July 30, 2018
The publication of American Embassy transmission 00000569 001.2 of 009 revealed several very interesting elements, casting light upon who made the unbelievable bad decision to raise the fuel prices – INSTANTLY – creating chaos and havoc.
It would seem that President Jovenel Moise and Chief of Cabinet Wilson Laleau were blindsided by the actions of Prime Minister Lafontant, in partnership with Finance Minister Salomon, and Social Affairs minister Auguste.
A disaster for the Nation!
EXTRACT FROM EMBASSY CABLE JULY 16, 2018 CLASSIFIED CONFIDENTIAL:
Our contacts confirmed to Political Office that prime minister Lafontant, Finance minister Salomon, and Social Affairs minister Stephanie Auguste were the only high government officials involved in the decision to increase fuel prices at the high rates of 38 and 51% on the afternoon of July 6, without putting in place the proper preventative security measures.
IMF had suggested a more gradual approach.
One of our contacts confirmed to Political Office that the palace and the National Police (PNH) were taken by surprise, the economic accompanying measures in favor of the public transport sector and the poor having not been implemented as planned.
He further confirmed that the prime minister has been at odds with the palace chief of staff Wilson Laleau who wanted a more humane approach. He (Laleau) wanted to shift some government subsidies away from officials to the needy. Wilson Laleau has also been the target of Haiti’s small but powerful insurance industry, ally of the prime minister, a medical doctor.
At the heart of the conflict is the plan for the president and Wilson Laleau to insure 4.5 million Haitian school aged children.
The insurance company owners want to keep exclusive control of this market.
Only 4% of Haitians are insured. According to our contact
those insured pay an average of $3000.00 US quarterly.
She couldn’t afford insurance.
Under the new proposed government plan parents would only pay 1,000.00 gourdes ($14.00 USD) monthly with subsidies from Haiti’s central bank.
Contacts suggested to Political Office that this sector could be involved in destabilizing the palace and Wilson Laleau.
End extract from cable:
There can be no excuse for PNH Director General Michel-Ange Gedeon’s handling of our recent emergency. The PNH must always be ready for surprises and cannot opt out “because they have no gasoline for vehicles.”
Each PNH officer is healthy and has 2 legs!
It would seem as though Lafontant, Salomon, and Auguste acted stupidly, or with, as they say in legal terms, “With malice aforethought.”
Was it just simple stupidity – that set the Nation back years? – Or was it part of a planned effort to destabilize the Jovenel Moise government?
As an Economist, Wilson Laleau understands that there are more than one way to skin a cat. Revenue had to be found, to offset the effect of a fuel price increase. Instead of dumping the entire load on FUEL, Laleau was trying to spread the burden across the economy, by adding a little more tax to items in the market place.
Had his approach been applied, we would not have found ourselves in this situation.
Perhaps $1.00 on an airline ticket, $0.25 on something else. The burden would not be noticed.
Instead, the Lafontant team took an action that was guaranteed to have a gigantic negative effect on the Nation.
“Behind a mountain – a mountain.”
In any negative move against any government, Aristide’s hand is in the game.