By Emmanuel Pucot Paul, Juno7, Dec. 11, 2022
Sanctions against business leaders in Haiti could cause a “failure of the Haitian economic system”, says the Montana agreement
During their meeting with the Canadian delegation last Thursday in Port-au-Prince, the representatives of the Montana Accord reaffirmed their position against foreign intervention in Haiti while pleading for technical and logistical assistance for the Haitian State. While they say they are in favor of sanctions, they also stressed that these sanctions could have a significantly negative impact on Haiti's economic and financial system.
Several signatories of the Montana Accord, including its elected president Fritz Alphonse Jean, its prime minister Steven Benoît, among others, met the Canadian delegation chaired by Ambassador Bob Rae on Thursday, December 8, 2022. They took the opportunity to express their positions on subjects including the dispatch of a specialized armed force to Haiti, the fate of the government led by Dr. Ariel Henry, and the sanctions imposed against gangs and their financiers in Haiti.
Addressing the issue of sanctions by the Canadian and American governments against Haitian politicians and businessmen, the delegates of the Montana Accord expressed their support for these measures. "The Montana Accord's delegation supports these initiatives which pave the way for a much-needed cleaning up of the national financial system" a report signed by Marie-Christine Stephenson, coordinator of the Bureau de Suivi (Montana Accord Monitoring Office), said.
The delegates also argued for these sanctions to be based on legal evidence. "Their application should be impartial and in no case should they be used as a means to settle political problems with patriots who defend the rights and interests of their country," they argued.
The Montana Accord delegates also highlighted the potential negative repercussions of these measures on Haiti's economy. “Such sanctions could have a significant negative impact on Haiti’s economic and financial system: from the banking system and supply chain to the formal economic sphere. In the event of a failure of the Haitian economic system, the cooperation of the countries and institutions involved in the application of these sanctions could prove necessary,” they said.
Montana Accord delegates reaffirmed their opposition to military and police intervention in Haiti. They recalled that the multiple UN and American interventions in Haiti have not only been very costly with little results but have also had profoundly negative effects on Haitian society and the State.
According to the Montana group, Henry's main objective is hiding its record of failure. This, they stressed, is incongruent vis-à-vis the Haitian Constitution, the principles of self-determination of peoples, and the inviolability of the national territory.
The Montana Accord's representatives also recommended policies that support Haiti's institutions as the only way to permanently solve the problem of insecurity. For example, regaining control of the entire territory, implementing special measures for controlling shipments in the ports from which the overwhelming majority of arms and ammunition enter Haiti. Furthermore, sanctions against individuals who smuggle illegal arms, ammunition, and people (including kidnapping).
The Montana Accord delegates pleaded that these new policies be implemented under a new transitional government. They also requested technical assistance, focusing on the areas of training and logistics. Including access to modern technology, support for the Inspector General of the National Police (L'inspection générale de la Police nationale, IGPN), equipping the National Police with arms and ammunition, opening Police investigations, and by strengthening the Police force's special anti-gang unit.
The representatives of the Montana Accord reaffirmed their desire to find a broad national consensus to get the country out of this situation. “From its inception, Montana was based on a quest for consensus. Any precondition for a way out of the crisis presupposes the achievement of credible compromises between the actors of the various sectors of Haitian society,” they said.
However, to achieve democratic and credible elections, to recover national sovereignty, to restore the collapsed institutions of the State, the representatives of the Montana Accord argue that it is imperative to have a transitional government in the spirit of the 1987 Constitution. Including all three branches of government with a President and a Prime-Minister.
According to the Montana representatives, the current political power situation characterized by a one-headed executive branch has contributed to the worsening of the country's political and security crisis. According to them, it is necessary and urgent to change political governance in Haiti.
They point to Henry's inability to improve security, address social unrest, fight corruption, revise the Constitution, and organize elections after 16 months in power. They also highlighted the worsening of the multidimensional crisis, the permanent demonstrations throughout the country against insecurity, the high cost of living, and the increase in the price of gasoline, among others.
Translated by CHIP Editors
Posted Dec. 18, 2022