Prominent Haitian banker gunned down

Guiteau Toussaint, who helped turn around the state-owned bank, was shot and killed inside his home.
Miami Herald staff and wire reports

A well-known Haitian banker credited with turning around a once struggling state-owned bank was fatally shot inside his home after armed men broke in Sunday night, Haitian police said.

Guiteau Toussaint, 56, was shot in the head after several men broke into his home in Vivy Mitchel, an affluent neighborhood east of downtown Port-au-Prince, Frantz Lerebours, a spokesman for the Haitian National Police, said Monday. His death is under investigation.

“This is for Haiti an awful loss of a competent, hard-working and serious individual … the type that is most needed for this country,’’ said Maxime Charles, president of Haiti’s bankers association and country chief for Scotiabank.

Toussaint’s death came as a shock to Haitians, especially those in the private sector who describe him as a professional who was well-liked by his staff.

He is the second prominent banker to be killed in Haiti in the last year. In June 2010, Michèle César Jumelle, the executive director of SOFIHDES, a private investment bank focused on small and medium enterprises, and her husband Yves Clément were shot to death in the yard of their home in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Thomassin.

Toussaint headed the board of directors of the National Bank of Credit and has been credited with saving the state-owned commercial bank from bankruptcy after taking it over in 1999 and restructuring it. By 2008, the bank was paying dividends. It is considered the public sector’s private bank.

“In 1999, BNC was in pretty bad shape. He aggressively restructured it by bringing in quality people and launching an expansion program. He turned the bank around,’’ said Daniel Dorsainvil, a longtime friend and Haitian finance minister from 2006-09.

Dorsainvil, who has been friends with Toussaint since 1996, spoke with him Sunday. They made arrangements to see each other later this week. Toussaint, he said, “was excited” about a mortgage program the bank planned to launches Tuesday.

Known as “Kay Pam” or “My House,’’ the program marks the first time Haitians will have access to long-term mortgages at competitive rates.

“It is a great loss for the country. He was a great manager. But most of all, he was a great guy who was really concerned and dedicated to change in Haiti,’’ said Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive.

Miami Herald Staff Writer Jacqueline Charles contributed to this report.

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4 thoughts on “Prominent Haitian banker gunned down

  1. I think It’s time to have the Interpol and the FBI involved and to rebuild the Haitian army with patriotic Haitians.  We are dealing with an international Mafia that has to be dismantled in Haiti.  Haiti has become a failed state  without an army and has become a fertile ground for international and transnational gangs and terrorists.  Haiti  sovereignty is under attack 90 miles away from US territory and therefore these gangs and mafia pose a threat the security of the US also.   Haiti’s failure is US to loose in its own backyard.  Taxpayers money through the USAID is at stake.   Martelly’s government is supported by the US.  This crime happened under Martelly’s watch.  It has to be resolved soon and they better move fast.  We should file a complaint and put pressure on the State Department and the White House to help resolve this crime and find the perpetrators.  This precarious situation will hamper any chance to have investors to come to Haiti.  Resolving this crime will create certainty and confidence to the Haitian potential markets.

    1. That is a quality comment Richard. I am not sure how quick anyone will jump to help in the State Department, but Interpol should get a good look at many of the players in Haiti’s crime, in general. They will find those in places of power, and many that one would never guess are involved.

  2. An educated Haitian population and children enrolled in universal education  will decrease crime by the mere fact that this kids will be off the streets and will have the hope for a better future.  That’s a powerful incentive.  The other incentive is to integrate the marginalized lower classes into the mainstream Haitian economy by creating well paid jobs to supersede the lower crime activities.   

    But I am more concerned with organized crime and transnational gangs operating in Haiti.  I have done research at UM on Haitian gangs.  Our group worked with anti-gang units of police departments from Florida City to West Palm beach.  Haitian gangs are powerful.  They have a military structure and are run by “CEO’s” from NYC, Columbia and Mexico.  They are well organized and well financed to operate in kidnapping, drug trade, counterfeits, car theft ( There are car factories and body shops in Haiti’s rural areas to refit stolen cars in the US and to be sold all throughout Latin america).  That reminds me of the Al Qaeda training camps in Afganistan and Pakistan.  They are expert in occupying vacuums in failed states and corrupting politicians and government officials to obtain safe passage and favorable laws to facilitate their operations in Haiti.  They are organized but they thrive better in failed states like Haiti without a professional army.

    Haiti will not be able to control these terrorists from that international mafia unless they get help from the US and Canada (by stopping the deportation of these harden criminals to Haiti) and  start rebuilding a professional military with well trained and well paid soldiers, first responders and intelligence  agents.  Haiti PNH is poorly trained, poorly paid and have no prestige.  According to UM Dept of Anthropology, their data have shown that many of the PNH soldiers suffer of PTSD after the earthquake.  They are not receiving any care for their PTSD.  They are easy preys to corruption and brainwashing.

    In sum I agree with your comments.  But this gangs operate from abroad.  I met with haitian gang members who were deported more of dozen times but are able to travel back and forth from Haiti to the US and vice versa (how are they able to go through the customs?  You beat me on this…)  They have the same problems in central america but Haitian gangs are very powerful in South Florida and dominate the region.  They are able to protect their own haitians from an hostile and unwelcoming host country.  They create their own economic structure to support themselves.  That explain the name of the most famous Haitian gang:  “Zo Pam” (I.e., “Haitian to the Bone”).   

    The main cause of the Haitian gangs formation was many years of marginalization of Haitians “The Boat People” from American society.  They have replaced the Cuban gangs “the Fraternities” of the sixties in Miami (depicted well in the movie Scarface with Al Pacino).  The “Fraternities” disappeared as soon as the Cubans integrated in the mainstream of Miami economy.  Therefore, the need for organized crime disappeared in the Cuban communities. Unfortunately, now these gangs have global reach and are well financed like the pirates in Somalia (failed state and no incentive in life for youngsters that are marginalized).  They are many examples like Afghanistan….  I will send you links on our papers on the subject.

    You can see that I am passionate about the topics.  I hope the situation is not to late for Haiti and that can be reversed. 

  3. It would be great to have interpol in Haiti as the international community wants answers and I believe interpol will definitely be a plus in procurring those answers as well as exposing those players hiding behing a curtail wall.

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