Haitian President refuses to step down

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President Jovenel Moise says he has no intention of stepping down and has brushed aside suggestions that he is the cause of the opposition inspired demonstrations in the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country over the past few months..

“Let me take the last 33 years as an example: we have had 15 presidents, 22 prime ministers, a large number of ministerial cabinets and a number of transitions, and we are still where we are. The solution to the problems we are currently experiencing is not the resignation of the president. This solution lies in unity, serenity and calm and coexistence,” Moise said in an exclusive interview with BBC Mundo.

“The problem we are talking about is the system, not a person. We have met many governments, many presidents, many prime ministers. But we are still where we are. It means that these problems were wrongly identified.

“That is why now, when I speak with you about the system, it is important that all Haitians unite and seek that all current social, economic and political forces stop confronting each other. We can not build a future for this country through division,” the told the BBC.

The opposition parties here have accused Moise of embezzlement, but the head of state has 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 hat found that significant shortcomings have been associated with the planning and implementation of development programmes and projects funded by the PetroCaribe Fund.

Last month, the state announced it had filed a complaint with the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Port-au-Prince against those persons 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.

“In the first place, no resolution was signed with PetroCarbe in my administration: the last resolution with PetroCaribe was in 2016 and I came to power in 2017. In my administration there was no resolution.

“Before my presidency I was one of the representatives of a company. And that company had a contract with the Haitian state. It was a correct contract signed by the Court of Audits.

“This company repaired 3 km of road. The work was carried out in 85% and the company received 35% of the money. I resigned the company. I became the president of the Republic. And the road is still there, you can go visit it,” he said.

Asked what is his opinion about PetroCaribe, “Moise responded by saying “it’s a case, it’s a case in progress.

“I cannot issue opinions now, the judiciary must do its job, so, as chief executive, I have asked that some international institutions be present to take a look at the case,” he said, disagreeing with the suggestion that Haitian institutions are not capable of investigating on their own.

“That is not what I said. We have correct institutions, but we are in a crisis situation and the country is so confronted that we need international support.

“Haiti is a party and is the founder of international organizations such as the OAS and the UN. Today we are in a crisis situation and to understand and know what happened, these institutions are a necessity.”

Moise also disagreed that the French-speaking country could descend into civil war if he does not resign.

“ The Haitian people are not like that, they are very peaceful, they are a population that loves peace, it is a population that loves serenity; Haitians do not like war, much less if it is between us,”  he said, adding “we are not in a position to kill each other”.

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