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…the pomp of power & …all that wealth e’er gave, awaits alike the inevitable hour….” Gray’s Elegy, 1751.

Given Prime Minister Lamothe’s attempts to permanently gag a US journalist, who alleged corruption by Lamothe, should we be surprised if he and President Martelly stand accused of tampering with the Haitian judicial system, in a case involving alleged corruption by Martelly’s wife and son? And, of perjury, in relation to a meeting with the Investigating Judge Serge Joseph, shortly before his death? We think not.  Both go with an apparent authoritarian mindset. Furthermore, among other things, Martelly-Lamothe arrogantly ignored Senate calls for Transparency and Public Debate, in relation to Mining.    

Anyone who follows Haiti, even a little bit, knows that the Senate bears no love for Martelly-Lamothe, so that their call for impeachment comes as no real surprise. Hence, before we launch into their 30 page report, we want to relate the account, by Haiti’s oldest daily Le Nouvelliste, of an interview with Judge Joseph’s wife, Rachelle Acelat.  We do not believe that anyone can fairly accuse her of using her husband’s death for a political agenda.  She has no reason to lie.  Thus, her very damning description of the alleged meeting at Gary Lissade’s law office, shortly prior to her husband’s death, should carry much weight: “Rachelle Acelat confirms the theory of the meeting“. Le Nouvelliste, 8 August.  By Roberson Alphonse (original French, translation our own).  

The tongue of Rachelle Acelat unloosened almost one month after the sudden death of Judge Jean Serge Joseph, last July 13th, less than 24 hours after his admission to the Bernard Mevs Hospital for a stroke.  In detail, she shared, exclusively with Radio Kiskeya, information confided by her husband who was, according to her, the victim of non-veiled threats of a hysterical President Michel Joseph Martelly who was red with anger:  ‘I wasn’t in Haiti when you made this decision.  Since I have known, I no longer sleep peacefully.  I am forced to take some drugs to calm me.  Starting today, each minute of your life is numbered for me’, threw out the President, to the face of Judge Jean Serge Joseph, during a meeting that was held in the Office of Mr. Gary Lissade, in the presence of the Chief Judge Raymond Jean Michel, the Minister of Justice Mr. Jean Renel Sanon, the Prime Minister Laurent Salvador Lamothe, disclosed Rachelle Acelat.  Jean Serge Joseph said nothing, he who had retorted to the President that the wife of a President goes to prison in a country where there is rule of law, continued Rachelle Acelat. ‘I believe that you told me that you had control of the judge who you gave the file to’, squealed Martelly while addressing himself to the Chief Judge Raymond Jean Michel, who defended himself by saying that ‘all was ok and that Judge Jean Serge Joseph had recently changed his mind’, disclosed Rachelle Acelat.  It was the Chief Judge Raymond Jean Michel, explained Rachelle Acelat, who drove Jean Serge Joseph to the meeting in his vehicle, without escort.  And it was the Chief Judge who, at the end of the meeting where it was decided to stay the appeal to the Court of Appeals to transfer the file to the criminal [court], who said to Judge Jean Serge Joseph that he could have a drink.  ‘They gave him a glass of Something to drink’, indicated Rachelle Acelat, who had advised her spouse to drink his own urine in the event that he was thirsty.  The Prime Minister Laurent S. Lamothe reproached Judge Joseph for ‘not being a supporter of Martelly’.  ‘It seems that you are looking to make a Coup d’Etat against the government’, accused Laurent Lamothe, according to the testimony of Rachelle Acelat, which constitutes a new development in this affair…All concerned have denied [the allegations] as a whole…..  http://lenouvelliste.com/article4.php?newsid=119872

The Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, in their August 5th, 2013 letter to the President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) described the meeting at Gary Lissade’s office:  
In response to the Judge’s order, President Martelly, through former Justice Minister and Public Security Minister Raymond Jean Michel, summoned Joseph to the law offices of Louis Garry Lissade, declaring, ‘The President of the Republic is offended by this measure of justice that you have taken.  He now must take drugs in order to sleep.’  This statement was reported by Madistin Samuel, attorney at law in Port-au-Prince and former Senator, in a denouncement made to the Prosecutor at the Court of First Instance of Port-au-Prince on July 14, 2013 …  Mr. Lissade then urged Judge Joseph, per the instruction of President Martelly, to review his July 2 order in a subsequent hearing.   

Despite the Executive’s pressure, Judge Joseph refused to overturn the July 2 order.  On Thursday, July 11, 2013, upon further request of Mr. Lissade, the Judge returned to Mr. Lissade’s office escorted in Mr. Raymond Jean Michel’s car.  President Martelly, who attended the meeting along with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Justice and of Public Security, and the President of the Port-au-Prince Trial Court, ordered Judge Joseph to quash the case.  When the Judge responded ‘no’, arguing that the Public Prosecutor had already filed an official Appeal and that he had relinquished his ability to do any more, threats and insults rained down upon him.  Witnesses recount that the Judge was even struck in the face in front of everyone in the room.http://www.ijdh.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/IACHR-letter-Aug-5-2013.pdf

This last is particularly interesting, considering that the type of stroke, from which Judge Joseph died(hemorrhagic), could have been induced by trauma to the head, among other things, such as rat poison. And, in fact, rat poison would make him more likely to have hemorrhage due to trauma to the head.  

Monday, 12 August 2013

And, who is Gary Lissade anyway?  Head of a major Port-au-Prince law firm, Cabinet Lissade, Gary Lissade served on the HRIC-CRIH (Haiti Reconstruction Interim Commission). He was, and perhaps still is, attorney for the “super-elite” Mevs’ family. He was the legal rep of Coup leader General Cedras (Cedras is the cousin of Martelly’s first Prime Minister pick Daniel Gerard Rouzier). http://www.thenation.com/article/162431/haiti-wikileaks-sparks-political-furor-and-elite-drama#axzz2bi1nAb5C Justin Viard, current Haitian Consul in  Montreal, Canada, works or worked for Lissade Law Firm. We believe Justin to share a common ancestor with Angelo Viard, of VCS Mining, and he may well be a first cousin or sibling, so shrouded in mystery is Angelo Viard, we do not know for sure. 

For Serge Joseph “no more the blazing hearth shall burn, Or busy housewife ply her evening care:  No children run to lisp their sire’s return, Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.” Gray’s Elegy, 1751.

Serge Joseph’s beloved wife, Rachelle Acelat, is not the only family member who says that the infamous meeting at Gary Lissade’s office took place.  His older brother Fritz Joseph has said this meeting took place, as well.  Fritz is Judge Serge Joseph’s loving older brother who brought him to Montreal to study, as a young man.  Fritz tells us that Judge Joseph’s children now cry for him every night.

http://www.haiti-liberte.com/archives/volume7-3/Empoisonnement.asp

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to Stand.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth and having on the breastplate of righteousness. Letter to the Ephesians, 6: 12 -14

And, returning to Haiti after the fall of Duvalier, Serge Joseph fought for the rights of peasants in the Artibonite; he fought against violence, corruption, and macoutism, and against the importation of American rice, which undermined Haitian rice farmers (even President Clinton has since recognized that the importation of cheap US rice was wrong).  To better help, Serge Joseph decided to study law.  And, he returned to Haiti again, in 1996, when there was, once again, a whiff of hope for a democratic new beginning, one which was sadly shattered.  But this is the context in which Judge Joseph returned home to serve his country. http://www.lecarrefourdesopinions.ca/?p=9986

Who has Serge Joseph’s courage to withstand the “spiritual wickedness in high places”?  And, to Stand and “withstand in the evil day”, outnumbered and wrapped in truth and righteousness?  Does the following sound a lot like the scenario said to have played out in Gary Lissade’s office?  “They answered, ‘He deserves death.’  Then they spit in his face and struck him.  And some slapped him….”  Matthew 26:  66-67. Compare: “Witnesses recount that the Judge was even struck in the face in front of everyone in the room.” The sad fact is that fighting for justice and truth still often leads to a crucifixion of some sort.  Whether he was frightened to death, died of head trauma from being hit, or something even more sinister, we are looking at a hero and a martyr to justice.

Judge Joseph might have used the words of another martyr to justice, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., when thinking of his own death and eulogy:  “Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice…I was a drum major for righteousness.  And all of the other shallow things will not matter.  I won’t have any money to leave behind.  I won’t have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind.  But I just want to leave a committed life behind….Yes, Jesus, I want to be on your … side,…not in terms of some political kingdom or ambition.  But I just want to be there in love and in justice and in truth and in commitment to others, so that we can make of this old world a new world.http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/encyclopedia/documentsentry/doc_the_drum_major_instinct/ This seems to sum up what Judge Joseph wanted, as well.  

Who will now continue his fight?  Who will fight for him?  Will the Haitian Parliament?  

Can Parliament Impeach Martelly and Lamothe?  The answer is a resounding yes, yes, yes:  
From the Haitian Constitution:    
CHAPTER V
The High Court of Justice
ARTICLE 185:
The Senate may constitute itself as a High Court of Justice. the proceedings of this Court are presided over by the President of the Senate, assisted by the President and Vice President of the Supreme Court as Vice President and Secretary, respectively, except where the Justices of the Supreme Court and officers of the public Prosecutor’s Office assigned to that court are involved in the accusation, in which case, the Senators, one of whom shall be designated by the accused, and the Senators so appointed shall not be entitled to vote.
ARTICLE 186:
The House of Deputies, by a majority of two-thirds (2/3) of its members, shall indict:
a. The President of the Republic for the crime of high treason or any other crime or offense committed in the discharge of his duties;
b. The Prime Minister, the Ministers and the Secretaries of State for Crimes of high treason and embezzlement or abuse of power or any other crimes or offenses committed in the discharge of their duties;
….
d. Supreme Court justices and officer of the Public Prosecutor’s Office before the Court for abuse of authority;
e. The Protector of Citizens (Protecteur du citoyen).
……
ARTICLE 189-1:
The Court may not impose any other penalties than dismissal, disqualification or deprivation of the right or exercise any public office for no less than five (5) years and no more than fifteen (15) years.
ARTICLE 189-2:
However, the convicted person may be brought before ordinary courts, in accordance with the law, if there is reason to impose other penalties or to rule on the institution of civil action.

….. http://pdba.georgetown.edu/constitutions/haiti/haiti1987.html (NB:  This link is to a translation and as such may not be totally accurate.  We had found an inaccuracy in one of the English translations of the constitution on another topic).  French is here: http://www.haiti-reference.com/histoire/constitutions/const_1987.php We must credit Omega News for a heads up on this topic: http://omegaworldnews.com/?p=3638

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Reading Haiti’s Constitution, the process of impeachment appears pretty much the same as in the US:  “Impeachment … is an expressed power of the legislature that allows for formal charges against a civil officer of government for crimes committed in office.  The actual trial on those charges, and subsequent removal of an official on conviction on those charges, is separate from the act of impeachment itself.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impeachment_in_the_United_States http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impeachment  So, in other words, impeachment is not the actual removal, but rather would be an indictment which would allow a trial to take place in the Senate.  Only after trial may they be removed from office.  An official may resign if s/he does not want to face impeachment and trial (e.g. Richard Nixon).      

Will the Chamber of Deputies Impeach Martelly? Or Are They His Marionettes? “Tire les ficelles, tire les ficelles, D’un polichinelle,…Commande mes jestes…Mais il faut garde à toi….le jour viendra Ou ça Cassera, Ou ça Cassera, Ou ça Cassera (Edith Piaf:  lyrics, Jacques Plant, 1962).
Teatro dei burattini
Photo by Luigi Chiesa, creative commons via wikimedia 

If the Chamber of Deputies is widely believed to be pro-Martelly-Lamothe and most would say unlikely to impeach him, this is not necessarily so.  Martelly-Lamothe need to enlarge their musical repertoire to include Edith Piaf’s song about Polichinelle, a famous marionette doll (and trickster):  Pull the strings, pull the strings, of a marionette (polichinelle)…Command my actions…But beware…the day will come where it will break, where it will break, where it will break.  In this song Polichinelle is fooling the manipulator who is standing above and pulling its strings and the marionette will free itself.  The day will come when the strings will break.  Such too may be the case for the Chamber of Deputies.  

And does the Chamber of Deputies want to be made obsolete?  Do they want to be stripped of their power and authority?  They also have their own constituencies.  There has reportedly been some concern within the Chamber of Deputies about Executive over-reach   Haiti is heir to both old African and old Germanic tradition wherein a body of elders, essentially a parliament, restricted the powers of the Executive.  The concept of European Parliament has deeper roots in the Germanic folk moots which “legislated, elected chieftains and kings, and judged according to the law, which was memorized and recited by the ‘law speaker’ (the judge).” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thing_(assembly) And, ancestors of the French were a Germanic people (the Franks). Old African tradition has been described as very similar to these old Nordic traditions:  “Old Africa knew nothing of the exciting debates in which the founding fathers of the American Republic were engaged in the 1770s and which were subsequently to be published as the Federalist Papers. But traditional Africa would have appreciated the wisdom of those debates. It would have appreciated the advisability of ambition counteracting ambition; and it would certainly have appreciated the point that if men and women were angels, no government would be necessary. A study of traditional government in any part of Africa would disclose one fact – a healthy hostility against the concentration of power without accompanying checks and balances to control it, beginning with the position of the Chief. 

No chief was a chief except by the will of his people. In many African societies this maxim was impressed upon the chief in the process of his installation and was in addition to the various mechanisms in place to ensure that the chief marched in step with the wishes of his people. It was one way in which traditional African governments founded sovereignty in the people. 

In most cases, the Council of Elders was the Chief’s advisory body; but it was more than that. As representatives of the constituent lineages or clans, the Council also doubled up as a parliament. And no chief could continue to disregard the views of the Council without running a real risk of deposition. In many cases, deposition entailed either suicide or exile, depending upon the nature of the misdemeanour. ” (Chief Emeka Anyaoku, 1998: “Democracy in Africa The Challenges and the Opportunities“) http://www.thecommonwealth.org/speech/34293/35178/35200/democracy_in_africa_the_challenges_and_the_opportu.htm (We have added bold).

There is also another reason why the Chamber of Deputies may decide not to be Martelly’s Marionettes — they could, along with Martelly-Lamothe, become like Marie Antoinette.  If they latch onto the sinking ship of Martelly-Lamothe, they too may be sucked under.  The risk is always there.  Even UN occupation may not be able to suppress a hungry population with nothing to lose.  It is best that Martelly and Lamothe be removed from office both properly, through impeachment and trial, and promptly and whisked away to parts unknown, like Duvalier before them, before things get out of control.  If the powers that be could whisk away a clear dictator, like Duvalier, and a clearly democratically elected President, like Aristide, then surely they can whisk away Martelly and Lamothe, two political liabilities, who fall in a sort of grey zone between democratically elected and dictatorship?  

But, isn’t it better if the Chamber of Deputies allows itself and Haiti to retain some independence and dignity, and for the Chamber of Deputies to impeach Martelly and Lamothe and let them be put on trial before the Senate?  In this way they will be following in both the African and Germanic traditions to which they are heir.  And, a glance at the breadth of history, and common sense, would suggest that the concept of divine kingship with no checks – i.e. dictatorship, has been rather limited to particular times and places. And that elected leaders with some parliament-like restraints would be the historical rule.
 
We ask the Haitian Chamber of Deputies today, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King:  “How long will justice be crucified,  and truth bear it?”  Dr. King said,  “however difficult the moment, however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, because ‘truth crushed to earth will rise again.’ How long? Not long, because ‘no lie can live forever.’ How long? Not long, because ‘you shall reap what you sow.’ ‘How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_Long,_Not_Long (bold added)

Does the Chamber of Deputies want to follow the arc of the moral universe or move against the tides of history? Their own legacy is at stake.  The bird will soon be in their hands.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Pro-Martelly Parliamentarians Reportedly Ready to Sink with Martelly-Lamothe    

Stöwer Titanic (colourized)
Titanic Sinking, Willy Stöwer (1864-1931), ca 1912 

According to Agence haïtienne de presse (AHP) Pro-Martelly-Lamothe parliamentarians will try to block the Senate report. http://www.ahphaiti.org/ndujour.html
There’s no accounting for some people’s folly!    

Indeed, Michel Joseph Martelly and Laurent Lamothe Salvador Lamothe are in deep trouble

“In a note dated Friday, August 9, 2013, more than twenty political parties and organizations (PNDPH, PLB, PLH, RDNP, KID, PDCH, MRN, PNCH, Fusion, Veye yo, Mokrena, RCP, ESKANP, Gwoup 77, Inityativ Sitwayenn, PEP, Ayisyen Pou Ayiti, PROP) are in favor of a smooth resignation of President Martelly and his team following the report of the prestigious commission of inquiry headed by the honorable senator for the OPL, Francois Anick Joseph.

For the opposition, Michel Martelly and Laurent Lamothe do not have the moral authority and political legitimacy to continue to govern the country with the conclusion of this report calling for the impeachment of President Martelly, Prime Minister Lamothe and the dismissal of the  Minister of justice  Sanon.” In the original Creole mention is made of Richard Nixon resigning, rather than being impeached. http://omegaworldnews.com/?p=3741

We think that a proper impeachment process and trial would be more useful and interesting, but the resignation of Martelly-Lamothe would allow a new Presidential election to occur with the delayed but hopefully forthcoming Parliamentary ones.  Then Haiti can move forward.  

Sample Resignation Letter

Speaking of Nixon:  We thought maybe we should show Martelly and Lamothe how easy the resignation process could be by providing Richard Nixon’s resignation letter.  If a US President can resign in so few words, then surely a Haitian President can!  This will save everyone time and money! I’m sure that plenty of people would volunteer to type it up for them, and even throw in a pen.    
Letter of Resignation of Richard M. Nixon, 1974
US National Archives

Demonstration for Justice for Judge Joseph


Demonstration for Justice for Judge Serge Joseph, ca July 28, 2013, by FOPARK, La Force Patriotique pour le Respect de la Constitution (Patriotic Force for the Respect of the Constitution).  At around 4 minutes, on the video, is a promise to carry a complaint against Martelly to the International Criminal Court in The Hague; at approximately 6.25 minutes,is pulling down Martelly’s pink flags from their flag poles, amid cries of Martelly Allez! (Martelly must go).  A bas Martelly (Down with Martelly).  (Can pink flags feed and house the people?)  One thing for sure, Haitians know how to put on a good demonstration!  Watch and learn.  On Wednesday, August 7, 2013, FOPARK announced restarting the anti-governmental mobilisation. http://www.ahphaiti.org/ndujour.html 

Now that we have set the groundwork, for tomorrow we will open a new post beginning the translation of the much-maligned Haitian Senate Report on Judge Serge Joseph’s death, which calls for impeachment of Martelly and Lamothe.  Contrary to media reports, it is a very well-written and interesting document. We imagine that few have bothered to read it.

It reviews all sorts of things including the day he died, as well as the run-up to his death, starting last Autumn.  This is why we will make it available in English for those who do not read French.   
Michael