It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light

Mwen se echantiyon yon ras kap boujonnen men ki poko donnen

Si vous voulez vous faire des ennemis essayer de changer les choses

Monday, June 27, 2011

Haiti: State Department 2011 Global Trafficking in Persons Report

The massive physical destruction in the wake of the 2010 earthquake, including the destruction of governmental buildings, equipment, and loss of personnel, and the continued lack of fundamental infrastructure throughout the government, severely limited the government’s ability to function in many areas, including in areas of law enforcement, social services and border control. This had a similarly limiting effect upon the government’s ability to address trafficking in persons. For these reasons, Haiti remains a Special Case for the sixth consecutive year. The extreme impact of the earthquake on the operational capacity of the Haitian government persisted throughout 2010 and into 2011. Twelve out of the 13 ministries collapsed in the earthquake, none of which have been rebuilt. Hundreds of civil servants and technocrats were killed, taking with them institutional knowledge and experience, and files were lost or destroyed. The Haitian government’s ministries operated out of tents and in overcrowded makeshift buildings. Although Haiti has a significant child trafficking problem, the Haitian National Police Brigade for Protection of Minors (BPM), responsible for investigating crimes against children has a minimal staff of 35 for the entire country, and lacks vehicles or investigational materials to inspect childcare facilities around the country. Border patrol lacks capacity to monitor the four official border crossings effectively, let alone the entire territorial border. Finally, the justice system is largely non-functional, as detention backlogs go back years, and few cases advance without some form of bribes or political pressure. The slow pace of reconstruction after the earthquake and the lack of government infrastructure obstructed basic government efforts to address trafficking in the country.
The following background and recommendations are provided to guide government officials and organizations working on anti-trafficking initiatives in Haiti.

Scope and Magnitude: Haiti is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. The Haitian National Police and local NGOs reported an increase in alleged cases of forced labor and sex trafficking of children and adults since the earthquake. Young children without family support or secure housing appear to be increasingly at risk. The majority of trafficking cases are found among the estimated 173,000 to 225,000 restaveks —the term for the practice of child domestic servitude—in Haiti. The majority of children become restaveks when recruiters arrange for them to live with families in other cities and towns in the hope of going to school. Restaveks are treated differently from other non-biological children living in households; in addition to involuntary servitude,restaveks are particularly vulnerable to beatings, sexual assaults, and other abuses by family members in the homes in which they are residing. Restaveks are often dismissed when they become teenagers or difficult to control. Dismissed and runaway restaveks make up a significant proportion of the large population of street children, who frequently are subjected to sex trafficking or street crime by violent criminal gangs. Since the earthquake, local shelters have received a record number of restaveks. Many are also living in internally displaced persons camps.
Representatives from NGOs monitoring the Haitian-Dominican border reported that children frequently cross the border illegally, often in the company of an adult who is not the child’s parent or guardian. This adult is generally paid approximately three dollars to pretend to be the child’s parent until they get to the other side of the border. Some of these children are taken to be reunited with parents working in the Dominican Republic, but others are believed to be going to work in organized begging rings or in domestic servitude. Haitian men, women, and children also are subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking in the Dominican Republic, other Caribbean countries, the United States, and South America.

Government Efforts: In a positive step, Haitian officials recognized that human trafficking, including the exploitation of restavek children, is a serious problem in the country; however, the lack of legislation prohibiting all forms of trafficking was a major obstacle to progress. The absence of legislation also contributed to confusion among elements of the Haitian government and some of its international donors among the crimes of human smuggling, human trafficking, and illegal adoption. Legislation criminalizing all forms of human trafficking has been pending in Parliament for several years. A draft bill on trafficking has been presented to Parliament for consideration in the next session, which is expected to occur near the end of the reporting period. The Haitian justice system did not make advances in prosecuting traffickers during the reporting period. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions or convictions of trafficking offenders in Haiti. The BPM was severely understaffed and lacking in resources such as vehicles and computers, like many Haitian National Police units. The BPM, however, did refer cases, including cases of child domestic servitude, to the prosecutor’s office, where they often languished as part of Haiti’s large case backlog. The Haitian National Police provided a handbook for police cadets, written in collaboration with Interpol, on sex trafficking.

The government lacked formal victim identification and assistance policies and resources. Shelter services for adult trafficking victims did not exist. The government’s social welfare agency worked well with NGOs to identify and refer some child victims to donor-funded NGOs who provided shelter, food, medical, and psychosocial support. One NGO, with international donor support, screened approximately 14,000 children during the reporting period and registered 200 of them as potential victims of child trafficking. The children were transferred into the social welfare agency’s custody, and over 100 of them were reunited with their families. Haiti’s border with the Dominican Republic was not well-monitored, but at the four designated border crossings, Haitian officers worked with NGO child protection officers (who have been seconded to the police) to screen children passing through the border for possible trafficking. In December 2010, police stopped a truck with four men and seven children in a suspected trafficking situation and worked with the NGO to reunite the children with their families.

Prevention efforts have been largely NGO-driven. The government did not register all births immediately and did not keep statistics concerning the number of births unregistered each year, increasing children’s vulnerability to human trafficking. Haiti is not a popular destination for international child sex tourism; however, there were many foreign nationals in the country for non-tourist purposes, and there were some incidents of foreigners procuring child commercial sex acts. The government of Haiti worked with the Canadian government to deport a child rapist to Canada for prosecution.

A divergent definition of trafficking in persons within the NGO community further hindered coordinated anti-trafficking strategies. There have been reports of duplication of anti-trafficking efforts by international organizations unaware of local mechanisms already in place.

Recommendations for Haiti: Enact legislation criminalizing sex trafficking and all forms of forced labor, including domestic servitude, with penalties that are proportionate to the seriousness of the crime committed; in partnership with NGOs, adopt and employ formal procedures to guide officials in proactive victim identification and referral of victims to available services; provide in-kind support for victim services; consider partnerships with NGOs to establish and support community based social workers as protection and prevention measures; and improve access to quality education for all children.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Haiti: INITE’s Attempts to Corrupt Martelly’s Change Agenda? By Stanley Lucas

Six months ago a political struggle began between those who want change and modernization in Haiti and those that want to maintain the corrupt, poverty stricken status quo. The battle over the ratification of Daniel Rouzier is a key component of that battle.

The fight for modernization in order to win the future started last November.  Preval and his INITE coalition did not deliver to the Haitian people over the 10 years they were in power. Their management of the country during their term was marked by corruption, incompetence and theft at all levels of government.  Along with their corrupt associates in the corrupt Groupe de Bourdon business cartel, they looted everything they could from the state coffers and monopolized all state resources – enriching themselves and keeping Haiti mired in crushing poverty. Facing elections last November they carefully planned an electoral coup to take over two-thirds of both chambers in parliament and the Presidency. Preval and INITE operatives wanted kill change at the polls. In preparation for the electoral coup, they put in place a partisan Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) that was in charge of manipulating the results on the frontlines. During both the November 28, 2010 and March 2011 runoff elections, they modified the tally sheets and the results attempting to steal the elections (see:  ).

But Haitian voters were fed up after the incredibly slow and weak response to the devastating January 12, 2010 earthquake. They reacted quickly and took the streets to protest the results and call for Preval’s resignation. Facing a potential overthrow, Preval called on his allies at the OAS to fix their botched efforts to manipulate the results. Unfortunately, the OAS focused only on the first round of the elections and only on the Presidential Elections. Because no one was focused on the legislative elections, by the end of the runoff, Preval and INITE has managed to steal 37 seats in the House of Deputies and six Senate seats.  Haitian voters won a partial victory in their fight against Preval that rigged at least four elections in 10 years (April 6, 1997, May 21 and November 26, 2000 and April 19 and June 2009.), and broke the continuity of corruption that Preval and his allies so desperately fought to maintain.

On May 13, 2011 Preval made a second attempt to shift power from the Presidency that he has loss.  The General Assembly of the Haitian parliament voted for a number of constitutional amendments on May 9, 2011, which were sent to the President in order to be published in Haiti’s Official Register, Le Moniteur. The analysis of the amendments in Le Moniteur on May 13 revealed that between 13 to 44 articles of the amendments has been changed from the May 9 version that was voted on. Questioning of the President of the Haitian Senate, Rodolphe Joazile, and statements by Senator Steven Benoit confirmed that the amendments had been modified and the original version that was voted upon had disappeared. Senators Jocelerme Privert and Rodolphe Joazile of Preval’s INITE have been identified as responsible for illegally modifying the amendments. Many analysts believed this was done under the direction of Preval. A Senate Commission has been tasked with investigating the matter. Since the country’s consensus is that the amendments were falsified, President Martelly issued a decree on June 3, to nullify them and reinstate the 1987 constitution that governed the country for the past 25 years. It has been wrongly reported by the Washington Post and other news outlets that Martelly blocked a “new law” that would bring greater access for the Haitian Diaspora because he contended the law was modified.  It was not a law, but the amendments that made sweeping changes to many sections of the constitution, and there is ample and irrefutable proof that they were modified.

On May 14, 2011, in a pathetic attempt to forestall Martelly’s change agenda, INITE cut off electricity to the parliament buildings during Martelly’s swearing in ceremony as the 56th President of Haiti.

Right after taking office Martelly named Haitian business leader, Daniel Rouzier, as Haiti’s Prime Minister.  Rouzier is known as a moderate individual full of integrity and successful business leader. Haitian reformers welcomed the nomination that was considered as a threat for those involved in corruption for the past 25 years in both private and public sector. The forces opposed to change launched a nasty campaign to undermine Rouzier’s ratification in parliament. It was rumored that he did not pay is taxes; that he had U.S. citizenship; that he was serving the interests of Jamaica; and that his light skin color was a throwback that would revive the politics of color of the 40’s and 60’s. It was nasty. Using the resources of the government that they still control, Preval’s cabinet, with Prime Minister Bellerive and all the ministers still in office, mustered a full fledge propaganda campaign to stop Rouzier.

On June 17, the commission in charge of analyzing Rouzier’s documents concluded that he paid his taxes and that his documents met the constitutional requirements to become the next Prime Minister of the country. As an aside, the constitution requires the Deputies to disclose their financial statements over the past five years, and they have failed to do that to date. 

On January 20, INITE deputies prevented 20 deputies from other parties to validate their powers despite the fact they had the official decree that recognizes their election victory.  On June 21, 42 INITE deputies voted against Daniel Rouzier while 19 from other parties voted for him and three abstained. This was a serious blow to President Martelly’s change agenda. INITE has stated that they want positions in the cabinet in order to ratify a Prime Minister and the next government. The Haitian constitution provides for party who has an absolute majority in parliament to form the government, but there is no majority party in Haitian parliament so their demands are unfounded.
President Martelly’s Chief of Staff Me. Thierry Mayard Paul stated that the Executive Branch has its responsibility and the Legislative Branch’s role is to legislate and control and supervise the government. There will be no negotiations. For the past 10 years INITE with Preval had divided the ministries like pieces of pie and enjoyed the resources of the public sector. State resources in both the Legislative and Executive branches have allowed INITE leaders to become personally rich while the country was starving. They were involved in many financial scandals, most notoriously stealing $463 million of Petrocaribe funds, and stealing workers social security funds at ONA. Among the Haitian people there is high resentment and aggression toward INITE and Preval. INITE’s approval in parliament among the people is merely 3%. INITE and Preval’s fight is to prevent any audit and investigation within the ministries uncovering all the corruption of the past years.

INITE strategy seems to stop Martelly’s efforts to modernize and his change agenda on a multiple fronts. Essentially, they are miring him in the system which could eventually swallow him and subvert any attempts at change. Without a government the President’s activities are very limited. Meanwhile INITE is trying to get Prime Minister Jean Max Bellerive and the other Ministers that are managing current activities back in the front seat, which disgusts the Haitian people that claimed they do not want any “Bouillon rechauffe” which literally means they do not want these “leftovers” associated with corruption and mismanagement of the country.  While doing so they are also using the resources of the government to target and undermine every single initiative of the President. They attacked his education initiative, which focused on ensuring that the 650,000 kids who did not go to school last year because their families could not afford it, could do so this year. All of his efforts are under attack, including attempts to prepare the country and institutions for the hurricane season, when 17 hurricanes are scheduled; his efforts to stop and address the cholera epidemic; and his efforts to jump start the economy. Martelly is being attacked from within because the INITE political appointees are still in place in the civil service.

What’s Next?

Martelly has three options:

First, he could democratically confront INITE in parliament the same way that Democratic and Republican Presidents engage the Congress in the US to move their agenda. In that context Martelly can go to the people to mobilize them and ask them to call and pressure the deputies while renominating Rouzier. Martelly is very popular right now and the wind is with him among the people while INITE is very unpopular (again, they have a 3% approval rating).

Second, he could nominate a new Prime Minister. The INITE deputies will almost certainly block him or her. They stated that they would not ratify Rouzier, who futfilled the Article 157 conditions of the constitution to become Prime Minister, unless Martelly gave them 8 of the 17 ministries. Without that INITE claimed none of Martelly’s Prime Minister candidates will make it. So by nominating someone new, Martelly would be forcing them to go on record that they will approve no one.

Third, he could allow INITE to swallow him by meeting their demands for the ministries in order to get his Prime Minister through. This is the most risky path. The Haitian people who voted for him, voted for change. Any perception that Martelly is endorsing a strategy to cohabitate with a coalition that stole part of parliament and continued to drive Haiti off the cliff will cost him a lot.

Meanwhile the situation is dire in Haiti. The country is threatened by 17 hurricanes, while 1.1 million people are still living in the street 19 months after the earthquake. The cholera epidemic brought to the country by the UN Nepalese soldiers is spreading again because of the rainy season. Without a government to deal with this situation, 800,000 Haitians could be contaminated by November. International aid is continuing to be poorly managed and all the country’s problems are being put on hold until the political standoff is resolved.  Knowing the dynamism of Haitian politics, this standoff is not sustainable for either side. The Haitian people’s patience has run out and they will not tolerate inertia. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Assassination Serves as Warning to Martelly Administration by Stanley Lucas

Last Sunday, a group of heavily armed gunmen went into one of Port-au-Prince’s residential suburbs, broke into a specific house, grabbed their target and shot him in the face. This execution was quick and well organized, and the Modus Operandi (MO) was the same as at least two recent political assassinations.

The gentleman who was executed was Guyto Toussaint. He was the President and CEO of one of Haiti’s public banks, Banque National de Credit (BNC). Toussaint, a public servant for 35 years, was known as one of the most honest, clean and professional officials in Haiti. The BNC was failing in 1999 when he was called in to fix it. As an honest man, he told the authorities what was needed to rehabilitate and save the bank as well as what authority was needed to do the job. The BNC is a very popular public bank that allows public employees and small, informal merchants to borrow money to finance their businesses and build their homes. Public employees can borrow up to six months of their salary if they have an emergency. BNC has permitted merchants that owned small businesses to borrow funds at very competitive rates. Additionally, this was the bank slated to implement the $200 million Haitian American Enterprise Fund introduced by Senator Richard Lugar and pending a vote in the US Congress.  In less than 10 years, Guyto Toussaint turned the bank into a profitable and competitive institution.

Guyto Toussaint was working with the newly elected Martelly administration to launch a new “own your home” initiative allowing citizens to secure loans to build their homes based on a series of well-defined requirements. That initiative was going to be launched this week. Toussaint was also working on two other issues: helping the Martelly administration to modernize the central bank and cleaning past corruption while bringing accountability.

This most recent act proves that antidemocratic forces in Haiti that are against change will use violence to stop reforms and maintain the status quo. The link between corruption, money laundering, a corrupt political public servant and a corrupt business cartel that controlled the banking, financial and commercial system is fiercely opposed to reforms. They are a permanent danger for stability and a roadblock modernization of Haiti.

The assassination of Guyto Toussaint resembled two recent political executions. The first one is the murder of Robert Marcelo in January 2009. Robert Marcelo was the President of Haiti’s Government Procurement Office. He did not want to be involved in corruption and refused any attempt by the Presidency to get him involved in deals and kickbacks. He was then summoned to the National Palace and warned that he should go along with the deals, and he refused. On his way out of the National Palace he was given a rosary and few days later, a team grabbed him. Again, it was a well-organized and efficient strike. Haiti’s political analysts and bloggers attributed the killing to President Preval’s advisors, including Jude Celestin, the man that was chosen to become Preval’s handpicked successor. Haitian newspaper Le Nouvelliste reported that Marcelo’s daughter was forced to leave the country after her public calls for justice. She had received direct threats from the INITE ruling party’s Presidential candidate, Celestin, and circles around President Rene Preval. See the following link:

The second example was the political execution of Pasteur Antoine Leroy an activist of the MDN party. In August 199X the MDN party decided to participate in the demobilization of Haitian soldiers and provided them professional technical skill training and training on democratic principles to reintegrate into civilian life. Pasteur Leroy was in charge of that program which was perceived as a threat by the Aristide regime. According to many sources, President Jean Bertrand Aristide ordered his execution. The man given the task was one of Aristide’s official bodyguards at the National Palace named Milien Romage. He and his team went in heavily armed to Pasteur Antoine Leroy’s residence, grabbed him in front of his kids and wife, brought him outside of his house and shot him. At that time U.S. forces that were in Haiti to support President Clinton’s effort to reinstall Aristide, and the US forces recorded some of the radio communications between the Aristide hit team and the National Palace when the execution was taking place.

The people that executed Guyto Toussaint are believed to be the same group of people. There a few in Haiti who would have the capability and resources to carry out such a strike. They are sending a clear warning to the Martelly administration: corruption is entrenched into the public system, and any effort to reform and strengthen the public system, to bring accountability to those that have stolen Haiti’s meager resources over the past 31 years instead of serving the people will be met with violence.

Three administrations have stolen from Haiti’s coffers: Jean Claude Duvalier was President for 14 years and according to a report issued by Haiti’s Ministry of Finance he stole $600 million and is responsible for the killing of political opponents. Jean Bertrand Aristide according to two official reports issued by Haiti’s General Accounting Office and the Anti-Corruption Unit stole $350 million over nine years. Aristide is also responsible for the killing of many political opponents. And, under President Preval, more than $463 million has been stolen from the Petrocaribe initiative. 

Duvalier has been charged with several crimes and is trying to use the limitations of Haitian law to avoid prosecution. According to Haitian law, the statute of limitations on his crimes is 10 years and he is well beyond those 10 years.  But the Haitian Attorney General is pursuing the case and is moving in the right direction despite the limitations. Duvalier has already appeared in court three times for several hours to answer the Haitian prosecutor’s questions.

Aristide is trying to avoid prosecution by creating a political framework base on lies and political propaganda. Aristide mounted a three-step plan with his allies that alleges that he is being persecuted by imperialist forces. This week Aristide claimed that his security was drastically reduced, which was an incredible mischaracterization of the situation. Haiti has a special police team called CAT to provide security to the President and all former Presidents. This unit is under stress because of a limited number of agents and resources. All former Presidents, according to the law, must be provided security for five years at the end of his or her term. Former President Trouillot has two SUV’s provided by the state and two specially trained police officers from the CAT team. Former President Leslie Manigat (who served for four months) has one armored car with two police officers. Former President Boniface Alexandre has one armored car with four police officers. The new administration needed to strengthen security for the new President and ensure security for the outgoing President Rene Preval.  Aristide has four armored cars and 44 police officers providing security to him. In order to provide security for Martelly and Preval, the Administration pulled 7 officers from Aristide’s 44 agents. Three went to Preval and four to Martelly. Aristide is clearly afraid that after Jean Claude Duvalier he is next to answer questions about his crimes. According to many sources, he is spreading this lie to prepare a political play in three acts:  First by lying about a security, he’s vocalizing concerns about his safety. Second, he will fabricate an attempt on his life the same way he staged a coup in December 17, 2001 that he used to attack and destroy the democratic opposition or when he fabricated that he was kidnapped in 2004 while his own Prime Minister Yvon Neptune said that was fabricated. Act Three will be Aristide’s overseas lobbyists and propaganda networks, with people like his lawyer Ira Kurzban and propagandist in chief Kim Ives, will claim that he is being persecuted. This is widely believed to be his strategy to avoid the Haitian judicial system while giving him the pretext and political cover to relaunch his corrupt agenda. For a better understanding of Aristide’s mindset see:

Preval, in association with the corrupt Groupe de Bourdon business cartel, is attempting to cling to power. He is trying via INITE in parliament to slow down change and capture the new administration.

These violent crimes cannot go unpunished.  They need to be dealt with swiftly in order to send a message that this will not be tolerated.  The new Administration could seek the same type of international assistance that Peru received to prosecute former President Fujimori, and that Chile received to prosecute former President Pinochet. The new administration has inherited a country in a desperate situation with all social, economic indicators in the red, empty state coffers, and 1.3 million people still living on the street more than a year and a half after a devastating earthquake. Cholera is spreading again, and a hurricane season with 17 hurricanes and six storms forecast. And on top of that are increasing gas and food prices. There are real challenges to tackle, which will be difficult enough without the political violence and increased shenanigans of a group of people desperately clinging to the past after the people spoke clearly and definitively for the future – and change.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Haiti Wikileaks: Biased Analysis of Cables Advances Political Agendas By Stanley Lucas

Earlier this week, published two articles analyzing thousands of US cables about Haiti.  The Nation announces that it is partnering with Haiti Liberte, managed by American Kim Ives, to release a series of cables, which would no doubt be enlightening.  But what they have done is publish two articles --  “The Petrocaribe Files” and “Let Them Live on $3 a Day” – with biased analysis of the cables and no links to the cables.  Everyone will recall that the New York Times released their reporting on the cables, but also released redacted copies of the actual cables.

In the article on Petrocaribe, which is the only article available online, the authors paint a picture of the US bullying the Haitian government into accepting bad oil deals that only profited US oil giants driving President Preval into the arms of Venezuela.  Their only evidence in support of that claim is that the US oil companies refused a summons from President Preval to come and discuss purchasing oil from the Haitian government, and the US oil companies ignored a request for detailed information on their operations.  They claim that both of those actions along with a series of tough talk by the Ambassador were an effort to undermine the Haitian deal with the Venezuelans, which had incredibly favorable terms that would benefit the Haitian people.

We do not know exactly what the influence of the US government was, but one would assume that they advocated on behalf of US companies.  That is what government do after all.  And, they were probably tough about it.  But failing the produce the documents deprives fair minded Haitians from being able to read the documents and come to their own conclusions.

But let’s also take a look at the facts that were omitted from the authors’ analysis.  They contend that President Preval used state oil profits to invest in education, healthcare and infrastructure.  Really?  Where is the proof of that?  Haitians have seen virtually no improvement in any of these areas, but it is clear that Preval and his cronies in the Groupe de Bourdon saw an improvement in their off-shore bank accounts.    Click on picture to enlarge

In addition $463 million dollars of the Petrocaribe funds “disappeared” under Preval, and is suspected to have been embezzled by Preval and his network in INITE and the business cartel.  These seem to have been important facts that were left out, but are an important part of the dynamics of Haitian political for the past 40 years under Preval, Aristide and Duvalier.  This is what we been as Haitian trying to change for decades.      Click on picture to enlarge

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Une actualité déconcertante et inquiétante pour l’état de droit

J’ai été sollicitée pour m’exprimer sur l’actualité constitutionnelle du pays à un moment de dérive, d’atermoiements  et  d’incertitudes dans lequel ce qui est en jeu est la préservation de la Constitution de 1987, non dans sa pureté originelle, mais dans son rôle vigilant, et surtout le respect de cette base essentielle de la construction de l’état  de droit qui ne souffre pas de compromissions au nom de la raison d’état qui est son contraire.

Je l’ai fait en créole sur des stations de radio, mais il me paraît utile et opportun de produire mes analyses et d’exprimer mes préoccupations par écrit. Le langage parlé touche le plus grand nombre, mais l’expression écrite demeure comme témoignage d’une position et d’un engagement.

Pour la première fois depuis son adoption, la Constitution de 1987 est en train de subir une procédure d’amendement, initiée conformément à son Article 282 lors de la dernière session de la 48ème Législature, in extremis, le 14 septembre 2009 avant minuit. Un texte a été adopté qui sera publié dans Le Moniteur le 6 octobre. La 49ème Législature installée avec un retard considérable, mais dans les temps, a statué sur le texte le 9 mai avant minuit et l’a envoyé au Président de la République afin qu’il soit promulgué et publié, ce qui a été fait le 13 mai.

A partir de là, l’actualité s’emballe et la procédure est ballottée dans un bateau ivre où se sont multipliés de véritables "sauve qui peut". On a entendu plusieurs témoignages de parlementaires révélant, avec force détail et animés par une conviction pas toujours concordante, que le texte publié le 13 mai n’est pas celui qu’ils ont voté en Assemblée Nationale. Celui-ci souligne l’absence de sa signature réglementaire, celui-là attire l’attention sur des articles manquants, d’autres révèlent des prescriptions tronquées dans leur substance. Tout un cahier de charges verbales qui a troublé la conscience citoyenne mais aussi déclenché des dérives analytiques et des propositions de solution ahurissantes, quoique parfois sincères dans la volonté d’aider dans la recherche d’une solution, mais qui s’écartent des exigences du Droit, surtout s’agissant d’un texte fondamental comme la Loi-mère du pays qui réclame un minimum de respect. Le respect de la Constitution c’est ce qui me porte à livrer quelques réflexions même si, comme je l’ai maintes fois souligné, la Charte de 1987 présente de nombreuses lacunes qu’il est toutefois possible de combler mais en respectant les règles de procédure. Je rappelle aussi que ma proposition fondamentale va dans le sens de la préparation d’une nouvelle Constitution, mais lorsque le contexte national sera politiquement approprié. Mais j’ai toujours affirmé que je n’avais aucune aversion méthodologique envers  la procédure d’amendement s’appliquant à 10, 20 ou, comme c’est  le cas présentement, 128 Articles, à condition qu’on observe les principes et le chronogramme idoines.

J’ai travaillé avec 4 textes à partir de la Constitution de 1987 qui sert de référence :

·                     Les propositions d’amendement soumises par l’Exécutif, un document en trois colonnes, le premier rapportant la disposition constitutionnelle, le second le changement souhaité et le dernier la justification de la  modification estimée souhaitable.

·                     Le texte voté séparément par la Chambre des Députés et le Sénat le 14 septembre 2009 avant minuit.

·                     La Déclaration correspondante publiée dans Le Moniteur le 6 octobre 2009.

·                     La Loi constitutionnelle parue dans Le Moniteur le 13 mai 2011 avec la formule sacramentelle de la promulgation par le Président de la République.

S’agissant de ce dernier texte que j’analyserai plus tard, si l’opportunité se présente, je voudrais faire trois observations rapides.

La première concerne l’appellation d’Assemblée Constituante que l’Assemblée Nationale se serait accordée. En l’occurrence, il s’agit d’une Assemblée Nationale Constituante, car le titre précédent se justifie s’il s’agit de fabriquer une nouvelle Constitution et, le plus souvent, en dehors de l’enceinte parlementaire. Lorsqu’elle est dotée de pouvoirs constituants soit pour rédiger un nouveau texte, soit pour amender une charte en vigueur, le titre requis précisément par la fonction est bien Assemblée Nationale Constituante. Rappelons que dans notre histoire, 11 de nos Constitution, dont celle de 1987, ont été fabriquées par des Assemblées Constituantes, et 8 d’entre elles par des Assemblées Nationales Constituantes. Le produit fini dans un cas comme dans l’autre, détient la même valeur juridique. Ce n’est pas un détail car l’identification correcte de l’organe émetteur  qualifie l’objet de l’intervention.

La seconde se rapporte à la dernière phrase "Le présent amendement après publication au Journal Officiel Le Moniteur entre en vigueur à l’installation du futur Président de la République le 14 mai 2011".

Or, l’Article 284 de la Constitution précise "L’amendement obtenu ne peut entrer en vigueur qu’après l’installation du prochain président élu".

La grammaire juridique est aussi de la grammaire et il se dégage une différence entre les deux conjonctions de temps qui ne sont pas interchangeables, car la première induit une immédiateté temporelle et même une coïncidence, tandis que la seconde établit un décalage qui va dans le sens voulu par la Constitution.

La troisième est plus importante et saute aux yeux dès la première page du texte publié dans Le Moniteur du 13 mai 2011. Elle concerne le label de Loi constitutionnelle octroyé au texte et qui suscite quatre commentaires critiques :

·                     La 49ème Législature a reçu de la précédente non un projet de loi mais une Déclaration telle que publiée dans Le Moniteur du 6 octobre 2009.

·                     La Constitution de 1987 ne requiert pas d’adopter des amendements sous forme de loi.

·                     L’Assemblée Nationale n’a pas dans ses attributions d’adopter des Lois. Il est inscrit qu’elle peut prendre un décret  pour ratifier les Traités et Conventions (Article 276-1), mais la Constitution ne lui reconnaît pas une prérogative législative stricto sensu.

·                     Il existe toute une procédure d’adoption des lois à partir d’une compétence générique reconnue au Parlement dont il est dit qu’il fait des lois sur tous les objets d’intérêt public (Article 111). Mais plusieurs dispositions établissent l’itinéraire des lois, entre l’initiative, la navette d’abord bilatérale entre la Chambre et le Sénat qui doivent voter un texte dans les mêmes termes, puis triangulaire par l’obligation de solliciter et d’attendre les objections possibles du Président de la République lequel, en fin de parcours, promulgue la loi et l’envoie au Journal Officiel pour la rendre exécutoire. Il est donc impropre de parler de Loi constitutionnelle alors que cette procédure n’était pas de mise, ne se justifie pas et n’a pas été enclenchée. Et il convient de souligner que le Président de la République, en promulguant le texte envoyé au Moniteur, lui aussi, l’identifie comme telle, reprenant  et confirmant ainsi l’anachronisme juridique.

A partir de ces documents de base, on peut reconstruire l’itinéraire de la pièce qui devait comporter et authentifier l’amendement. Mais plusieurs zones d’ombre demeurent, la principale étant le document transmis par le Président du Sénat et de l’Assemblée Nationale au Président  Préval aux fins de promulgation. C’est le maillon manquant de la chaine et une pièce essentielle, la seule qui permettrait une minutieuse comparaison avec le texte du 13 mai pour repérer les erreurs, altérations de fond, en clair une manipulation. En son absence, il est logiquement et juridiquement impossible, en tout cas pas convaincant de révéler les points de différence ce qui permettrait de confirmer à coup sûr qu’il y a eu manipulation,  dans quel sens et, peut-être, au profit de qui. Quelque crédibilité que l’on accorde à la parole de Députés et de Sénateurs qui crient au scandale, dont les propos sont largement repris par la presse parlée et écrite, elle ne constitue pas une preuve, même si elle oriente vers des probabilités surtout psychologiques. Ces propos vibrants de sincérité de parlementaires faisant appel à leur mémoire et non à leurs notes écrites ne sauraient fonder des arguments prouvant l’illégalité de la procédure et la caducité du texte publié le 13 mai.

Il revenait au Président de l’Assemblée Nationale, dès l’éclatement de la controverse, d’y mettre fin en publiant le document voté par l’Assemblée Nationale et transmis au Président de la République. Après tout, il parait logique de croire qu’il en a conservé une copie, sinon ce serait mettre en cause le sérieux avec lequel les choses ont été menées. Il ne s’agit pas, en l’occurrence, de fabriquer un rectificatif après coup, en corrigeant un texte publié car on pourrait douter de l’authenticité d’une initiative qui s’apparenterait plutôt à un rattrapage peu convaincant.

Incontestablement, il y a trois lieux possibles où l’intervention manipulatrice a pu être exécutée. Le premier est le milieu de l’Assemblée Nationale, mais est-ce le Président ou les membres du Bureau tout entier qui auraient agi dans la précipitation des dernières heures de la procédure ? Comment expliquer la disparition des Procès verbaux de la séance à partir desquels on pourrait retracer le fil des événements, et qui en avait la garde ? Sommes-nous en présence d’un cas de désinvolture administrative ou faut-il soupçonner un geste délibéré? Restent les cassettes d’enregistrement télévisé de cette importante séance qui ne sauraient constituer des preuves intangibles, mais permettraient de révéler qui a dit quoi, quand et quel fut le résultat du vote article par article et à quel moment. On est en droit de se demander si ces documents ne se sont pas, eux aussi, volatilisés et sur ordre de qui.

Le second est la Présidence de la République : faut-il incriminer le Président René Préval, le Premier Ministre Jean Max Bellerive, les Ministres ou tous ensemble réunis et consentants pour mener à bien cette grave intervention ? Ils ont signé le texte envoyé par le Président de l’Assemblée Nationale et cautionné l’envoi au Moniteur. Ont-ils pris la peine de lire ce à quoi ils apposaient leur signature  lui accordant ainsi un label d’authenticité et de légitimité, ou ont-ils, en la circonstance, fait confiance au Président qui, en signant le document, a dissipé les interrogations possibles ?

Reste un troisième espace, les Presses Nationales elles-mêmes pour fonder une possibilité technique à défaut d’un intérêt politique. La publication au Moniteur est soumise à des instructions reçues du Bureau du Premier Ministre ou du Ministère du Commerce. Sans en écarter l’hypothèse, une collusion avec des centres extérieurs pour effectuer les changements serait audacieuse et aussi dangereuse, car le Journal Officiel, en  principe, ferme l’itinéraire d’un texte. Dans notre histoire, il est arrivé qu’un texte publié soit rappelé afin de corriger une erreur de transcription. On lit dans Le Moniteur le compte rendu de ces cas, rares au demeurant, où des parlementaires demandaient et obtenaient des rectifications au sujet de leurs déclarations mal rapportées ou qu’ils estimaient telles. Mais il s’agissait d’erreurs mineures et, à ces époques-là, le Parlement avait directement accès au Journal Officiel. En la circonstance, un tel rappel devrait être effectué par l’entité qui aura eu l’initiative du premier envoi, c’est-à-dire le Président Préval qui n’est plus en fonction. Et il n’est pas sans intérêt de souligner qu’un texte publié au Moniteur jouit du bénéfice de la présomption de légalité en ce sens que sa parution représente la dernière étape du chronogramme; mais une judicieuse controverse relativise ce caractère impératif car il suffirait d’inclure n’importe quel document dans le Journal Officiel pour lui attribuer une nécessité juridique. Ce qui demeure valide à cet égard, ce n’est pas la publication en elle-même mais le respect d’une procédure qui inclut la responsabilité de l’entité qui achemine les textes. Jusqu’à nouvel ordre, aucune rectification n’est venue de l’Exécutif quant à l’authenticité du document. On peut ainsi avancer l’hypothèse que, de son point de vue, celui publié le 13 mai est bien la pièce qui a été acheminée, ce qui affranchit les Presses Nationales de toute responsabilité.

Ce n’est pas la police civile qui pourrait directement  sanctionner ces manquements; elle pourrait seulement initier une enquête pour déterminer les responsabilités, mais elle devrait être requise de le faire et par qui ? Il ne faut pas oublier que les parlementaires jouissent de l’immunité juridictionnelle, sauf en cas de flagrant délit. Et il en est de même des membres du Pouvoir Exécutif. Mais comment, en l’occurrence, dans ces conditions de précipitation, établir la flagrance ? Ce cas relèverait plutôt  de la Haute Cour de Justice car il s’agit bien d’une forfaiture qui resterait d’ailleurs à prouver; mais, faut-il le rappeler, le Président sortant n’est plus justiciable une fois qu’il a quitté le pouvoir et il serait hautement improbable d’obtenir le vote de 66 députés pour le mettre en accusation devant le Sénat érigé en Haute Cour de Justice. Les Ministres sont responsables des décisions du Chef de l’Etat, mais il faudrait identifier lequel d’entre eux aurait pris la lourde responsabilité de cette altération. Les parlementaires sont les seuls détenteurs du pouvoir d’état qui ne sont pas passibles de cette institution (Article 186), ce qui est une anomalie. Dans notre histoire, il n’en a pas toujours été ainsi.  La faculté de juger les responsables politiques est inscrite dans toutes nos Constitutions depuis 1806, et trois d’entre elles (1846, 1849, 1874) incluaient les parlementaires comme coupables possibles de forfaiture et de malversations. En les exemptant de toute poursuite devant la Haute Cour de Justice, la Constitution de 1987 n’anticipe pas qu’ils puissent errer dans l’accomplissement de leurs fonctions et leur accorde, avec l’inviolabilité et l’immunité, une totale impunité prospective.

Il est pénible d’anticiper que, malheureusement, comme cela se produit trop souvent, on va assister à une vaste opération de "kase fèy kouvri sa" et, par lassitude et une inertie collective consentie, le souci de préserver les acquis de la révision particulièrement en ce qui concerne la création du Conseil Constitutionnel dont l’intervention serait fort judicieuse en l’occurrence, les dispositions relatives à la nationalité si ardemment attendues de la part de nos compatriotes de l’extérieur, encore que certaines d’entre elles pourraient ne pas combler leurs espérances, on s’achemine vers un "kole piese" par lequel, contrairement à toutes les normes, on sortira prestement d’un chapeau une pièce rafistolée que l’on présentera comme étant l’authentique votée le 9 mai, alors qu’il a déjà été révélé qu’elle a disparu. Pour comble,  il se murmure qu’elle sera promulguée par le nouveau Président qui l’enverra au Moniteur …….comportant la même date et revêtue des signatures apposées par l’équipe sortante ! Cet accroc, s’il se réalise au nom de la raison d’état, marquera un nouveau recul dans la construction de l’état de droit.

Je l’écris avec amertume et sans illusion, mais avec une inaltérable conviction en faveur du respect des normes : la seule solution acceptable capable d’assainir les bases juridiques de fonctionnement de l’Etat est de reconnaître, courageusement, l’échec de la procédure d’amendement et de reporter celle-ci à la fin de la 49ème Législature, en prenant soin de respecter toutes les étapes requises. Ou alors créer les conditions pour organiser une Assemblée Constituante afin de préparer une nouvelle Constitution.