PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (sentinel.ht) – Rather than assuming a temporary “a.i.” title, the mandate of the Haiti Police Chief was renewed for another three years by decree although such a power is reserved only for the Senate.
The record of Godson Orelus, Director General of the Haitian National Police, has been one marked by controversy. None the less, a decree issued outside of the law by President Michel Martelly says his mandate is renewed for another three years.
The Director General of the National Network for the Defense of Human Rights (RNDDH), Pierre Esperance, highlighted the most serious of complaints against him as the politicization of the Haitian police, in an interview with Le National.
During his term more than one hundred officers were brought into the ranks simply for their close relationship to the Martelly administration. At least 40 of these officers had not completed any training at the police academy.
Pierre Esperance adds to the list the passive behavior of the police in the face of waves of violence recorded during the legislative elections of August 9, 2015. These contests are moreover considered a “masquerade” with protests ongoing for their nullification.
RNDDH has also reported numerous times police repression against peaceful demonstrations. The Haitian police had used excessively, gas and rubber bullets, injuring bystanders and in some cases, causing asyphixation and death to school children and bystanders not involved in the movements.
Orelus did not allow protesters to reach the National Palace despite marching in peace. He told the Senate Justice and Security Committee that the National Palace “was a red area for opposition demonstrators.” The Head of the United Nations Mission in Haiti Sandra Honoré, who had previously backed up the police in the repression, had to reconsider such policies following public outcry.
Human rights organizations have deplored the collusion of Orelus with the Tét Kale administration of Michel Martelly. Esperance recalled that Godson Orélus was dressed in pink in order to identify himself as a member of the PHTK political party during a Gouveneman Lakay event in Miami.