By: Emmanuel Roy
TrueNewsBlog – The Haitian Diaspora Political Action Committee (HDPAC) headed by Dr. Georges J. Casimir held the first and only unity summit in 2022 in the Haitian Diaspora, seeking to solve the political stalemate in Haiti.
The purpose of the Summit was to provide a platform for the political factions and Haitian Civil Society to negotiate a permanent solution to the political crisis and to lay the groundwork for a government of transition. This government would organize free and fair elections as soon as practicable.
The Haitian Diaspora continues to believe that only an agreement negotiated with the participation of all the protagonists will give the new interim government the legitimacy it needs to organize honest, free, and fair elections that will lead the country back to the path of democracy.
Several members of Congress, including Congressman, Gregory Meeks, the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee were invited and Congresswoman Fredrica Wilson, who represents a large group of Haitians in her district, participated and encouraged the groups to come together and find a solution for the betterment of Haiti. The Summit was facilitated by the highly decorated Ret. Lt. General Russell L. Honoré. The Haiti Unity Summit offered the parties the best opportunity to harmonize their propositions. It further offered them a secure site where all the protagonists could sit down and engage in a constructive dialogue.
The international community, notably the U.S. State Department, has unequivocally stated that they are willing to support any “Haitian-led solution” that “is inclusive.” As Brian Nichols, the Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere, told the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “This must be a Haitian-led solution.”
The same sentiment was echoed by Kenneth Merten, U.S. Charge d’Affaires in Haiti, who, during a local radio interview in Port-au-Prince, said there must be an “An Accord of all the Accords.” A negotiated solution by the parties is the key to lasting peace and security. Consequently, HDPAC invited all the major political factions, including the Montana Accord, Ariel Accord, Cesco Accord, Akor Lari a, and PEN Accord, in addition to influential members of Haitian civil society and the Haitian Diaspora.
To end the prolonged crisis in Haiti, avoid a civil war, and ensure Haitian ownership of a successful outcome, HDPAC encouraged all political factions to act in good faith by participating in this Summit focusing on what is good for Haiti. The Summit was the best way to arrive at a lasting solution to Haiti’s intractable political crisis.
However, MONTANA and ARIEL HENRY, the two main accords, did not fully participate. The 14 Accords who participated represented more than 90 percent of the population. For example, neither MONTANA nor ARIEL HENRY represents the majority of the people.
The 14 Accords represented the women groups, the farmers, the youth, the religious groups, including the voodoo priests and the Haitian Diaspora, people whose voices were ignored. The Louisiana Unity Summit provided 90 percent of the Haitian population a platform to make their voices heard.
At the end of the three-day summit, the Louisiana Unity Summit chose FRITZ JEAN for interim president and MYRIAM FETIERE for Prime Minister. After the vote, Gen. Honore called FRITZ JEAN on his cell phone to inform him that he had been chosen. Mr. JEAN said he would accept the nomination of the Unity Summit. However, after the Summit, FRITZ JEAN refused to embrace or adopt the dicta of the Summit.
The delegates at the Unity Summit in Louisiana voted for an interim government with a president and a prime minister with a two-year mandate.
The interim government would first establish security, conduct a constitutional referendum for a new constitution that would allow members of the Haitian Diaspora to participate in Haiti’s politics at all levels, including the presidency; to organize general elections under a new constitution, create an international committee to oversee international aid and build a national guard whose job would be to ensure security and assist during a national disaster.
Before the Summit, the international community, mainly the United States, France, and Canada, had been pushing for a “Haitian-led solution” that is inclusive. The Unity Summit was the last opportunity to show to the world that Haitians could unite behind one cause. Unfortunately, though the Summit achieved its objective, the delegates did not achieve theirs, through no fault of their own.
Since the Louisiana Unity Summit, Haiti has gone from bad to worse and there is only one entity to blame for that: The Montana Accord and FRITZ JEAN. Had Montana participated in the Louisiana Summit, Haiti would have been a better place today. The State Department, the White House, France, and Canada promised to enforce the Louisiana Summit’s decision if MONTANA and ARIEL participated.
We knew Ariel may not participate and that was communicated to the international community. But the international community had agreed with HDPAC that if MONTANA shows up, they would consider ARIEL as the odd man out who had an opportunity and forfeited his position.
Members of the MONTANA ACCORD told me months later that they did not participate because they did not want to give credit to the Haitian Diaspora for bringing them to power, especially to members of HDPAC who came up with the idea and worked hard to make it a reality. However, a year later, several members of the business elites in Haiti are saying they wish MONTANA had responded positively to HDPAC invitation.
There were many members of MONTANA who wanted EDGARD LEBLANC FILS as the president of the interim government, not FRITZ JEAN. Still, when the Louisiana Summit chose JEAN, Montana was pressured into choosing JEAN in the hope that the Haitian Diaspora would push to implement MONTANA’s plan even though MONTANA did not participate. The Haitian Diaspora did not agree with MONTANA’s plan.
HDPAC made it clear to the White House and the State Department that the Haitian Diaspora would never support MONTANA, because not only was the Diaspora not represented inside MONTANA, but MONTANA’s plan was unrealistic and impossible to implement.
A few months after the Louisiana summit, the MONTANA ACCORD broke apart, the LAVALS/Aristide wing of the Accord left, and nothing came out of all the work that they had done. Instead, ARIEL HENRY became more powerful and emboldened; criminal gangs became more powerful, the business class is under siege, those who could live in the country did, and those who could not leave resigned themselves to hell on earth.
HDPAC continues to work behind the scenes in consultation with all the stakeholders in Haiti and the international community. It is time to consider another summit between Haiti’s business class and the most influential political groups. With the advice of Gen. Honore, HDPAC has developed “Plan Haiti,” and we believe that together we can move Haiti in the right direction.