now in Canada, has sent an important message to me: 'don't proceed, don't proceed, don't proceed'..."

"... and we have the professor Georges Michel, who is telling us 'don't proceed, don't proceed, don't proceed'."

"... and we have other people that are counseling us to proceed."

"For us, we don't want to proceed with our heads down. We want to see where we are going. It is a country that we are managing, not follies that we are doing."

Dr. George Michel who was on the commission that established the Constitution of Haiti in 1987, and is now serving on the commission to reinstate the Haitian army, is not an elected representative in the Haitian legislature. Dr. Michel is opposed to the publication of the correct Constitution because of the changes made to ARTICLE 149.

Martelly says he also received a phone call from the former Minister of Justice (2004-2006) and rejected Prime Minister-designate Bernard Gousse, currently in Canada, who told him to not publish the corrected Constitution. Gousse is also not an elected member of the legislature.


(Haiti Libre) -

The Monitoring Committee of the Belizaire Case, created recently by the Chamber of Deputies has the power to end the political crisis that has poisoned relations between the executive and the parliament, or plunge the country into a crisis even more deep which could jeopardize the peace and social reconstruction of the country...

Composed of nine members from different political blocs: Benoît Laguerre, Lubern Pierre, Jean Tolbert Alexis, Worins Périlus, Poly Faustin, Gros-nègre Accilus, Jean Romelus Lisma, Jean Danton Léger and Guerda Benjamin, this Commission, charged to shed light on the events related to the arrest of Deputy Bélizaire has the choice to decide to close the case, to challenge other members of the government in accordance with Article 129 of the Constitution , or to indict the Chief of State, according to Article 186 of the Constitution. The latter choice could undoubtedly not only amplify the crisis, but also provoke strong uncontrollable reactions from a population whose patience has reached its limits, and who claim the lifting of immunity of deputy Bélizaire, so that justice may rule on the situation of the elected.

The parliamentary work in the lower House will resume on Monday, January 9, 2012.


(Haiti Libre) -

Mr. Thierry Mayard-Paul, the Minister of the Interior, of Territorial Collectivities and National Defense asked Friday morning, Jean Marc Maurice Flambert, Director General of the National Office of Civil Aviation to prevent an American Airlines plane to take off for Florida, in which there was Gaillot Dorsinvil, the former President of the Provisional Electoral Council.

Mr. Osner Févry, the lawyer for Gaillot Dorsinvil explained that his client was leaving the country and that he was forced to abandon the aircraft and return to the airport. "...The Minister of the Interior had called Mr. Flambert to ask him to block the American Airlines plane that was leaving and had the doors closed, the engine running and which was about to take off, in which my client was sitting in seat 4F. He was forced to leave the plane, returning to the runway, get back to the airport, his suitcase was returned to him and the plane finally took off very late.

[...] If I had to qualify what happened at the airport, I'd say it's a scandal!

[...] Kadhafi and François Duvalier did, but Obama and Sarkozy can not do so. The Minister of the Interior by a simple phone call has done it this morning in Haiti by boarding a plane.

[...] Fortunately, there is a prosecutor in the city, the Government Commissioner, who has shown character, and serenity. He is a law-abiding citizen and had informed Mr. Gaillot Dorsinvil that he could go about freely about his business. Despite the intervention of Mr. Thierry Mayard-Paul who asked to stop the plane, and possibly even stop Gaillot Dorsinvil, the Government Commissioner has kept his composure and replied to those who were pressuring him, that there is an order of justice, there is a justice decision dated August 22, 2011, which canceled all warrants, orders, and others, including departure bans against advisers Ribel Pierre, Gaillot Dorsinvil and Léonel Raphaël; saying that there was no question of bringing Mr. Dorsinvil for prosecution, nor that he arrest Mr. Dorsinvil, and there was no question, for banning him to leave the country.

Embarrassed, the immigration officials nevertheless confiscated the passport of my client and in the coming hours, and in the coming days we will take over the passport and Mr. Gaillot Dorsinvil will be able to freely go about his business in Haiti, or abroad.

I describe as unfortunate what has happened, and congratulate the Government Commissioner for having enforced the law, despite the pressures. I say that there has been pressure for M. Gaillot Dorsinvil to be arrested, and he was not arrested. I do not know if this pressure came from the Interior Minister, but the order to stop the plane, the order to prevent my client to leave the country, came from Mr. Thierry Mayard-Paul, the Minister of Interior..."


(Washington Post) - By AP

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Haitian President Michel Martelly fired members of a nine-person electoral council to make way for legislative and local elections planned for next year, a government official said Friday.

Presidential adviser Damian Merlo said the leader removed the council members through a decree that will allow him to begin the process of naming new members to the provisional electoral council who will then pick a date for the vote.

“This is the first step to ensure free and fair elections,” Merlo said by telephone.

According to precedent, the new body will likely be composed of allies.

The earlier provisional electoral council, whose members were appointed by former President Rene Preval, oversaw an election that was marred with fraud and irregularities and almost cost Martelly the presidency.

The former pop star was initially barred from a runoff election, a decision that sparked nearly three days of rioting that shut down the capital.

The Organization of American States determined those results were flawed, and the electoral council dropped a government-backed candidate from the runoff to make room for Martelly.

The upcoming elections will prove critical to the Martelly administration as it tries to jump start reconstruction efforts following a massive earthquake two years ago. Martelly’s Farmers’ Response Party holds no seats in the 30-member Senate and only three in the 99-member Chamber of Deputies.

One third of the Senate will be up for grabs in the planned elections along with mayoral posts for cities nationwide.

The decree came the same day that Martelly’s press office issued a statement saying the “former” members were “invited to submit” to election officials “state assets” still in their possession.


(Defend Haiti) -

PORT-AU-PRINCE - On Friday, President Michel Martelly paved the way for the return of the Provisional Electoral Council rather than the Constitutionally mandated Permanent Electoral Council to plan upcoming elections.

On Thursday by decree. the nine members selected by former President Rene Preval on October 16, 2009, that organized the 2010 elections that were wrought with fraud, were relieved of their duties.

The Constitution of Haiti requires a Permanent Electoral Council to be established with not the President selecting all nine members but three (3) members should be selected by each of the three (3) branches of government; the executive, legislative and judicial.

On Friday, President Michel Martelly left the door open for a Provisional Electoral Council...

A reporter asked the president if the new CEP would be a permanent or a provisional CEP, to which he responded:

"...this will depend. The Permanent CEP will depend on if the [Constitutional] amendments are published. If they are not published we will have to establish a Provisional CEP."

The Constitution of Haiti was amended on May 9th 2011 before Michel Martelly was inaugurated. Three (3) weeks into his term as president, Martelly, by decree, arbitrarily declared the Constitution of Haiti erroneous and has been observing the previous one.

Parliamentarians say they have sent the corrected text of the Constitution to the National Palace, signed by the President, Vice-President and Secretaries of the Legislature. Martelly denies having received the document.

Friday, December 30, 2011


In the Economist Democracy Index for 2011, there are only 25 countries which are considered as "Fully Democratic". 53 countries are considered as "Flawed Democracies". 37 countries are considered as being a "Hybrid Regime". Haiti takes its place as a Hybrid Regime and is at the 36th position of 37 Hybrid Regimes. Out of 167 countries evaluated Haiti appears at position number 114. The last category is for Authoritarian Regimes. 52 countries are considered as having authoritarian regimes. Pray that Haiti will move up the democracy index scale and leave the Hybrid Regime classification. Here are the top & bottom 10 for countries evaluated by The Economist Democracy Index 2011 report.


1. Norway
2. Iceland
3. Denmark
4. Sweden
5. New Zealand
6. Australia
7. Switzerland
8. Canada
9. Finland
10. Netherlands


1. North Korea
2. Chad
3. Turkmenistan
4. Uzbekistan
5. Myanmar
6. Equatorial Guinea
7. Saudi Arabia
8. Central African Republic
9. Iran
10. Syria


(Haiti Libre) -

Michel Martelly, the President of the Republic, accompanied by the First Lady, Sophia Martelly and the Prime Minister Garry Conille, officially received, in the early evening of Thursday, December 29, 2011, the traditional greetings and wishes of the year-end for senior civil servants of the State and representatives of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps.

The ceremony of communion and of national conviviality held at the National Palace was in the presence, among others, of the senior officials of the executive, parliamentarians, representatives of the judiciary and the Apostolic Nuncio. It was an opportunity for the Head of State to wish a successful year 2012 for Haiti and for the entire world.

President Martelly gave clear instructions to members of the Government so that this new year may be better and that concrete actions will be made. After only seven months in office, the evidence of the strong commitment and efforts of the Head of State to promote the establishment of a climate of openness, tolerance and solidarity among its citizens is indisputable.

The Apostolic Nuncio was among those who recognized the dynamism and dedication of the President of the Republic, who he welcomes as the vision of change. Monsignor Bernardito Ausa had among other things referred to the four "E"'s (Education, Environment, Employment, Rule of law).

The representative of Pope Benedict XVI in Haiti renewed the commitment of friendly countries to continue to support the Haitian government in the fight towards the real progress and change.


(Defend Haiti) - By Jonel Juste

PORT-AU-PRINCE - The Departmental Directorate of the Ouest, which covers Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas responded to the United Nations report of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, acknowledging that the police force in Haiti "is a young institution that has weaknesses."

"I had no opportunity either to read or to hear the report, but it's not a secret for anyone that the police is a young institution that has weaknesses," said Michelange Gedeon at a press meeting.

These weaknesses will not be corrected overnight. It requires sacrifice and a lot of effort, said the West Police Director.

"When we look from 1996 to today, we can say that the violations are less common. The police now know how to behave with those they are called to serve and those they call out, "says the officer.

Further, Mr. Gideon said he was aware of some "small misbehaviors" in the past but he invited people to consider the ability of the police force to react to these cases.



FRENCH CAY, Turks and Caicos - Officials in Turks and Caicos have intercepted a boat carrying 117 migrants from Haiti, making this the fourth boat in about a week to be found.

The Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police apprehended the boat carrying 90 males, 21 females and six female children at 3:30 PM on December 28, 2011. The passengers were brought ashore and will be detained, processed and repatriated as appropriate.

This is only the latest of a wave of hundreds of Haitians leaving Haiti.

On Wednesday, December 21st, the U.S. Coast Guard repatriated 112 Haitians aboard a "grossly overloaded vessel with little or no safety gear," said U.S. Coast Guard Captain, Brendan McPherson.

The Cuban Coast Guard on Saturday, December 24th, found up to 50 bodies and 87 other individuals who were aboard a boat that ran aground carrying more than 135.

On December 25th, the Royal Bahamas Defense Force interecepted a boat carrying 244 migrants from Haiti.

President Michel Martelly asked Haitians on Sunday December 25 to not to risk their lives traveling on the high seas.


(Defen Haiti) -

PORT-AU-PRINCE – On Thursday, residents of Petion-ville, a suburb of the capital, complained of rubbish on fire throughout the city, which made an intoxicating smoke that makes breathing impossible.

"A situation that is a little awkward because the smoke of this waste is highly toxic," said one citizen.

In many places, the old market mountains of garbage are on fire. Despite all this, the street is full of merchants and passers-by.

"And no firefighter, nor anyone from the Service officers of Metropolitan Solid Waste Collection (SMCRS) will put an end this situation," said one wholesaler. "This is seriously affecting our health, but we have to deal with it," he added.

In Port-au-Prince, dumpsters on fire are common. This is how the inhabitants of Port-au-Prince, a very dirty city, get rid of their waste when refuse collection does not pick it up.


(Haiti Libre) -

The State Commission for "the organization of the military component of the public force", has submitted to President Michel Martelly a first preliminary report on the work done since its formation, confirmed by a presidential decree, dated December 2 and released Tuesday, 6 December 2011.

The historian Georges Michel, a member of the Commission stated that this report describes the various steps for the establishment of the new Haitian military force and that it's the role of the Head of State, in the speech that he will deliver next January 1, on the occasion of the celebration of the 208th anniversary of Haiti's independence, to provide all the details to the population.

The Commission will now meet with various stakeholders from society including: churches, parliament, the business sector and even diplomats, as part of the second phase of its mission. The discussion, once summarized, will be sent to the Head of State in a second preliminary report. Once the final report is delivered [May 2012], it will be up to President Martelly to keep his promise of restoring the army of Haiti.


(Haiti Libre) -

A contingent of 160 police officers under the Formed Protection Unit (FPU) left Rwanda, earlier this week from Kanombe International Airport aboard a flight from RwandAir to serve under the United Nations Mission Stabilization in Haiti (Minustah).

They will replace the first contingent of another 160 officers woh were deployed to Haiti nine months ago, and whose mission has ended. They will have as a mission in Haiti, to serve as a protection force for the UN staff, crowd control, and help in aid distribution in internally displaced camps.

The officers who will be deployed to Jérémie, South of Haiti, and will be under the command of Chief Superintendent, Toussaint Muzezayo.

The 160 new police officers are scheduled to arrive on December 31.


(Haiti Libre) -

Yesterday Thursday, Laurent Lamothe, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Religious Affairs accompanied by Stéphanie Balmir Villedrouin, the Minister of Tourism, announced that starting January 10, 2012, "... that it was decided, as part of the encouragement of foreign investment to Haiti and the promotion of tourism, the suppression of the obligation for all Dominicans, Panamanians and Colombians, to have a visa to enter in Haiti. However, it is necessary that the citizens have a valid passport, a Schengen visa [visa Europe] or a U.S. visa or valid Canadian visa. This decision was taken with the Ministry of Tourism [...] and with the Ministry of the Interior. This measure will allow investors to have one less step to come and see what the country has to offer and will allow us also to increase tourism [...]"

For her part, the Minister of Tourism declared "...effective January 10, as the Chancellor has just said, we will have the opportunity to receive more Dominican tourists. I must say to you that at the level of the Tourism Association of Haiti, which I was a member of before joining the government, we already began approaches on this issue. We had received officials from Dominicans travel agencies, who were very interested in doing holiday packages with Haiti, especially with the north area of the country [...]

When we talked with the officials, they told us that there is a Dominican middle class, who are very interested in coming to Haiti and that if the visa step was removed, they would come more quickly. But not only that, let's not forget that a visa costs about $80-100 dollars and when you multiply that for a family of 4-5 people, this is almost 500 supplementary dollars, to the amount of a tourist package, which is already quite high; especially since these agencies have already said, that in Haiti, we are more expensive than in the Dominican Republic..."


(Defend Haiti) -

MIREBALAIS – The international Haitian soccer player, Jeff Louis, 18, who plays on the French football club, Le Mans, was beaten Wednesday, December 28 by a policeman in his home town Mirebalais, where he spent his holiday season with family.

The midfielder of the French club, Le Mans, tried to move his car when he was attacked by a policeman. The former player of AS Mirbalais said that he "had nothing to do with his attacker,". This can be read on the website of the Association of Sports Journalists.

"I'm frustrated. In France, I am a star in my country and here I’m nothing, "said the victim.

"After hanging out with my friends Wednesday night, I was about to enter my car and leave when suddenly a policeman came along and ordered me to leave. I told him that I was going to do so, but he attacked me with his stick, striking me repeatedly, "said the playmaker of the team Le Mans.

"Usually when I'm in Haiti, I spend my vacation in Mirebalais, where are my former teammates of my former club AS Mirebalais," said Jeff Louis who left Haiti Thursday morning for Paris.


(Defend Haiti) -

PORT-AU-PRINCE - The Minister of Justice and Security, Pierre Michel Brunache, said on Thursday that his ministry will make judicial reform a top priority.

This reform must go through the establishment of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary (CSPJ), the supreme court, further work on penal reform, the establishment of a commission to work on the Civil Code and a reform of the Civil State, the minister said on Signal FM Radio .

Minister Brunache also stressed the need to ensure public safety. He praised the efforts of the police in this direction. Public safety is essential to attract investment and ensure the development of the country, he said.

The restoration of normal relations between the Haitian National Police and the Judiciary also concerned the Minister of Justice of the Republic. Prolonged pretrial detention, corruption and conflicts of authorities are among the major ills of the Haitian judicial system.


(Defend Haiti) -

PORT-AU-PRINCE - The President of the Provisional Electoral Council, Gaillot Dorsinvil, and two other electoral advisers are free to move about following an order by the current chief of prosecutions in Port-au-Prince.

The electoral advisers have attained the blessings of the new chief prosecutor of Port-au-Prince, Lionel Constant Bourgouin.

Considered on the run for several months by the prosecution, which had issued a warrant of arrest against him, Gaillot Dorsinvil, Pierre Ribelli and Raphael Léonel are now free to move.

As proof, the president of the CEP returned in peace to his office on Monday, and even held a working session with the other electoral advisers to prepare and organize upcoming elections.

In a correspondence dated December 21, 2011, the current prosecutor informed the Director General of Immigration and Emigration, Roland Chavannes, who had been ordered to ban the movement of the electoral advisers that the ban would now be inoperative.

"...the order that all measures of prosecution, warrants or detaining orders against the three (3) electoral advisers and senior officials of the State: Dorsinville Gaillot, Leonel Raphael and Ribelli Pierre, will be considered inoperative, null and non-prejudicial to the PNH and other enforcement authorities and law enforcement, as well as those of the Immigration and Emigration." Le Nouvelliste read the order made ​​by Jacques Hermon Constant, President of the Court in the Council Chamber of the trial court, in open court, with the participation of Homer Raymond, Clerk of the seat.


(Defend Haiti) -

PORT-AU-PRINCE - The Communication Office of the President informed that by a decree dated Thursday, December 29, 2011, that the decree of October 16, 2009 appointing the members of the Provisional Electoral Council is hereby voided.

Therefore, the former members of the Provisional Electoral Council are invited to return to the Headquarters of the electoral institution, with all government assets still in their possession.

After weeks in hiding, the controversial president of the CEP, Gaillot Dorsinvil returned Monday to resume work at the CEP, chairing a meeting to plan the next elections. He and his colleagues Ribel Pierre and Leonel Raphael had been cleared by the Court and allowed to resume their activities.

President Michel Martelly, as well as political leaders and other candidates had publicly accused the CEP of embezzlement in connection with the organization of the last election.

Five electoral districts are not yet represented in the lower house because of serious irregularities and fraud that characterized the elections in those districts.

It is not clear if upcoming elections will be through the Permanent Electoral Council, as mandated by the Haitian Constitution, which requires its nine (9) members to be selected by each branch of government selecting three (3), or if it will be a return to the Provisional Electoral Council, with its members all selected by the president.


(Haiti Libre) -

The second Senator of Nippes, Jean William Jeanty (KONBA), is clearly against the publication of the constitutional amendment and opposes the creation,... of a Permanent Electoral Council. It is true that Senator Jeanty has every right to express his opposition and to make it known to his critics. He also has a duty to report accurate information to avoid unnecessarily inflaming the popular protest in an already fragile and explosive stituation.

Senator Jeanty stated yesterday "...We are completely opposed to the publication of the constitutional amendment for several reasons. The first reason is that we believe it does not respect the Constitution in the way it was done, because the Constitution since its introduction, explains clearly that whatever the decision that is made in the country, it must be taken with the participation of all individuals. But, we are aware that the way this amendment was made​​, ... there was no participation. This was done in haste, in disorder, to the point that [the parliamentarians] voted articles that that have not been written [HL note 1]. It is after that the writing was made. This explains the confusion.

Sure enough, when they published it [the amendment], there was a group of deputies and senators who denied and returned it. Now we learn in a very funny manner, that here is a team person who corrected it. For us it is another scandal, because it is not everyone that can act on an official act in this way, to correct it. Of what right do the Civil Society Initiative [HL note 2], the President of the Senate, the Chamber of Deputies have corrected an act that was passed? It is true that he had problems, but a thing made by the Assembly, is for the Assembly to correct. For us it is a scandal.

Especially since this thing is going to give birth to what we call a Permanent Electoral Council. Whereas for us, what should be done after the elections? It's a real review of the last elections that led to everything we have experienced as problems [...]

What characterizes the Permanent Electoral Council is non-participation, because in the spirit and letter of the Constitution, one of the things that characterizes the Provisional Electoral Council and Permanent is the participation [... ] constitutionalists were aware that the country is a broken country [...] they wanted to ensure that everyone could participate in having a balanced Electoral Council.

Now, we will do it with 10 people, who come mainly from the executive power [Note 3 HL] [...] all conditions are met for an unbalanced Electoral Council which will, once again, result in a electoral "gagotte" [...] we believe that a national consensus should be sought on these points so that we can find a way to make the next election. It is necessary that we set up a Provisional Electoral Council with consensus... [...] we can still agree between us, so that it is the last time that we do this, and agree on intermediate mechanisms to make a Permanent Electoral Council in the long term; but compared to the trauma that we have just experienced, we can not move forward and make a Permanent Electoral Council, where there are risks,..... another Gaillot Dorsinvil, .... several Gaillot Dorsinvils, who have a term of 10 years, to continue to make elections and drag the country into a spiral of violence..."

HL Note 1 : Articles were poorly written, fraudulently or not, but it is not true that the articles were written after the first publication.

HL Note 2 : The President of the Senate, Rodolphe Joazile has clearly stated on Monday that the ISC and RNDDH had acted as WITNESSES and does not mention or suggest at any moment that the ISC had a role of active corrector.

HL Note 3 : Senator Joazile declared unequivocally on Monday, that in the amendments enshrined in the Constitution, the 9 members (and not 10) of the CEP will now be designated by the executive, legislature and judiciary, in a proportion of 3 members each.


(Defend Haiti) - By Samuel Maxime

PORT-AU-PRINCE - Dr. Georges Michel, a member of the commission that framed the Constitution of Haiti of 1987 and sits on the commission to reinstate the Haitian army, is opposed to the publication of the Constitution of Haiti 2011 by President Michel Martelly.

Dr. Michel is protesting saying that fraud took place in the process initiated by the 48th Legislature, because the text is not identical between both the 48th and 49th Legislature. This claim by Dr. Michel is arguable as the Constitution TITLE XIII makes no reference to such a circumstance. Furthermore, Parliamentarians argued the fact in April of 2011.

Dr. Michel also says that the amended version published in Le Moniteur on May 13th by former President Rene Preval did not include an amendment to the Creole version of the Constitution of 1987. The President of the Senate argues that the Creole version was not voted on in 1987, but merely translated and published as an appendage, and therefore did not require a vote in 2011.

Dr. Michel also argues that for the presidency of Michel Martelly, it would mean that two Constitutions were enforced. Dr. Michel neglects the fact that the Constitution of 2011 came into effect on May 14th 2011 as President Michel Martelly was being inaugurated and has been in effect since. The president's role at this juncture is merely a formality of ensuring the document is correct in the nation's journal, Le Moniteur.

Among other articles, Dr. Michel disagrees with the changes made to ARTICLE 149 of the Constitution regarding the incapacitation of the President of the Republic. Dr. Michel would have had to argue this point in May when elected representatives of the legislature resolved to change the article.

According to the former member of the Constituent Assembly, Dr. Georges Michel, the publication of the amendment should be stopped and discarded in the trash. Dr. Michel fails to understand that President Michel Martelly is not "amending the constitution". This event took place on May 9th of 2011.

The presidents of both houses of the Haitian Parliament, as well as the secretaries of both houses, have signed on the Constitution of 2011 which was corrected with the assistance of members from the civil society and human rights organizations. The document has been sent to the National Palace and is awaiting publication by President Michel Martelly.

In the interest of full disclosure, Samuel Maxime, lives in the United States but was born in Haiti and does not hold citizenship in any other country but Haiti.

Constitution of Haiti
Amendments to the Constitution


On the recommendation, with reasons given to support it, of one of the two (2) Houses or of the Executive Branch, the Legislature may declare that the Constitution should be amended.

ARTICLE 281-1:

This declaration must be supported by two-thirds (2/3) of each of the two (2) Houses. It may made only in the course of the last Regular Session of the Legislative period and shall be published immediately throughout the territory.


At the first session of the following legislature period, the Houses shall meet in a National Assembly and decide on the proposed amendment.


The National Assembly may not sit or deliberate on the amendment unless at least two-thirds (2/3) of the members of each of the two (2) Houses are present.

ARTICLE 284-1:

No decision of the National Assembly may be taken without a majority of two-thirds (2/3) of the votes cast.

ARTICLE 284-2:

The amendment passed may enter into effect only after installation of the next elected President. In no case may the President under the Government that approved the amendment benefit from any advantages deriving therefrom.

ARTICLE 284-3:

General elections to amend the Constitution by referendum are strictly forbidden.

ARTICLE 284-4:

No amendment to the Constitution may effect the democratic and republican nature of the State.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


(Defend Haiti) -

PORT-AU-PRINCE – An attack by gunmen against the car of a human rights activist, Kettly Julien, has caused two to be injured on Tuesday afternoon in downtown Port-au-Prince.

The Director of the Mobile Institute for Democratic Education (IMED) was not in the car when the attack occurred, but her son and driver were victims of it.

Phito Francis, the driver of Mrs. Julien, was shot in the shoulder while the son of the human rights activist was hit slightly in the face by flying glass. According to the head of the IMED, the incident occurred at Rue du Centre, near the National Library.

Three people on a motorcycle opened fire on the IMED vehicle forcing the two occupants to lie down to escape the bullets.

Phito Francis was taken to a hospital where he underwent medical examinations to locate the bullet and remove it through surgery.

The attackers directly aimed at the seat where Julien generally would be sitting and the activist said it was the first time that she experienced an attack of this type.

Exposing the extent of criminal insecurity, including a large number of kidnappings that would be concealed, the human rights defender calls for a real governmental mobilization against it.

In an attempt to quell the many gangs in operation, the authorities launched “Operation Dragon” that has freed a few hostages and nabbed some individuals considered as dangerous.



On Tuesday, the President of the Republic, Michel Martelly, went to the border towns of Belladère and Malpasse, and flew over the border by helicopter to evaluate the security situation along the boundary with the Dominican Republic, and the progress of infrastructure works.

Strengthening of infrastructure along the Haitiano-Dominican border, while ensuring the security of the territory, will help improve the quality of services offered to passengers, combat smuggling and to significantly reduce illegal migration.

This approach of the Head of State confirms its desire to create the ideal conditions of security for the Haitian citizens and foreign investors and to improve relations with the Dominican Republic.


(Defend Haiti) -

PORT-AU-PRINCE - On Wednesday, the Minister of Justice, Pierre Michel Brunache, downplayed threats of a work stoppage by Haitian judges who demanded the independence of the judiciary through the establishment of the members of the supreme court within a month.

Justice Minister Brunache said that the powers that be are not intimidated by the threats of a strike launched by the National Association of Haitian Magistrates (ANAMAH).

The ANAMAH says President Michel Martelly has not fulfilled his promise of finally establishing the Supreme Council of the Judiciary (CSPJ), supreme court, which is to be seated with nine (9) members; but so far, since October, only the president of the supreme court, Anel Alexis Joseph, has been able to fill the court, leaving four seats vacant.

"I understand the impatience of ANAMAH, but this impatience won't make us rush. We will go according to the agenda we established..."

"I deplore that ANAMAH is applying pressure and are trying to employ some sort of ultimatum to power. Unfortunately we don't function this way."

"There aren't any motions, any pressure, or any ultimatum that will make a natural process come to place..."

The minister of justice said that establishing the supreme court is a priority for the executive but he did not provide a date for when it would be done.

Minister Brunache says the process to appoint these judges will continue in its course and a supreme court should be established by the end of 2012.

"I am sure that by the end of 2012 [the supreme court] will be an absolute reality. This process may take 3 months or it could take 6 months. I don't want to make the engagement of 1 month and then not respect it, so I give myself the margin of 12 months."

The National Association of Haitian Magistrates demanded in October that the Head of State work to appoint members of the supreme court, but as 2011 comes to a close they do not believe the work towards establishing it is being done.

President Michel Martelly renewed his promise to the nation on December 21st, when a visiting delegation from the Club of Madrid and members of different sectors were convened to solve the political crisis in Haiti.



This analysis was prepared by Melissa Beale, Research Associate for the Council on Hemispheric Affairs

•Drug trafficking and related violence is on the rise throughout the Caribbean at a time that the region is being heavily influenced by organized Latin American criminal groups.

•U.S./Mexico border controls have been profoundly tightened, resulting in a growing spillover of drugs into the wider Caribbean.

•The Caribbean’s natural landscapes and diffuse geographical locations make it appealing for drug traffickers who take advantage of such terrain that features long often uncontrolled coastlines and mountainous interiors for the growth and transportation of narcotics.

•The role of the U.S. has increased with the creation of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, targeted on helping to combat the growing menace of the drug trafficking phenomenon.

•Drug traffickers target vulnerable CARICOM islands such as Haiti to earn big profits by corrupting high officials.

The 1970s marked the dawning of the drug trafficking phenomenon in the Caribbean. Since then, the tentacles of this multibillion-dollar illegal industry has plagued the West Indian islands with expanding drug cartel ramifications from Central and South America which continue to make use of the islands as a channel to deliver supplies to high-demand markets in the United States and Europe. Drug cartels use the Caribbean as a mode of transit, mainly because of its geographic layout. The cartographic projection of the Caribbean islands provides an advantage to drug cartels which make good use of its long coastlines to transport narcotics by means of fishing boats, speedboats, freighter shipments, yachts, and other modes of small commercial, as well as private sea transportation conveyances, along with light aircraft. For instance, the Bahamas is a favored transit point for Jamaican marijuana and South American cocaine cultivated and processed specifically for sale in the United States. Due to the far-flung Caribbean archipelago that contains over 700 islands spread across some 15,000 square miles[1], only thirty or forty of which are inhabited, thus making it difficult to regulate and detect such illegal activities taking place in such waters. In addition, “small commercial and private conveyances along short-distance maritime and aerial routes”[2] also contribute to what has become a security dilemma.

New Developments: The Spillover Along the U.S./Mexico Border Control

Mexico is infamous for its out-of-control gang violence that escalated from 2006 onward, when President Felipe Calderón began putting increased security pressure on drug trafficking organizations, as well as began to militarize the anti-drug war. In the 1980s and early 1990s, most drugs were trafficked into the U.S. from the Caribbean to South Florida.[3] Currently, however, Mexico is the primary supplier of methamphetamine to the U.S, and is responsible for 95 percent of all cocaine entering the country. With the current tightening of the Mexican/U.S. borders, drug traffickers once again have returned to the Caribbean to transport their narcotics. Due to this increased trafficking in the region, alliances and hostilities also have developed between Central and South American criminal groups and their Caribbean counterparts. As a result, drug and gang violence has been exacerbated along with other associated malignant socioeconomic indicators throughout the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), as part of the spill over from the rest of Latin America.

U.S./Caribbean Tactics

Along with the U.S.’ present tightening of its border with Mexico, there seems to be a significant shift in Washington’s focus on international security issues towards the Caribbean, with the creation of the Caribbean-U.S. Security Cooperation Dialogue. This annual event was established in 2010, to deal specifically with drug- related issues. [4] In accordance to a news report, the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations was charged that the new subcommittee responsible for creating the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) to control and reduce drug trafficking and related violence within the region, which Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), would oversee the hearing. The CBSI has now decided to expand its focus to provide job training for youth and to help end corruption throughout the CARICOM region. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who attended the Caribbean-U.S. Security Cooperation Dialogue held this November, seems to be supporting an open line of discussions with CARICOM on this matter. In fact, Holder spoke to members of the Judiciary Committee in December. In his testimony in that forum, he asserted that drug trading in the Caribbean “is a national security issue that we must face.”[5] The U.S. must be aware of the fact that drug trafficking and related violence is a global problem and necessitates a global solution. Therefore, Latin America should also be invited to talks, as most Caribbean drug trafficking is a result of Latin American gangs using the region as a means of convergence of narcotics and marketed into the U.S. and Europe. This seems to be the case particularly regarding Puerto Rico, as frequent daily flights and being legally part of the U.S., make it easier for drug traffickers to smuggle their illegal cargo into North America.

Presently, there is a lot of speculation about Puerto Rico becoming a narco-state with the increase in the illicit flow of drugs. Officials have noted that “75 percent of the [year’s] murders are drug-related.”[6] According to a report by CBS news, “Drug smuggling is as much a part of Puerto Rico as palm trees and sand – American sand.”[7] The main reason for this is that “For drug traffickers…once they get to Puerto Rico, no more customs checkpoints on the way to the mainland.”[8] This is also the case for other U.S. Caribbean territories such as the U.S. Virgin Islands, which needs to be examined by U.S. authorities. Greater emphasis, therefore, needs to be made in when it comes to U.S.’ tactics to combat drug trafficking in their Caribbean territories – Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands come to mind since “domestic commercial cargo shipments between these U.S. territories and the continental U.S. ordinarily are not subject to US Customs inspection”.[9] Additionally, these U.S. territories, which are often less rigorously controlled and monitored by officials, become popular ocean drop-off points for Latin American cocaine shipment that have been previously airdropped on other eastern Caribbean islands such as St Martin and St Kitts.

Haiti’s Continuous Vulnerability

With the tightening of U.S./Mexico borders, vulnerable islands within the Caribbean have become even more susceptible to the lure of drug trafficking. Haiti is of particular interest to drug traffickers, as the island’s population has become more prone to participate in this illegal narcotic trade for a number of reasons, such as: poverty and corruption, economic and political instability, as well as an unsafe environment and a profaned ceiling on the availability of jobs – all of which has been worsened by the aftermath of the devastating January 2010 earthquake.

Even before the earthquake, Haiti was the unlucky member of CARICOM, experiencing long periods of poverty and corruption. Of course Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and arguably, the most corrupt. Since the earthquake, poverty has been exacerbated, resulting in many Haitians turning towards drug dealing and trafficking in order to gain a fast injection of income. Furthermore, many Haitians have also started consuming drugs in order to ease the daily challenges of gathering adequate water, food and shelter for their survival. This has created an alarming number of addicts without access to treatment facilities, as there are presently no NGO- or government-sponsored rehabilitation programs or treatment centers available to the public within the country.[10]

The earthquake also has amplified the breath of corruption on the island, which amply was already present even before the disaster. In 2009 and 2010, a number of Haitian National Police (HNP) officers were arrested for conspiring with drug traffickers and other criminal organizations in gang-related activities.[11] For instance, in an extensively publicized event reported in September 2010, “the Director of the Central Judicial Police, which oversees all HNP investigative units, announced the arrest of seven officers – most of them traffic police from the Brigade d’Intervention Motorisée (BIM) – accused of aiding drug traffickers and kidnappers.”[12] Haitian officers described the seizures as part of a widespread cleanup within the local police force.

Despite Herculean efforts, Haiti still struggles with drug traffickers whose presence has increased significantly after the earthquake. Since a large portion of the country’s infrastructure was damaged, the HNP has been left with additional difficulties to combat drug trafficking. Although Haiti is not a major supplier of drug and products, (only marijuana is grown in certain parts of the island) it is an ideal transit zone in which aircraft from Latin American countries perform drop-offs on a profusion of clandestine, unmonitored runways. Haiti’s topology also features long coastlines, which are woefully inadequate when it comes to the proper number of coast guard stations, and a mountainous interior that is perfect for accommodating drug trafficking routes as police officers are unable to chart the functionality of drug routes in such a geologically intricate area.

Source: U.S. DEA


Jamaica has experienced similar social and economic instabilities. The largest English-speaking island in the Caribbean, Jamaica is both the largest supplier and most prominent consumer of marijuana in the Caribbean. This is due in part to its thriving Rastafarian culture, in which its followers historically have “viewed marijuana as a medicine, intoxicant, and a religious sacrament.”[13] Many drug traffickers and farmers continue to cultivate the plant in the northeastern part of the island, known as the Blue Mountains. This affords an ideal location for the drug’s cultivation, as the layout of the mountainside, valleys and natural ridges make the production of marijuana difficult to monitor. Traditionally, farmers have been able to conceal their production of marijuana plants amidst banana and coconut trees.

In addition, many drug traffickers have become both respected as well as feared figures within Jamaican society, such as the infamous drug lord Christopher “Dudus” Coke, one of the most dangerous criminals in the Caribbean and the United States. Drug lords such as Dudus have been able to win the loyalty of the local community by providing “employment, education, medical and food supplies” for their neighbors, when the government was unable to do so.[14] Island governments in the Caribbean, therefore, need to focus on the felt needs of the population in order to allocate adequate funds to social and economic development efforts so that locals do not turn to drug traffickers for such support. But, this is far more easily said than done.

Reduction Challenges

Drug trafficking seems to be on the rise within the Caribbean, particularly in Haiti, Jamaica and Puerto Rico. Persistent issues such as poverty, corruption, and political and economic instability recurrent plague these small island-nations. The limited development funding available within these chronically under-financed islands remains an important challenge. Many of them, such as Barbados, rely on tourism for their survival, and with the current relatively unfavorable status of the current world economy, tourists are less likely to be engaging in discretionary traveling around the globe. This has had a spiraling effect on the economic and social stability of islands, where, for instance, many agriculturalists who own small parcels of land or local businesses in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, now are found turning to growing marijuana for much-needed supplementing income.

Furthermore, numerous Caribbean governments also lack the necessary funds needed to properly address security issues involved in combating drug trafficking, as some islands are still without a designated police force or coastguard service to properly monitor and ward off the danger posed by it. Moreover, these governments usually do not have adequate funds for the creation or maintenance of rehabilitation clinics. This is particularly alarming for women and children who are battling drug addictions as their needs are often far different from those presented by males, and frequently involve sexual trauma on top of their other addictions.[15] Female drug users are dramatically increasing in Central America and in the Caribbean, where the International Narcotics Control Board’s (INCR) annual report has advised CARICOM governments “to ensure that, in efforts to combat drug abuse, adequate programmes are in place to ensure that special attention is given to female drug abusers”.[16]On the bright side, however, islands such as Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago are engaged in preventative programs that target youth, who are particularly vulnerable to the shallow temptations of the drug world, through school lectures and training programs at all levels of education.

In conclusion, the Caribbean drug dilemma exposes the severity of the danger that illicit drug trafficking presents to these small islands, as well as to the rest of the Western Hemisphere. This will continue to be a problem for local CARICOM governments unless they team up with much wealthier, as well as much more developed countries such as the U.S., which can help provide the much needed funds and other resources, such as training of local police officers and coast guard official, in order to professionally rebut this phenomenon.


(Dominican Today) -

Santiago de los Caballeros - Haitian Consul Phillipe Mallebranche made a courtesy visit yesterday to the National Police director for the Central Cibao region to discuss the treatment of Haitian nationals involved in criminal activities.

The diplomat, accompanied by his wife Noris Reyes, and by Jacobo Francois, offered his full cooperation in this area to Brigadier General Francisco Romer López, in the hope of harmonizing relations between the Consulate and the National Police.

Consul Phillipe Mallebranche expressed the Consulate’s commitment to following up on Haitian nationals found to be involved in criminal activity, especially those who have returned to their country of origin.


(Haiti Libre) -

This Wednesday, December 28, Jerry Tardieu, President and CEO of OASIS HAITI, explained the objectives of this meeting between the private and public sectors attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Religious Affairs, Laurent Lamothe, in relation to the law on Haitian co-ownership.

"...the objective of today's meeting was to discuss the law on co-ownership in Haiti; a law dating from 1984, which is outdated and requires amendments, and corrections, so that it can be applied effectively and efficiently.

In Haiti, for 200 years, we had no building construction in co-ownership or we had very little, because existing laws are outdated and not appropriate. The idea of this meeting of the private sector with state authorities is to be able to come to a modus operandi; a consensus on the promulgation of an implementing order, which would complement the 1984 Act, and which would allow the co-ownership Act to be effective.

The benefits of this law are numerous. It is a law that can revolutionize the Haitian market; the real estate market. It is a law that can offer to the middle class a quicker access to housing and a better price. It is a law which can lower the pressures on land in Haiti. It is a law which can also allow developers to build or finance skyscrapers, in order to modernize the major cities of Haiti, as this is already being done in Latin America, in megacities such as São Paulo, Buenos Aires, or even in the Caribbean, in Kingston... So basically, we're talking about a very important law, whose implementation is critical to the future modernization of Haiti..."


(U.S. Dep't of State) - Office of the Haiti Special Coordinator

Following the tragic January 12, 2010, earthquake, the U.S. government (USG) has committed over $3.1 billion toward relief, recovery and reconstruction, of which $2.2 billion has been disbursed as of September 30, 2011.

Relief Assistance: The USG committed $1.3 billion in humanitarian relief assistance (rapid, lifesaving emergency assistance). This support includes funding provided to fight the October 2010 cholera outbreak. USG relief assistance supported the deployment of search-and-rescue teams, provided emergency food assistance and safe drinking water, installed latrines and water systems, provided emergency shelter, re-established medical supply chains and restocked medical supply inventories, and helped to treat and prevent cholera.

Recovery and Reconstruction Assistance: The USG has also committed $1.8 billion in recovery and reconstruction assistance to support recovery and to begin long-term reconstruction activities in key development pillars identified in the five-year USG Haiti strategy. The USG implemented recovery activities in order to bridge the gap from emergency assistance to reconstruction, including implementation of cash for work rubble removal, and shelter solution activities; construction of temporary infrastructure to house the Parliament and semi-permanent classrooms to allow students to return to school; support and technical assistance for the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission; and funding for Haitian debt relief. Reconstruction activities require in-depth exchanges with new partners and Government of Haiti (GOH) officials to design and implement projects, toward a more stable and economically viable Haiti. Reconstruction assistance supports new post-earthquake initiatives, as well as projects that began prior to the earthquake and continue to support Haiti’s economic recovery. To promote sustainable, long-term development, the USG has initiated site work to prepare for permanent houses in Haiti’s north, reconstructed the Ennery Bridge, initiated energy activities for the new Caracol Industrial Park, encouraged public-private partnerships to raise revenues for farmers, pioneered mobile banking, supported food security activities to increase crop yields, provided a basic health package to beneficiaries , increased physical access for disabled students and teachers, and supported first- and second- round presidential elections.

How the USG Provides Assistance

The majority of USG funds in the first year following the earthquake were used to respond quickly to emergencies and humanitarian crises. Funding to respond to crises worldwide is pre-contracted or provided to traditional partners to respond quickly to save lives.

Since the earthquake, the USG has worked directly or through sub-awards in which USAID has worked with over 500 Haitian non-governmental organizations and firms, and continues to award contracts to local organizations. Moving forward, the USG is increasing local contracting as reconstruction programs continue to be designed and awarded. USG programs will work specifically to build the capacity of Haitian organizations to receive direct funding for implementing USG projects and will provide technical assistance directly to the GOH, local governments and Haiti’s parliament to build government capacity.

The USG is also funding new and innovative projects and encouraging Haitian entrepreneurship through USAID’s new Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) program and a new LEAD program, which facilitates investments. USAID’s DIV program offers funding to new projects that have potential to address Haiti’s significant challenges and substantively improve development outcomes. The DIV Haiti initiative will invest in innovations tailored to the Haitian context, measure their impact and scale up those that are successful. The LEAD program partners with Haitian businesses and U.S.-based investors to increase the development impact of remittances.


(U.S. Dep't of State) - Office of the Haiti Special Coordinator

The Challenge

Prior to the January 2010 earthquake, the power sector in Haiti was among the most problematic in the Western world. Only an estimated 25 percent of the population had access to electricity services ― leaving an estimated 7 million people without power. The average person in Port-au-Prince only had access to electricity 10 hours per day. Half the population was illegally connected to the power grid. Access to electricity in rural areas remains at approximately 5 percent. The fragile power sector has faced further complications due to the earthquake. Combined technical and commercial losses of electricity are approximately 75 percent, according to the World Bank. To maintain its commercial operations, Electrite d'Haiti (EDH) ― the electrical utility―requires an annual Government of Haiti (GOH) subsidy of more than $120 million, representing approximately 12 percent of the national budget.

USG Strategy

Through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Government aims to improve access and reliability of electricity in Haiti. USAID is working in support of the GOH to modernize the electricity sector and expand the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity in targeted economic corridors and associated un-served communities.


Transition Management Contract: A key component of the reform of the energy sector is to build an efficient and financially sound sector. USAID has awarded a contract to a private third-party utility operator to manage EDH operations and improve systems during a two-year transition period, at which point management of EDH will be transferred back to EDH or a successor entity, as decided by the Haitian government’s Council for Modernization of Public Enterprises (CMEP).

Caracol Industrial Park Power Plant: USAID is constructing a 10 MW power facility to provide electricity to the new Caracol Industrial Park (being constructed by the Inter-American Development Bank) and surrounding housing settlements; the power plant is scheduled for completion by June 2012. The Park will employ up to 65,000 Haitians once completed, and the power facility is a key component of the Park. The facility will be expanded to at least 25 MW to meet projected industrial and residential demands.

Electrical Substation Rehabilitation: Based on assessments conducted after the earthquake, the repair and upgrade of five substations in Port-au-Prince were identified as critical priorities for the electrical sector. The underperformance of these substations is drastically reducing the system’s capacity for transmission and distribution of electrical power. USAID is supporting their rehabilitation in order to reduce losses and strengthen EDH system capability to serve its customers effectively.

Alternative Energies: The U.S. Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is undertaking wind, solar, and solid-waste-to-energy studies to determine the feasibility of renewable energy options in Haiti. USAID is studying the feasibility of solar panels on the Northern Industrial Park industrial buildings to supplement generation with clean energy. USAID also is evaluating proposals to implement improved cooking technologies.


(U.S. Dep't of State) - Office of the Haiti Special Coordinator

The Challenge

The U.N. and other aid agencies have characterized the January 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti as the largest urban disaster in modern history. The earthquake affected an estimated 3 million people, including 1.5 million people displaced to 1,300 settlement sites throughout Port-au-Prince. One of the biggest challenges has been to provide shelter to those who lost their houses. The earthquake created more than 10 million cubic meters of debris, hindering reconstruction. The loss of critical records in the earthquake has made identifying the rightful owners of land extremely difficult, and this has exacerbated the problem of identifying land for housing. Despite these challenges, in support of Government of Haiti (GOH) priorities, the international community has achieved numerous accomplishments in the shelter sector. Nearly two years after the earthquake, approximately 550,000 of the original 1.5 million people remain displaced in camps―or approximately 36 percent of those displaced. Repairing damaged houses and replacing completely destroyed houses will provide opportunities for both ownership and rentals for earthquake victims. The U.S. Government (USG), through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has been a key leader in the shelter sector response, both during the emergency response and in the longer-term reconstruction effort.

Emergency and Transitional Response

Emergency Shelter Provision, Transitional Shelter, and Repair Solutions: In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, USAID worked with the international community and with non-governmental organization partners to provide emergency shelter to 1.5 million displaced persons. Following the emergency phase, USAID provided shelter solutions—including transitional shelters (t-shelters), repairs to damaged houses, and support to host families housing people displaced after the earthquake — to more than 320,000 people. As of December 2011, USAID partners had reported the completion of over 28,600 t-shelters to house approximately 143,600 people, repairs to more than 6,000 “yellow” structures (safe following minor repairs) allowing more than 40,500 people to return home, and support to hosting situations befitting more than 136,000 people. USAID has provided approximately $108 million for emergency shelter activities and provision of shelter solutions in Haiti.

Neighborhood-Based Resettlement Approach: USAID supports a neighborhood-based approach — involving extensive community participation and close coordination between and among the community members, GOH, donors, and implementing partners — to facilitate returns to areas of origin and help reestablish pre-earthquake social and economic structures. While this approach is more time consuming than simply constructing shelters, it serves as an opportunity to improve neighborhoods from their preearthquake conditions. For example, in the Ravine Pintade neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, USAID support encompasses rubble removal, “yellow” house repairs, and the construction of footpaths, drainage lines, retaining walls, and t-shelters, including innovative two-story t-shelters. Furthermore, USAID has upgraded and repaired key public and community facilities, including community libraries, cultural centers, vocational training centers, public and private schools, solar street lighting, as well as secured scholarships for returning and resettled internally displaced students and young adults. The World Bank is also initiating a $95 million neighborhood upgrading project — $65 million of which is funded through the USG contribution to the Haiti Reconstruction Fund (HRF).

Another key area where USAID is working is in resettlement of inner-city camps. USAID is providing - housing options for camp residents in Place St. Pierre and Place Boyer, two prominent public parks in Port-au-Prince where internally displaced persons (IDPs) have lived in tents for nearly two years. Under priorities identified by the Martelly administration, USAID is working with the local municipality, GOH officials, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to resettle 1,237 families residing in these areas. After registering for the program, residents choose which resettlement option is best for their family: repair of their “yellow” house, demolition of a “red” house with the construction of a tshelter, or a one-year rental assistance grant. By providing these shelter options, USAID is helping Haitians reclaim and rebuild their lives.


Enumeration: An impediment to the returns process is land tenure, which was largely undocumented in official records prior to the earthquake. While the GOH develops more long-term solutions to landtenure issues, USAID is supporting a participatory community enumeration process, which serves as a fast-track transitional measure to facilitate returns to neighborhoods and support reconstruction efforts. The enumeration process consists of speaking with IDPs to collect information regarding tenure and occupancy, which the community then validates to confirm its accuracy. As of October 2011, IOM had collected, recorded, and validated land tenure and occupancy status of more than 8,800 plots/buildings with USAID support. IOM and the GOH will now scale up this pilot methodology through a HRF project that will record tenure and occupancy information for every single household in the earthquakeaffected zone.

The Final Phase—Core Housing: Replacing housing stock lost as a result of the earthquake and providing ownership opportunities for identified beneficiaries is the final phase of USG post-earthquake reconstruction and recovery support for housing. To meet this GOH priority, USAID aims to provide housing in new settlements near employment opportunities in the Port-au-Prince Development Corridor and in the Cap-Haitien Development Corridor near the Caracol Industrial Park. The housing, being developed in conjunction with development partners, provides alternative locations for earthquake victims and other eligible households looking for housing away from the congestion of Port-au-Prince. In total, these sites will host a combination of housing, sites and services, and/or housing finance for up to 15,000 households, or approximately 75,000 beneficiaries. These sites will also serve as “business incubators,” by providing enterprise opportunities that will serve the new residents. USAID began clearing land in preparation for development of the first site in mid-October 2011.


(U.S. Dep't of State) - Office of the Haiti Special Coordinator

The Challenge

Even before the January 2010 earthquake, 40 percent of the Haitian population had no access to basic health services; infant mortality in Haiti was the highest in the Americas, and tuberculosis rates were the highest in the Western Hemisphere. Chronic malnutrition was widespread, with 32 percent of children malnourished; and the HIV/AIDS prevalence was 2.2 percent. The earthquake devastated much of Haiti’s health infrastructure, destroying and damaging many clinics and hospitals, disabling thousands of people, and initially displacing 1.5 million to camps, with elevated risks of communicable diseases. A cholera outbreak starting in October 2010 added additional strains to this overburdened system.

USG Strategy

The U.S. Government (USG) has been providing access to health services for 50 percent of the people of Haiti for the last five years, including a basic package of health services (primarily maternal and child health) and more sophisticated HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment services. After the earthquake, the USG moved quickly to address the new health needs, including disability care, while maintaining essential services. The USG is also making progress on rebuilding key health infrastructure according to the Ministry of Health and Population’s (MSPP) plans for a sustainable network of health facilities. To build back better in Haiti in the face of the many challenges, the USG is entering into a Global Health Partnership Framework with the Haitian government, which promotes sustainability by emphasizing country ownership and leadership. The Framework will be accompanied by a five-year implementation plan that encompasses contributions of the government, civil society, the private sector, and other donors.


We continue to provide access to essential health services, while responding to needs arising from the earthquake and cholera outbreak. The USG has:

Continued to support 251 sites that provide primary care and 52 that provide secondary care nationwide, to nearly 50 percent of the Haitian population.

Provided HIV counseling and testing services for nearly 170,000 pregnant women in 2011, an alltime high.

Identified and treated more than 2,900 people with symptomatic tuberculosis.

Immunization programs vaccinated nearly 157,000 children under age one in 2011 for routine childhood diseases. We also provided more than 350,000 antenatal care visits and more than 131,000 postpartum/ newborn care visits.

Provided expertise and more than $73 million to the Haitian-led, international campaign to prevent and treat cholera as of December 2011, mitigating the impact of the outbreak and bringing the rolling case fatality rate below the international standard of 1 percent.

Funded St. Boniface Spinal Cord Injury Center to help 24 spinal cord injury patients, 12 of whom have been successfully discharged back to their communities.


(U.S. Dep't of State) - Office of the Haiti Special Coordinator

The Challenge

On October 21, 2010, the Haitian Ministry of Health and Population (MSPP) confirmed cases of cholera for the first time in at least a century.


At the request of the Government of Haiti, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)—already helping Haiti build sustainable health systems to detect and combat the spread of communicable diseases in the aftermath of the devastating January 2010 earthquake—immediately began working with MSPP and the Pan American Health Organization to lessen the severity of the outbreak.

Through December 2011, the U.S. Government provided expertise and more than $73 million to prevent additional cholera cases and support the response by:

Distributing products to purify drinking water, soap for washing hands and household items, and oral rehydration salts for people with cholera.

Working side-by-side with the MSPP and other partners to establish a national system for tracking cases of cholera.

Supporting staff training, re-stocking, and development of treatment guidelines at cholera treatment centers and oral rehydration posts.

Developing cholera treatment and prevention materials and training more than 500 health care workers, who have in turn trained close to 10,000 Haitian health care workers throughout the country.

Improving access to clean water in communities by providing support to drill new wells and repair others.

As of mid-November, Haiti has reported more than 492,000 cases of cholera and 6,700 deaths. Though deaths from cholera were high in the first few months of the epidemic, Haitian-led, international efforts have helped ensure the fatality rate remains consistently below the international standard of 1 percent.

Challenges Ahead

Inadequate access to clean water and sanitation are ongoing problems in Haiti, suggesting that cholera will remain for years to come. The United States is committed to strengthening the Haitian health care system to contain the outbreak and treat the Haitian people.


(U.S. Dep't of State) - Office of the Haiti Special Coordinator

The Challenge

Even before the January 12, 2010, earthquake, Haiti faced significant challenges to food security. Declining productivity and farm incomes led to malnourishment and urban migration. Prior to the earthquake, 40 percent of households were undernourished and 30 percent of children suffered from chronic malnutrition. While approximately 60 percent of Haitians worked in agriculture, more than 50 percent of the food consumed in Haiti was imported.

USG Strategy

Agriculture and food security is one of the four priority sectors of U.S. Government (USG) development investment. The USG’s Feed the Future initiative is supporting the Haitian government’s priorities in agriculture, working to ensure sustainable growth in the agricultural sector in Government of Haiti (GOH)-prioritized fertile plains. The USG is working with farmers, farmer associations, and scientists to introduce new techniques and technologies, strengthen agricultural infrastructure along the whole value chain, and attract investments from private businesses―with an overall aim to improve livelihoods for more than 100,000 farmer households, corresponding to 8-10 percent of the rural population. This investment will not only lead to nutritional improvements in the population, but also improve the lives of farmers benefitting from increased crop yields and incomes.


Despite the challenges, the USG has made significant accomplishments since the earthquake in ensuring the food security of the Haitian people. Since the earthquake, USG assistance has:

Increased agricultural-related income of beneficiary rural households by 76 percent by rehabilitating irrigation systems, rural roads and supporting storage and processing facilities.

Introduced improved seeds, fertilizer, and technologies to more than 9,700 farmers; these have increased rice yields by 64 percent, corn yields by 338 percent, bean crops by 97 percent, and plantain outputs by 21 percent for beneficiary farmers.

Trained more than 30,000 people in natural resource management, including soil conservation, tree nurseries, and hillside production. As a result, 23,000 hectares of farmland are now under improved natural resource management.

Graduated more than 700 people from a master farmers program, approximately 25 percent of whom were women.

Increased income of 5,000 cacao growers by a minimum of 25 percent through partnerships with private sector entities to train farmers in cocoa production.

Provided mobile collection centers, sorting tables, and 6,000 plastic crates for mango harvesting, increasing mango sales by three farmer associations to exporters by more than 65 percent.

Increased economic benefits derived from sustainable natural resource management and conservation, benefitting nearly 150,000 people through ravine treatment, hillside rehabilitation, and improved technologies that have improved the quality of crop output.