PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (sentinel.ht) – Interior Minister Francois Anick Joseph is under fire for his responsibility, or lack thereof, for the partisan distribution of humanitarian aid for Hurricane Matthew victims. The minister admitted to giving lawmakers control of a large portion of the Dominican assistance but says it was the responsibility of local officials to ensure equitable distribution.
Since, a warehouse of mattresses, water, hygeinic items, and food, has been in the control of lawmakers who have distributed to supporters and candidates in their parties who are currently campaigning for the scheduled Novemberr 20 elections.
At a Friday press briefing, Minister Joseph acknowledged that the Dominican humanitarian aid stored at a warehouse at the SONAPI industrial park was due to lack of space. He said parliamentarians were allowed to transport some of the aid to their respective constituencies.
“There are MPs (members of parliament) who wanted to lead the convoys that were in their constituencies, we have allowed them to go with assistance to affected communities… I do not know if they were distributed. This does not concern me,” said the minister, a statement and dereliction of responsibility that surprised even the government’s most harshest critics.
Further complicating Minister Joseph’s statements are that on Monday, October 24, 2016, the minister was under threat of interpellation, a hearing before the house which would have ended with the taking of a vote of confidence which could have ended his mandate at the ministry.
The lawmakers calling for the interpellation of Minister Joseph were criticizing the Privert-Jean-Charles administration for having allowed Dominican soldiers, roughly 1,500, to enter the Haitian territory armed and with their humanitarian assistance. But on the day of the interpellation, the minister’s most harshest opponents who called for the hearing, had returned on that decision and not appeared in session.
The appearance of a quid pro quo, dealing a portion of the Dominican assistance to lawmakers to avoid the hearing is being alleged.