GONAIVES, Artibonite, HT (sentinel.ht) – The President, Prime Minister, leaders of the Parliament, the Supreme Court, foreign diplomats and leaders of civil society organizations gathered in the town of Gonaïves, Sunday, to commemorate the 213th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
It was at this very site that the birth of a free Western Hemisphere would be declared by Haiti’s first Head of State, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, that President Jocelerme Privert would continue the tradition of addressing the nation on the independence anniversary.
Mr. Prime Minister,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Members of the Government,
Members of Parliament,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps,
Ladies and Gentlemen Representatives of International Organizations,
Mr. President and Members of the Municipal Council of the Municipality of Gonaives,
Representatives of the various civil society organizations,
Here we are gathered on the historical esplanade of Gonaives to commemorate one of the most significant dates of our national ephemeris, on the grounds that it allows us to simultaneously celebrate two major events in our life as a people.
The first, common to most cultures of the Christian West, is the birth of the New Year, the bearer of our hopes, our ambitions, our promises and our apprehensions of the future. The second is proper to us; It celebrates the birth of the Haitian Nation, the declaration of our independence as a people.
I will also note that for 50 years, the United Nations has added an extraordinary dimension to this date declared since 1967 World Day of Peace. And this year, Pope Francis signed on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, considered by the Catholic world as the Queen of Peace, her message dedicated to non-violence, inviting all the nations of the planet “To build a world free from violence, the first step towards justice and peace.”
If, therefore, the First-January, in the Solar calendar, Julian and Gregorian, opens the book of seasons and days that the hand of God turns, page after page, to guide the destiny of mankind at the threshold of the nineteenth century, The Haitian miracle took place: hordes of barefooters cut off the thread of colonialist and slave-making history from their native saber and inscribed January 1 as the frontispiece of a new world order of freedom, equality and fraternity for All human beings. And it does not seem without interest to note here that this place which we claim in the construction of the modern world finds an illustration in a short sentence of the message of congratulation addressed to the Haitian people by President Barack Obama: “Haiti, , Has a historic place in the shared struggle for the independence of the Western Hemisphere.”
My dear compatriots,
At the heart of this place burned with sunshine and fervor, every Haitian, every Haitian should feel the powerful breath of the Founding Fathers who proclaimed here and signed in their bloodshed the Act of National Independence so that we , Their heirs, may live worthy, free and sovereign.
In spite of the accidents of our history which brought us inexplicable humiliations, the date of the First January assumes a particular density of emotions and feelings for us. Through the asperities of the path traveled, whether on the paths of the seasons and the days of the year that are going, whether on the great avenues traced under our footsteps, sometimes staggering, by sublime ambitions and Visions of our ancestors, the First January finds us every year in this pilgrimage of the heart and the spirit, in the authentic temple of Gonaives, the pole of all the patriotic convergences where our ancestors, for obvious reasons, chose to pose The first stone of the National Building.
It would be of no use to remind you, on this occasion of national communion, of the prowess of our ancestors, without exalting the sacrifices they have made to free us from the infernal yoke of slavery. Above all, let us remember the lesson which they bequeath to us and which we must learn every day to reconnect with the thread of our existence as a people marked by destiny. Without mutual forgiveness and the unity of blacks and mulattoes, the proclamation of Haiti’s Independence would have been an impossible dream, an unlikely project, condemned to the disastrous fate of the revolutionary outbreak led by Spartacus in Roman antiquity.
My dear compatriots,
For 213 years our country has faced a series of challenges and constraints that should not frighten the descendants of the Titans of 1804. We are still unable to feed our people, educate our children, provide health care To our compatriots or to build the infrastructure necessary for the economic development of our country. The list would be too long and the day too short for an exhaustive declination of our needs. We have already tried a wide range of forms of government, and yet we have fallen, over the decades, from the status of “pearl of the West Indies” to the shameful label of “the poorest country in the Americas.”
I would like us to think and ask ourselves the reason for our country in this state. We are like all peoples of the earth. We can sit down together and talk and decide what we want … But what prevents us to dialogue, talk to each other in knowing what we want for our country?
Today I do not intend to give anyone lessons. At the crossroads country is, so another course, each of us responsible. We have to get along, make meyakoulpa for us to move forward. We are all Haitians. We must accept with humility that every Haitian has contributions they can bring to seek solutions to our problems. Anybody, any sector can not pretend it can solve alone load problems Haiti has been brought against him long ago.
We need not agree on everything. But we can agree on some priorities for the country. such as:
- a) all children must go to school!
- b) let our youth finish school classics can get excellent training at the professional level and universities;
- c) all mothers should care for themselves and their children;
- d) social protection must spread class most disadvantaged;
- e) must be more jobs created in the country.
- f) Thus we must guarantee security and political stability for those who have money to invest in the country to create jobs and wealth.
- g) The state must stop counting on other countries whenever that cyclones and heavy rains or flooding in an area;
- h) must all children, all adults can get care if without forced to fly little good success there since the disease hit them.
- i) We must create tomorrow charged hoping for June, to stop risking their lives at sea and the border other countries to go looking for a better life.
Is there a political party, a candidate liners that do not agree with these priorities? For that reason we can not consent to? What difference does it make if another president allowing decentralization born indeed, since people living in the provinces and in rural communities served by the state and must never existed since mid 213 years?
Not in our election was votem President fairy MWE the National Palace, as president. So I did not do us any campaign promises. Parliament who served with the Constitution, law of the land, to find a solution that allowed the country to avoid major social and political disturbances. Parliamentarians have been given one mission. Elections for our end with the crisis and instability are two large cancer that prevents the country’s progress. I angagem yet to fulfill this mission with all my heart and all my determination. My dream for Haiti darling, even dream of the heart for Haitian countries:
– See Haiti like the kingdoms growing, thriving in the common good;
– There are strong institutions that can help us build a stable country to progress and development.
Various personalities and organizations of the international community, as vows for this new year 2017 and for the celebration of the 213 years of our independence, sent us congratulatory messages. We retain that they all revolved around the need for Haitians and Haitians to find through forgiveness, unity, reconciliation and dialogue, the answer to the evils that hinder the development of our country. These exhortations are clearly expressed both in the public note of the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations Sandra Honore that through the homily delivered by Monsignor Yves Marie Péan on the occasion of the Te Deum held in the Special Cathedral Souvenir in the City of Gonaives.
My dear compatriots,
Career officials, I have for years served my country with loyalty, dedication and patriotism. I have not committed any crime in the exercise of the various functions which I have had the privilege of assuming. Yet, for unavowed and unavowable reasons, I spent more than two long years of my life in prison for acts whose very existence is unknown to me. Victim of political persecution, I experienced unnecessary and unjustified setbacks or even my life was in danger. All the conditions were there to bring forth in my heart legitimate feelings of hatred, bitterness, even vengeance against my accusers and defenders. These compatriots, with whom I had excellent relations of friendship and collaboration, wished, through these false and unjust accusations, to sully my name, my image, and my reputation.
On my release from prison in June 2006, following the timely and courageous ordinance, taken here in this city of Gonaives, a judge of the college presided by very late and integrates judge Hugues St Pierre, whose memory I salute . I quickly realized that for the sake of my country and the welfare of my fellow citizens, the object of all my struggles, I should practice the worship of forgiveness and sit with everyone, even with my former jailers. As Joseph had his brothers, I said to my thurifera “you have meditated in your heart to harm me, God has changed it into good.” It was precisely this stay in prison that initially opened the doors of the Senate of the Republic and later that of the Presidency.
My dear compatriots,
The contact with my future constituents and the immensity of the problems to be solved quickly convinced me that only the union of all the living forces of the Nation would bring lasting solutions to the evils that are affecting our country and our people. Our Ancestors understood it and used it to realize their dream of independence. Today, again, we are condemned to unite in order to take in hand the destiny of our country. However, there is no unity without trust. And for there to be trust we must know each other and it is through dialogue and forgiveness that we must begin.
I know that it is difficult to forgive, but we must remember that without forgiveness there would not have been a Founding Congress of Arcahaie leading to the proclamation of Independence in Gonaives.
Today we are in a delicate situation, and probably our Fathers, from the height of their Olympus, look at us with eyes ejected with reproaches and remonstrances: for foreign soldiers are in our territory because of our interminable conflicts . Whatever the level of opportunity or necessity of this presence, the balance of our inconsistencies leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of every true patriot. In this regard, the celebration of this Independence Day would be meaningless if it did not inspire an oath of reinsertion on the Ancestors’ vision if it did not involve a real and sincere commitment from all camps to unite To win Haiti!
The solidarity that surrounded the Executive, which I lead, on the occasion of our decision to fully finance our elections, provides an undeniable proof that every Haitian, every Haitian knows how to forget his political dissensions to promote and support all measures Taken to safeguard our dignity and sovereignty. I would like to announce that my administration and the government of Prime Minister Enex Jean-Charles will inherit future generations the creation of an “Electoral Fund” to spare them the sporadic humiliation of soliciting funds for Elect our representatives and our leaders.
On the eve of handing over power to an elected president, my concerns about the future of the country are great. But I know that coming out of the tunnel of poverty and instability is within reach of citizens who cultivate to the highest degree the love of the common and immortal homeland. During my short term, I had the privilege of meeting all the former Presidents of the Republic; I was also able to converse with many candidates for the presidency. On the other hand, I have maintained a permanent dialogue with civil society and the social partners.
I urge those who will have to lead the national boat tomorrow to continue this dialogue, which remains and remains the key to the social appeasement desired by all, as well as the engine of economic development expected by every Haitian and every Haitian.
Friends of the international community,
Since the commemoration of the anniversary of the independence of our country coincides with the New Year’s celebration, I subscribe with great pleasure to the tradition of expressing wishes with that spontaneity of sincerity and truth which have always characterized my relations With others. To all of you, Haitians from here and abroad, Diplomats and Consuls accredited to the country, foreigners who have elected domicile or decided to spend the holidays in the enchantment of the Haitian landscape, I send you a cordial greeting. May the best wishes of each of you be realized in this new year 2017!
May God protect us all!
May God protect Haiti.