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Haiti opposition parties not impressed with OAS visit

Saturday, June 22, 2019

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PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti (CMC) — Opposition political parties in Haiti say the visit earlier this week of a delegation from the Organisation of American States (OAS) will not bear fruit unless President Jovenel Moise agrees to step down amid allegations of embezzlement among other issues.

“The arrival of the OAS delegation will not change anything in the position of the Democratic and Popular Sector. No political cohabitation is possible with Jovenel Moïse. The solution to the current political crisis inevitably involves the resignation of Jovenel Moïse,” said André Michel, the spokesman for the so-called “Democratic and Popular sector.

On Wednesday, the United States ambassador to the OAS, Carlos Trujillo, led a high-level delegation to the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country at the invitation of Haiti's Foreign Minister, Bocchit Edmond, who in a June 14 letter to Trujillo, had requested that that hemispheric body help facilitate a dialogue between Moise and the opposition forces.

The opposition parties have been staging street demonstrations and several people, including one journalist, were killed last week, as the protesters demand Moise's removal from office.

In a message posted on his Twitter account, President Moise said “I met the OAS delegation around the current crisis.

“The interview also focused on the problems of security and precariousness in the country. I remain convinced that dialogue is the only asset that will allow us to resolve our political differences.”

Moïse said he had agreed with a proposal by the OAS to form a Commission comprising independent international experts in finance, to assist in the audit of the management of PetroCaribe funds.

Moise is reported to have told the OAS delegation that he is prepared to visit Washington to agree to the Commission, since “he has nothing to hide”.

But Michel said the opposition parties are urging the OAS “to stand on the side of the people to facilitate the resignation of Jovenel Moïse, which will allow us to engage the construction site of the democratic construction as provided for in the Charter of the Organisation”.

The OAS delegation also met Wednesday with other stakeholders including former senator, Keely C Bastien, who has indicated that they were not convinced to participate in efforts to meet with Moise.

“We told them that there is no possibility of dialogue with the President at this stage of the situation,” said  Bastien.

Moise has already said that he will not allow “anyone to put chaos and disorder in the country under any pretext,” as he defended himself against the report of the Superior Court of Accounts and Administrative Litigation (CSA/CA) into programmes and projects funded by the PetroCaribe, an oil alliance of many Caribbean states with Venezuela to purchase oil on conditions of preferential payment.

The report found that significant shortcomings have been associated with the planning and implementation of development programmes and projects funded by the PetroCaribe Fund.

Earlier this month, the state announced it had filed a complaint with the Public Prosecutor's Office of Port-au-Prince against those people implicated in the PetroCaribe scandal.

The CSC/CA audit found that significant shortcomings have been associated with the planning and implementation of development programmes and projects funded by the PetroCaribe Fund during the administration of former president Michel Martelly.

The Court made it clear that, overall, relevant documents were missing in most of the projects and contracts reviewed and as a result it was impossible to conduct a comprehensive audit of several projects.

For example, the 610 page report found that in 2014, for the same project to rehabilitate the Borgne – Petit Bourg de Borgne road section, the State signed two identical contracts worth more than 39 million Gourdes (One Gourde=US$0.01 cents) with two separate companies.

Moise, before he came to power in 2017, headed a company which received more than 33 million Gourdes to do the road work, though the company in principle did nothing but grow bananas.


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