Fanmi Lavalas representative on transitional presidential council Leslie Voltaire discusses security, the MSS, & amnesty

By  Jonasson Odigène, Le Nouvelliste, April 19, 2024

The Transitional Presidential Council (TPC) is preparing to take over the reins of power. With the publication of the decree appointing the members of this Council, preparations are already underway for the installation of the members. Leslie Voltaire Fanmi Lavalas representative on the TPC, answered questions from Radio Magik 9 on Friday April 19, 2024 following a meeting with the acting Prime Minister, Michel Patrick Boivert and the Director General of the Haitian National Police, Frantz Elbé. Security, the deployment of the Multinational Security Mission (MMS) and the question of amnesty were at the heart of his intervention.

 

"There has been no political will to tackle security issues".

Addressing the issue of restoring security, Leslie Voltaire openly criticized the outgoing government, which, he said, "has no political will to really tackle the country's security problems". As evidence of this lack of political will, Voltaire pointed out that since Ariel Henry came to power on July 22, 2021, the security climate has clearly deteriorated. "The political will was to go in search of international forces to solve the problem without thinking about national forces," he judged.

"From the moment we take office, our mission will focus on three priority areas: security, humanitarian assistance, economic recovery, and elections", Leslie Voltaire explained. He also announced at the same time a paradigm shift in the fight against insecurity, thanks in particular to the establishment of a National Security and Defense Council which will act as "an interface with the national security forces and an interface with the MMS".

"There will be political will in line with this, a National Security and Defense Council will be created, which will be made up of [security] experts, the Prime Minister, the Police, and the Armed Forces. The National Security and Defense Council will be responsible for proposing a security and defense plan to the CPT for a period of two years, with a view to curbing insecurity throughout the national territory as much as possible, and moving towards the elections", he explained.

Asked about the evaluation of the national security forces, Leslie Voltaire explained that this is the role of the "handover commission, which is made up of a security committee that will report on the state of affairs of the Haitian National Police (PNH) and the Haitian Armed Forces (FAD'H)". The data from the report will be forwarded to the Prime Minister, who will be appointed, and the National Security and Defense Council, he added.

In addition to all these tasks, the National Security and Defense Council will be responsible for deciding on any change of leadership within the PNH and FAD'H.

As for the population, Leslie Voltaire declared that the TPC will "try to communicate as often as possible with the population", comparing the structure's mission to that of a doctor at a patient's bedside.

Voltaire reassured Haitians that "the population should expect empathy and sensitivity from the TPC. They should also expect constant communication between the state and the nation. Society must participate in intelligence and in cooperation with the Forces de l'ordre".

Leslie Voltaire was clear about security expectations. "We don't have a magic wand to respond to security challenges. It's a process of establishing a relationship of trust with the population and with the police", he argued.

 

MMS deployment validated

According to article 2, point 4, of the TPC's statutes, anyone who opposes the deployment of the MMS cannot be a member of the Board. For Leslie Voltaire, this does not seem to be a problem.

"The UN Security Council is above the laws of the land, and the laws of all countries for that matter. The Council approved resolution 2699 authorizing the deployment of a non-UN multinational mission under UN supervision. [...] No matter which country heads the mission, we will accept it", he declared bluntly.

His political party, Fanmi Lavalas, has repeatedly opposed the deployment of any kind of foreign mission on national territory. Asked about this, Leslie Voltaire retorted: "Since we agreed to sign the CARICOM-mediated agreement in the terms formulated, we have automatically validated the deployment of the Multinational Security Support Mission."

 

Amnesty, a possible option?

As to how the CPT will deal with the gangs, Leslie Voltaire put the ball back in the court of the government to be formed and the National Security and Defense Council. "It will be their job to propose an approach and a security plan," he replied.

As for the question of amnesty, which is increasingly a feature of public discourse, Leslie Voltaire stressed that it would be the subject of a debate.

 

Posted May 18, 2024