During the 20 years of the existence of the PNH, hundreds of brilliant officials have had to move elsewhere and thousands suffer in silence because of a mafia who takes control of the institution
by Kerlens Tilus
Friday, December 7, 2018 ((rezonodwes.com)) – A union can play an important role in the organization and operation of the Haitian National Police as the mission of the unions is above all to defend the conditions of police officers who influence their performance and well-being
Max Weber, in his sociological definition of the state argues that the state must have a monopoly of legitimate physical violence on its territory. That said, the Haitian National Police should retain the monopoly of the fight against crime, organized crime, networks of drug trafficking and pimping, and illegal immigration. In a study published by HASOW in May 2013, Athena R. Kolbe concludes that the Haitian state does not have the monopoly of legitimate violence on the national territory and draws a dismal picture of the security situation in Haiti. According to this document, we know that violence is organized in Haiti and that urban gangs, former military groups, private militias, criminal networks associated with politicians, rich and powerful families have a monopoly on violence.
The Haitian National Police created on June 12, 1995 by ICITAP's mission is to provide public security, the judicial police and the maintenance of order throughout the territory of the Republic of Haiti. During the 20 years of the existence of the HNP, hundreds of brilliant officials have had to move elsewhere and thousands suffer in silence because of a mafia who takes control of the institution. Good working conditions are a source of motivation for any employee. In order to allow the HNP to fulfill its mission effectively and to get out of the criminal status, we advocate for its unionization.
We must remind everyone of the circumstances in which the National Police of Haiti had originated . The Haitian Armed Forces (FADH) was denounced as a rotten and ineffective institution that needed to be dismantled at all costs. Left-wing men led by President Jean Bertrand Aristide shouted loudly in 1994 after the latter's return: “kraze lame a, banm kò polis la”. ICITAP has achieved a titanic job in eight months to provide Haiti with a more or less modern police force that could fill the void left by the FADH and ensure public safety effectively.
In September 1998 with the transfer of command to the Haitian authorities, the president Jean Bertrand Aristide who telegraphed the president René Préval began with the encanaillement of the new police force. Chenet Jean Baptiste, a former head of the PNH has done a comprehensive work on this period that deserves to be consulted. There was a glimmer of hope for Haiti as young, well-watered intellectuals had dropped out of university and had a promising professional career to join the PNH. Young, very dynamic and competent military veterans also offered their services.
Unfortunately, Haitian elites and clumsy business leaders have not believed in the need to protect and strengthen this institution. For nearly 20 years, the high command of the PNH has installed a climate of insecurity within the institution fighting the police officers who claim its professionalization, better working conditions and the valorization of the work of the latter. The HNP is itself a den of bandits with a monopoly on drug trafficking and the five institutions: patronage, corruption, threats of violence, civil disobedience and customary law that constitute a brake on the process of democratization according to Hans-Joachim Lauth
In the interest of being very objective, we reviewed the work done by the various Directors General and Secretaries of State for Public Security who were directly involved in the management of the institution and noticed that those who tried to follow the master plan written by ICITAP to the letter had to resign or retreat. History will note that no general director of the PNH could really allow the Haitian state to have the monopoly of legitimate physical violence on the national territory.
Seminars were organized on public security, recently the OAS decided to equip Haiti with a defense system, nothing conclusive came out of these actions. Is there a real desire to make the PNH the only real force that can protect lives and property? Can the HNP win the battle against organized violence and institutionalized banditry with disgusting elites who take advantage of anomie and contribute to atrophy?
It is very difficult to make a radical change in the PNH without a political consensus and a real will on the part of the ruling classes to set the record straight. Political stability is essential for achieving sustainable development. To obtain political stability, a force capable of functioning according to the prescriptions of the Constitution and out of the informality that characterizes the Haitian political system is needed. In short, it is necessary to revalue the police institution, to carry out reforms and to put in trust the police officers.
The National Police of Haiti works in the informal since 1998. The excesses of the FADH which one wanted to correct continue to continue in the PNH. The constituting act of the police institution suggests that it is a democratic institution that must flourish, redefine itself and be energized. The Handbook of Texts of the National Police of Haiti, Manuel 3 groups together a set of texts that govern the functioning of the institution.
Some texts are confused and misleading. Nevertheless, the constitution of the PNH guarantees the right of expression “in accordance with the provisions of the General Statute of Police Officials and its implementing texts”. Article 11 of the Provisional Rules of General Discipline stipulates that “the police officer may make individual proposals to improve the conditions of performance of the service as well as questions relating to his personal situation, ie to the higher authority using the hierarchical, either to the consultation bodies when they are created “.
A police union is a consultative body that meets the requirements of Article 11 of the Provisional Rules of General Discipline. Why the High Command of the PNH refuses to accept the request of the police officers who demand the creation of a union able to discuss with the officials of the institution and the public security officials to guarantee their rights not respected, improve the working conditions and reflecting on the multiples facing the institution?
A police union within the HNP can promote a work of consultation where the police can express themselves freely about their experience, the reality of the institution and actively participate in its recovery. In all democratic countries with formal institutions, the police have the right to group together in consultation bodies, which is also provided for in the constitutive act of the PNH.
It would be beneficial to everyone that this right could be exercised by the Haitian police. It is unacceptable that police officers are minimized in the exercise of their duties and may be subject to reprisals by those they are fighting. Public safety is more than just a question of firearms, police patrols and law enforcement. We must rethink the public security system. How many professional criminologists do we have in the PNH?
What do we do with all those individuals who received scholarships and returned to the country after their training? Why a policeman who leads an exemplary life can not live decently? What are the mechanisms in place to combat the five above-mentioned institutions promoted by the High Command that hinder the democratization of the country such as corruption and patronage? Drug traffickers, kidnappers and killers serving clans in the PNH are rewarded and continue to make the law.
Most Haitian police officers are committed body and soul to practice their profession in respect of the Constitution and the code of ethics of the police institution. To speak of the authority of the state is to speak first and foremost of a force capable of ensuring the monopoly of legitimate physical violence and the guarantor of public security and social order. The country can not continue to live under the threat of violence from violent gangs and a small group of scum. The Haitian people must stand together with the police to demand reforms that can not be promoted outside of a consultative body that is a union.
In the run-up to the elections, the Haitian police must be lucid so as not to be manipulated by politicians and the economic oligarchy against the people. We make a solemn appeal to candidates and future parliamentarians to make advocacy for the unionization of the National Police of Haiti their hobby horse. One of the major acts that the 50th Parliament will have to take is a resolution to rethink public security and implement reforms within the HNP. The work of the elected representatives can not bear fruit without a favorable climate of security, unless they want to continue to walk in the logic of the inaptocracy.
We do not encourage the police to engage in politics, nor to strike, but they must form pressure groups to lobby potential candidates and why not support their peers who want to stand for elected office. The High Command of the HNP already feels the threat, which is why he begins to intimidate the police who want to be candidates. Until when will we continue to function in informality? Haiti badly needs his John Edgar Hoover.
While waiting for a responsible team to take charge of the national boat and work seriously to establish the authority of the State, let us commit to make possible the unionization of the National Police of Haiti as provided in the internal regulations . Such an initiative will allow police officers to enjoy all their rights and to evolve in a calm climate that will promote maximum returns. We must fight to find a solution to organized violence and state banditry. To help the police in this legitimate struggle is to guarantee our own existence in the land of Haiti.
Kerlens Tilus 4/1/2015