By Francklyn B Geffrard
Sunday, September 15, 2019 ((rezonodwes.com)) – The corruption and lack of ethics in politics in Haiti remain both recurrent and worrying issues. Corruption is a complex social, political and economic phenomenon that dangerously threatens the foundation of democratic institutions. It crosses the whole of Haitian society and deprives the majority of citizens of the enjoyment of their fundamental rights.
When we talk about corruption in Haiti, we automatically refer to tax evasion, smuggling, misappropriation of public funds, rigged procurement, fictitious jobs, bribes, and so on. And these intolerable practices cost the country hundreds of millions of dollars that could have been used for its economic and social development and to guarantee its stability.
However, corruption has already carved out such a good place in our society that the term “transparency” tends to disappear from Haitian political discourse, even vocabulary. As a result, corruption, a real obstacle to social progress and economic development, is becoming a commonplace fact that is firmly implanted in the Haitian reality. It is actually a well-established system set up by mafia networks with tentacles all over the society to better commit their packages. Apart from incompetence and the inability of both, corruption is the worst scourge the country has ever known. Even the natural disasters that ravaged the country did not hurt him as much as corruption.
The trivialization of corruption is a powerful weapon used by the corrupt to make unscrupulous acts acceptable to uneducated or poorly educated citizens. They have huge financial means to bribe more people, particularly in the media, with the specific purpose of influencing weak minds to the point of believing that morality and ethics do not exist in politics. In the name of this thesis that does not stand up, they believe they are authorized to propagate without worry, the virus of corruption.
The trivialization of corruption is a phenomenon as dangerous, if not worse than the corruption itself . The impact of the trivialization of corruption is particularly evident in the inaction and inability of society to respond appropriately to the corrupt. This trivialization makes citizens docile, indulgent, even tolerant; too tolerant of the corrupt and corrupt, yet responsible for their misfortunes. This work is so well done that sometimes the poor victims become accomplices of the corrupt, make a deal with them to defend themselves.
Corruption has become so commonplace that corrupt people are no longer hiding. On the contrary, they are more arrogant and aggressive than anyone. They display openly without complex. Believing themselves on conquered ground, they speak loudly, too loudly, one would say. They are on TV sets, on the radio, on social networks all day long to attack honest citizens who serve the nation. They weave strong bonds in high places of society. They attend the same religious congregations as their victims. They receive the communion and blessing of the same religious leader as well as their victims. But they never pity their victims as long as they revolt to overthrow the order of things.
In addition to state institutions including the Unit for Combating Corruption (ULCC), the Central Financial Intelligence Unit (UCREF), the Office of Financial Affairs (BAF), the Finance Inspectorate, responsible for preventing and repressing corruption, parliamentarians, citizens' representatives, have a vital role to play in the fight against corruption. As elected representatives of the people, legislators and supervisors, they are the ones who develop the necessary legal framework for the suppression of corruption. It does not stop there. Parliamentarians are the liaisons between the citizens they represent and the government they oversee and control in order to ensure that laws are enforced and that public policies are implemented to the satisfaction of the needs citizens. Parliamentarians are the main actors, not the only ones, to encourage transparency. They must themselves be transparent and refrain from participating in acts of corruption.
However, it is often the case that parliamentarians themselves are at the center of corruption scandals. In some cases, it is parliamentarians who receive bribes to ratify a Prime Minister's policy statement or vote on a motion of no confidence against a prime minister. In other cases, parliamentarians are involved in major embezzlement operations.
The most recent corruption scandal involving parliamentarians is the denunciations of Senator Saurel Yacinthe concerning his colleagues who allegedly haggled their votes to the appointed prime minister, Fritz William Michel, at a price of $ 100,000 per senator. Five of the supporters of the regime in place would have received this sum. One of them first confirmed that he had received the money and then went out of his way. All the others denied having pocketed the bribes. However, while defending himself, one of them, Senator Kédelaire Augustine, who claims to be honest, admitted that there are always distributions of money to the members of the majority, each time we have to ratify a prime minister. In other words, it's a classic. And this practice is recurrent in parliament. These attempts to explain once made, the incriminated parliamentarians believe that this is enough to file the case without any investigation and no legal proceedings against them.
Recently, it is the Quaestor of the Senate, Onondieu Louis, who is indexed in a report of the judicial police for his alleged involvement in a big embezzlement operation of 29 million gourdes. To minimize and trivialize the affair, Mr. Louis, a former government commissioner who presents himself as a clean, immaculate man, calls the investigation report of the Central Directorate of the Judicial Police (DCPJ) a “political report. This rhetoric is now known to the general public. And it became a refrain. Every investigation report that indexes a state official for any crime (blood crime or financial crime) is considered a political report and is good to be shelved.
Besides the parliament, there is certainly the press, a real counter-power which is called to expose the facts of corruption and corrupt, especially in cases where it is not just rumors and he There are investigation reports. However, overall, the press does not play its role. Very few media outlets and very few journalists take the trouble to talk about it in order to move the issues forward. In some cases, the press is used as a simple conveyor belt for the message of the corrupt. She stands in court to bleach or to blame who she wants according to her interests. The fundamental role it plays is above all the trivialization of corruption. And that's where it becomes extremely dangerous. No follow-up is ever done with respect to corruption files. Everything is done, on the contrary, to make forget these important questions as if one could get used to the corruption. You do not get used to corruption. We just have to fight corruption.
It is clear that many sectors of the country do not really engage in the fight against corruption. Parliament, justice, the press, civil society (apart from a few rare organizations) do not really play their roles in fighting corruption. So far, everything has been done to trivialize the corruption and to make it pass in the public opinion as normal. If nothing is done to combat corruption in all its aspects, and by trivializing it, it will end up being considered as a criterion of qualification to occupy the highest public functions of the country; especially as we are already witnessing the banditization of the state and that it is part, probably, of a social project of a certain political group rejected and hated by a good part of the population.
Francklyn B. Geffrard
15 September 2019