PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (sentinel.ht) -An internal memo of the ruling political party suggests that the Haiti Dominican ban on 23 products was made for the fulfillment of campaign financing.
The memo is from the strategy office of the candidate for president, Jovenel Moise of the Haitian Tèt Kale Party, and is addressed to the party’s leader, President Michel Martelly.
The text of the September 14, 2015 memo strongly suggests that the decision by the Martelly administration to ban the overland import of 23 products from the Dominican Republic was made at the request of an organization of Haitian businesses and for the return of $1.7 million [US] in campaign financing.
Two days after the decision Commerce Minister Wilson Laleau would announce the ban that is to go into full effect on October 1.
The 23 products banned from ground entry include drinking water, cooking oil, detergent, cement, among others, items Minister Laleau purports requiring quality control checks that cannot be done at the border.
Economists believe the measure would cause a price hike of 40% on the basic items and only if Haiti is prepared to produce them would it benefit the local economy.
The memo reads as a list of actions “non-negotiable” in order to guarantee a first round victory for the ruling party’s candidate for president.
It is in item number 3 that the candidate’s strategic team writes: “Apply the decisions on the Dominican products following the meeting between WL (Wilson Laleau) and the SC of the Economic Forum to secure the alternative financing of $1.75 million [US] for the private secretary campaign director of JM (Jovenel Moise).”
The measure has been applauded in Haiti where citizens have been demanding a strong message from their government towards the Dominican Republic which enacted laws that violate human rights and target Dominicans of Haitian descent and foreigners. Early reactions to the possible motives for the ban, compounded by the expected price hike, have been negative.
Yet, the malfeasance doesn’t stop there
Item 9 of the memo requests a campaign contribution to the tune of 25 milllion HTG ($471,670 [US]) from the General Administration of Customs (AGD), an institution plagued by chronic corruption and racketeers.
Item 5 of the memo requests that 152 million HTG ($2.87 million [US]) be placed at the disposition of the campaign from three state institutions, The Economic and Social Assistance Fund (FAES), the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development (MARNDR) and the Ministry of Planning and External Cooperation (MPCE). The last works closely with USAID and international donors.
The strategic office of Jovenel Moise also asked that Minister Laleau to disburse funds, upwards 300 million HTG ($5.6 million [US]), to the Ministry of the Interior and Collective Territories so that it may carefully distribute it to “interim agents” across the nation for campaign purposes.
Interim agents are hand-picked individuals that have taken the seats of mayor, county commissioners and other local offices which should seat elected persons but do not since the mandates of elected officials expired in 2012.
The monies for interim agents are supposed to go towards their efforts in supporting the campaign of Jovenel Moise according to an earlier item in the memo, number 4. Here it reads that these agents and department delegates give their total and unconditional allegiance to the candidate.
47 million HTG ($889,792 [US]) from the Canadian organization, Foundation for International Development and Assistance (FIDA) is requested to go towards farmers and sympathizers of PHTK in the form of seeds and fertilizer.
The memo also wants the dismissal of Agriculture Minister Fresner Dorcin for having given 5 million HTG ($94,000 [US]) to the project of another presidential candidate; the candidate was not named in the memo. The memo said Moise proposes the current director general of the ministry as a replacement.
The note requests that the riots which have shut down the city of Arcahaie, after President Michel Martelly had taken a decree to claim the beach coasts a new commune surround his home and those of his family members and friends be resolved.
It also requests that polls being solicited by RB (BRIDES) begin to show the gradual climb of Moise where it should show a 5% difference between Jude Celestin and Jovenel Moise as leading candidates.
Lastly, the memo requested that President Michel Martelly share campaign responsibilities and financing with their group.