PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (sentinel.ht) – The Economic Forum of the Private Sector (FESP) is an organization consisting of Haiti’s largest enterprises. It joined the Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Haiti (CCIH), Friday, in expressing its concern over the 7-member electoral council sworn-in by defacto-Minister of Justice Jean Renel Sanon on May 8. With two separate press releases, the exhortation for an “electoral council of confidence”, “a Constitutional Electoral Law” and the “urgency for elections by year’s end” was unprecedented; historically the Haitian private sector had always been timid to invoke itself in national politics.
In two separate press releases, Friday, the FESP and CCI spoke in agreement that “the country needs an electoral council that inspires confidence,” and “electoral laws of the Constitution”, refraining from discussing the El Rancho Accord.
Politically, the private sector has sided with the Haitian Senate, political parties, religious, human rights and civil society organizations which all, this month, called for the Constitution of Haiti to be respected. These sectors have come in opposition of the Martelly-Lamothe administration and a section of the international community calling itself the “Core Group”.
The private sector stated in their releases that elections needed to be held in 2014. Haiti has been overdue on elections dating back to 2011 and is without a third of its Senate and nationwide, local commissioners and mayors are either directly appointed by the Martelly administration or non-existent. Another third of the Senate will be lost in January 2015 as well as the entire Chamber of Deputies if elections are not held.
President Michel Martelly has continued to receive support of the international community through the “Core Group”: the Ambassadors, Pamela White (United States), Patrick Nicoloso (France), Sandra Honore (United Nations), European Union, Spain, Brazil, the Charge d’Affaires of Canada, and Special Representative of the Organization of American States. With the support of these diplomats and an extra-constitutional accord made at the El Rancho Hotel in Port-au-Prince, Martelly has been able to instill the climate of a dictatorship and has gone ahead to establish an electoral council that takes Haitians back to the elections of the Duvalier (1957-1986} dictatorship.
The Minister of Justice, Jean Renel Sanon, assisted by members of the “Core Group”, swore in only 7 of the Constitutionally-mandated 9 members needed for an electoral council. Two councilors abstained from the installation due to gross irregularities in the process.
Furthermore, Sanon is the Vice President of President Michel Martelly’s political party, Parti Haitien Tet Kale (PHTK). A party that has already been campaigning well before the establishment of an electoral calendar. Sanon is also an embattled minister that has demonstrated support for criminal syndicates and has political prisoners in his current record.
The 20-member Senate voted 14-4 to impeach Sanon. Although having the majority vote of no-confidence, Sanon could not be Constitutionally removed as Minister of Justice because of the missing third of the Senate, thus placing him in defacto status.
The private sector has not gone so far as other groups to, yet, call for the resignation of President Michel Martelly but it is clear that there is a rising crescendo.
The political debacle is deep and some have attributed the situation to the foreign policy of former Secretary Hillary Clinton (2009-2013).
Secretary of State John Kerry, like Obama, has tried to manage the diplomatic difficulties of his predecessor. Recently, Kerry published a statement to the U.S. Congress in the Federal Register that many in Haiti have found to be “gravely” inaccurate.