Political Masks

February 3, 2017 OPINION/NEWS

Dieu Nalio Chery/AP

 

By

Ricardo Swire

During fourteen months of Presidential campaigning the “Banana Man” vowed to eliminate corruption and modify Haiti’s legal institutions. Public scepticism was reflected in a low 21% voter turnout for the national election on Sunday November 20th 2016.

On a similar occasion in 2000, among Haiti’s 10.7 million residents, 70% of voters cast ballots. After the latest election Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council declared the neophyte politician winner with 55.6% of votes.

Haiti’s economy carries a US$2 billion debt, its wealth controlled by select corporate elites. Demographics record residents’ ethnicity as 95% black, 5% a combination of mulatto and whites from Syrian-Lebanese descent. Almost 60% of Haiti’s population survive on less than US$2 or €1.90 per day. 2017 statistics quantify the country’s public and private investments anaemic growth as 1%.

Five months ago a leaked Haitian Central Unit of Financial Intelligence official report noted evidence that illuminated the 48 year old President-elect in a money laundering glow. The August 23, 2016 document suggested more than US$5 million passed through special private bank accounts that Haiti’s President-elect and his wife jointly control, questionable transfers dispatched between January 2012 and April 2013 via the National Credit Bank.

From 2007 to 2013 Haiti Central Unit of Financial Intelligence’s investigation focused on fourteen identified joint accounts. Documentation, related to forty-five vehicles owned by the President-elect, was scrutinized, illegal loans he received from state owned Banque Populaire Haitienne (Haitian Popular Bank) also suspect. In 2013 the first dubious data was formally acknowledged, details of such curiosities received by the Central Unit of Financial Intelligence directly from Haiti’s financial institutions.

The President-elect defended with a certificate that authenticated his bank account’s total, calculated in Gourdes rather than US dollars. Using today’s exchange rate the suspicious US$5 million’s value would adjust to Gourdes 333,670,000,000. In early January 2017 a Haitian internal security, National Police and US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) combined team arrested the President-elect’s confidant, a Senator-elect. Prior to a 2004 coup-d-etat the President-elect’s colleague was employed as Cap-Haitien’s Police Chief.

In 2005 American authorities charged the Haitian Senator-elect, from the southern town Jeremie, with cocaine trafficking and money laundering. The DEA conducted several helicopter assisted raids on his residence in the mountainous region of Haiti. Each time the President-elect’s political colleague evaded capture. Aided by far-reaching family and business connections the Senator-elect was able to forward a US$112,000 cheque and several drugs revenue cash lodgments, via financial institutions such as the National Credit Bank.

Although featured on an active Haitian arrest warrant, named in the DEA’s Most Wanted List, identified in a US indictment, the former Cap-Haitien Police Chief and ex-Army Colonel was still allowed to participate in Haiti’s 2016 Senatorial process. On January 5, 2017 Haitian National Police, Anti-Drugs Unit detectives arrested the President-elect’s political associate in the Petionville district of Port-au-Prince. The Senator-elect was charged with money laundering and drugs trafficking spanning 1997 to 2003. He was subsequently extradited to America.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ricardo Swire - Tuck Magazine

Ricardo Swire

Ricardo Swire is the Principal Consultant at R-L-H Security Consultants & Business Support Services and writes on a number of important issues.

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