PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (sentinel.ht) -President Michel Martelly is seeking protection for himself and family after his time as president in order to avoid a long list of accusations of corruption and human rights abuses that would keep him and his family members in court for many years, if not in prison.
Believing his candidate for president, Jovenel Moïse of the Haitian Tet Kale Party, would not be able to make it into the second round of presidential elections, even with all the fraud and support his administration could muster, Martelly had, for many years, an agreement with candidate Jude Celestin. This information is according to a long conversation The Sentinel had with a staffer from Celestin’s campaign on Friday night.
The staffer requested anonymity after the two-hour long conversation that began as a promotional pitch for the candidate, Celestin, until that bit of information slipped out during the exchanges.
“President Martelly has a pact with Jude Celestin,” and its been for many years. Further follow up questions into this agreement or pact were not answered and the conversation eventually came to a premature end with many questions left unanswered.
What appears to be the case is that President Michel Martelly and former President Rene Preval will mobilize all means, legal and illegal, to bring Celestin to power. In return, Celestin will protect Martelly and serve his long-time patron, Preval.
Until now, Jude Celestin’s disappearance from the national scene over the past 5 years befuddled many observers. He never spoke out, complained, or addressed Haiti’s current issues, or his unjust ouster from the 2010 elections where result were changed to place Michel Martelly as president. It was a decision that came down from the Hillary Clinton State Department, according to the current President of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), Pierre Louis Opont, who was director general of that CEP in 2010.
The evidence, however circumstantial, seem to support that throughout the years, former President Rene Preval, whose political party Celestin had been the candidate for president for, had arranged a union between Celestin and Martelly in order to, first, not make hay of Martelly’s legitimacy to be president and, second, arrange for a succession of Celestin thereafter.
It seems that the ousting of Preval’s candidate for president, Jacky Lumarque, of the Verite party, was coordinated too.
Two “leaked” documents, correspondence letters between the Martelly National Palace and the Superior Court of Auditors and Administrative Disputes (CSC/CA), circulated the web in June 2015 creating the appearance that Lumarque, a university professor, had directly managed public funds and had not obtained a certificat de decharge for that management and therefore was ineligible to be a candidate for president.
Based on those letters only, the ever-embattled CEP President Pierre Louis Opont made them cause to remove Lumarque from the elections, although not a day later, and since, the CSC/CA has said that Lumarque had never managed public funds. Human rights organizations have repeatedly called the removal of Lumarque a violation and even the independent human rights observer of the United Nations said as much.
Celestin’s strange rise
In 2010, Jude Celestin rode support built on then President Rene Preval, and those who felt he had managed Haiti relatively well before the earthquake that January. Celestin never really owned his popularity which made his ousting from the presidential race easy to digest when the decision was concurred by his own political party, Preval’s Inite party.
In 2015, Celestin appears to be consolidating support from the strength of Preval, as well as Martelly. Preval’s party this year, Verite, at least its candidates, have dropped their support for reintegrating Lumarque into the race and are said to all be backing Celestin. These movements succeeded polls from a company called BRIDES which is said to be funded by the political supporters of Rene Preval, and by consequence, Michel Martelly.
What still remains the same is that Jude Celestin is not necessarily a popular candidate with enthusiastic support. His campaign is running on money that far surpasses any other candidate in the race, and this has been a point of suspicion and speculation. Billboards, posters and hot plates for thousands at campaign rallies have been the hallmark of his campaign but not necessarily popular or voiced support.