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Goodbye to a repressive army

Emmanuel W. VEDRINE


In interpreting some comments related to the Haitian National Police (“Police Nationale d'Haïti”, PNH), to certain critics, it would not be 100% better since both share certain D.N.A. No doubt that there is certain truth here (since many members of the defunct army have been recruited in the new police force) but to many of us, at least Ayiti Cheri will not waste millions and millions of green dollars in a-nothing-to-do institution that has so far contributed nothing and absolutely nothing to the country's development.

Knowing its history, that would not be the right choice for Haiti to keep on feeding such a repressive army whose sole enemies are the Haitian People. Doing that would be like keeping on eating a food that makes one throwing up all the time. Also, it would cause Haiti more problems of political instability with coup d'états back and forth. So, why should Haiti repeat the very same errors of the past? Any lesson to learn from that for a brighter future?

If we carefully read the Haitian Constitution of 1987, I pretty much doubt that it says somewhere that the army has to meddle in Politics (re: article 265 - The Armed Forces are apolitical. Their members may not be art of any political group or party, and they must observe the strictest neutrality ). The army had  “at least a last chance” under Aristide (back before September 30, 1991) to “start to improving itself” in the sense of trying to change it's mentality of keeping on acting as " restavèk blan " institution and being a repressive one at the same time, therefore this “negative” image has also influenced “few” good guys that were part of that institution.

Haiti never had “a real army” in the 20th century that was defending its interests (such as for instance: Defending the country in the event of war; Protecting the country against threats from abroad; Seeing to surveillance of the land, sea and air boundaries; At the well-founded request of the Executive, they may land assistance to the police when the latter are unable to handle a situation; Assisting the Nation in the event of a natural disaster; In addition to their regular duties, the Armed Forces may be assigned to development work (as clearly stipulated in article 266 of Constitution), but rather the interests of some foreign super powers - acting as a “watch dog” for them and at the same time, an army that would somehow protected a corrupted elite's interests. Clearly during the September 1991 coup, some of the elite members even made their vehicles available to the " escadrons de la mort " (death squads) of the army to patrol Port-au-Prince and persecute people in its poor neighborhoods just because of one sin committed: voted for candidate of their choice, Jean-Bertrand Aristide – besides financing one of the bloodiest coup d'éats in the country's history that happened right before the “fiscal year” when paying taxes to the government would be due. “Paying taxes” was also crucial for the first democratic government at the time since all aids promised from abroad were blocked, which can be interpreted at the same time as a “challenge” for Haiti to learn how to grow up and not depending 100% on others, but alas a lesson that is never learned.

Haiti was certainly in a political dead-end. Any illiterate Haitian knows quite well these true stories about the army and one that was “neutralized” by Duvalier (in the early 60's when became a dictator). I use the term 'neutralized' because he did not get rid of it, but instead had “full control” over it with the creation of the paramilitary " tonton macoutes " (also secret police under that brutal regime) and "spies" within the same army. That way, the Duvaliers had control over the intelligentsia. n theories, of course, some people (who are against any real change to take place in Haiti) would keep on talking bla bla bla... and trash talk to have these scary bloody boots back on the scene (for one reason or another) and at the same time, we don't forget that elections are not too far away and it's a way to avoid discussing some of the “real issues” concerning Haiti's future and development (e.g, Strategies for a political stability in order for the country's development to start taking place, Decentralization, Developing agriculture, Health care problem, Education, Justice & laws, Creating jobs, Solving the electricity problem, Building real roads ... and other doing other things pertaining to the country's infrastructure).

These guys (members of the defunct army) have only “one skill”: knowing how to shoot   and I would say “at Haitians only” because if someone pulls out a real fistibal (slingshot) at them, they would certainly drop their M-16 or run at full speed if hearing the noise of a “peta” (firework). Some important question that we may ask from this issue are the followings: Can Haiti learn anything from Costa Rica in the history of the army of the two nations?

What is to be done (in the sense of having a secured Haiti where everyone can live freely) ? The answer is: “not just one thing” since there are too many. First the "army" issue out of the question; the next legislature should only vote for its total disappearance and have some amendments made in the 1987 constitution for the benefit of Haiti 's development.

In the near future, it would not be a good idea to recruit "former members of the army" to become members of the police force (though that been done and it's quite a mistake). As our Creole proverb teaches us, a dog that used to eat eggs never breaks away from that old habit . A strong and professional police force (with more members and all equipments needed to do their jobs) is really needed.

The new government (if for sure real and free elections will take place in Haiti at the end of 2005) can have a particular “trade school” for members of the defunct army to  learn some skills “free of charge” so that they will be able to work in the society and may be, contribute to the country's development and see the possibility of paying back those they owned some paychecks.

(E. W. Vedrine)



Emmanuel W. Védrine


Nan entèprete kèk kòmantè ki an rapò ak Polis Nasyonal Ayiti (« Police Nationale d'Haïti », PNH), pou kèk kritik, li pa ta 100% pi bon lefèt ke toude ta pataje menm jenetik. Pa gen dout ke gen sèten verite la a (depi yo te rekrite plizyè manm lame defen an nan nouvo fòs polis la), men pou plizyè nan nou, omwen Ayiti Cheri pa pral gaspiye plizyè milyon dola vèt nan yon enstitisyon k ap grate santi, e ki pa janm kontribye anyen e absoliman anyen nan devlopman peyi a.

Lè n konnen istwa l, se pa ta vrè chwa Ayiti ta fè pou l kontinye alimante yon tèl lame represif ki gen pèp ayisyen an kòm sèl ènmi l. Si sa ta fèt, se ta kontinye manje yon manje ki fè yon moun vomi plizyè fwa. Sa ta koze Ayiti plis pwoblèm politik tou an tèm estabilite politik ak koudeta pasipala. Donk, poukisa Ayiti ta dwe repete menm erè l te komèt nan tan pase? Èske l aprann yon leson nan sa pou yon demen miyò?

Si nou li ak anpil atansyon konstitisyon 1987 la, mwen gen anpil dout ke ta gen kèk kote ladan ki di lame dwe mele nan politik (re: atik 265 – Manm lame yo, pa nan fè politik, ni yo pa gen dwa rantre nan yon gwoup politik oubyen nan yon pati politik. Yo pa janm dwe pran pou okenn nan yo. Lame a te gen «omwen yon dènye chans» sou Aristide (avan 30 septanm 1991) pou l te kòmanse «emelyore tèt li» nan sans eseye chanje mantalite fonksyone kòm yon enstitisyon «restavèk blan» epi youn ki represif alafwa; pakonsekan, «imaj negatif sa a» enfliyanse «kèk» manm debyen ladan l.

Ayiti pa t gen «yon vrè lame» nan ventyèm syèk la ki t ap defann enterè l (tankou pa egzanp: Defann peyi a si gen lagè; Pwoteje peyi a kont danje ki sot aletranje; Siveye tout fwontyè peyi a ni atè, ni sou lanmè, ni anlè; Bay lapolis konkou, sizanka lapolis pa kapab fè travay li, depi gouvènman an gen bonjan rezon pou sa; Ede moun ki nan peyi a, nan tan malè ak devas; Yo kapab mete l toujou: ede peyi a mache nan bon wout pwogrè (jan sa parèt klè kou jou nan atik 266 konstitisyon an), men pito enterè kèk puisans etranje – fonksyone kouwè «chyen de gad» pou yo, an menm tan yon lame ki ta nan yon sans pwoteje enterè elit kowonpi a. Klèman pandan koudeta 30 septanm lan, kèk manm elit sa a te menm mete machin yo disponib o sèvis « eskadwon lanmò » lame a pou fè patwouy nan Pòtoprens epi pèsekite moun nan katye popilè yo jis paske yo ta komèt yon peche: vote yon kandida yo te chwazi , Jean-Bertrand Aristide – enkli finanse youn nan koudeta pi sanglan nan istwa peyi a ki fèt jis avan «ane fiskal la» lè yo ta dwe peye gouvènman an enpo. «Peye enpo» te yon bagay trè enpòtan tou pou premye gouvènman demokratik la nan yon epòk kote yo te fè l pwomès tout èd k ap soti aletranje men yo te bloke yo, yon bagay ki ka entèprete an menm tan kòm yon «bwalong» pou Ayiti aprann grandi epi pou l pa depann 100% de zòt, men elas! Yo pa janm aprann okenn leson.

Sètènman, Ayiti te nan yon enpas politik. Nenpòt Ayisyen ki pa kapab ni li ni ekri konnen fen e byen vrè istwa sa yo konsènan lame a e youn Duvalier te «netralize» (nan kòmansman ane 60 yo lè l te konvèti an diktatè). Mwen itilize tèm ‘netralize' paske li pa t detwi l, men l te rive gen «tout kontwòl li» ak kreyasyon paramilitè ki rele « tonton makout » yo (polis sekrè tou ki t ap fonksyone sou diktati brital sa a) ak «espyon» ki te nan menm lame sa a. Konsa, Duvalier (papa ak pitit) te gen kontwòl entelijennsya a.

An teyori, sètènman, kèk moun (ki kont nenpòt tip chanjman an(n) Ayiti) ta kontinye radote… pale pawòl tafya pou ta wè bòt efreyan sa yo ki chaje ak san retounen sou sèn nan (pou yon rezon pou yon lòt) e an menm tan, nou pa bliye eleksyon ki pa twò lwen nou e se yon mwayen pou evite diskite kèk «vrè kesyon» konsènan fiti Ayiti ak devlopman l (pa egzanj, Estrateji pou gen estabilite politik dekwa pou devlopman peyi a kòmanse fèt, Desantralizasyon, Devlopman agrikilti, Pwoblèm sante, Edikasyon, Jistis & Lwa, Kreyasyon anplwa, Solisyone pwoblèm elektrisite, Konstwi wout… ak lòt bagay ki apateni a enfrastrikti peyi a).

Mesye sa yo (ki manm lame defen an) konn «yon sèl metye»: konn tire epi m ta di «sou Ayisyen sèlman» paske si yon moun ta rale yon bonjan fistibal sou yo, sètènman yo t ap lage M-16 la atè oubyen kouri ak tout boulin si yo ta tande bri yon «peta». Kèk kesyon enpòtan ke n ka poze nan diskisyon sa a se: Èske Ayiti ka aprann yon bagay nan men Kostarika an tèm ‘istwa lame 2 nasyon yo'?

Kisa k dwe fèt (nan sans gen yon Ayiti ki an sekirite kote tout moun ka viv san pwoblèm)? Repons lan se: «pa sempman yon bagay» lè n konnen gen twòp. Premyèman, kesyon «lame» a pa nan katon an menm; lòt lejislati a dwe vote pou yon disparisyon total li epi dwe gen kèk amannman nan konstitisyon 1987 la dekwa pou benefisye devlopman Ayiti.

Anvan lontan, sa ta yon bèl ide pou pa ta rekrite «ansyen manm lame a» kòm manm fòs polis la (byenke nou wè se yon bagay ki fèt deja, yon erè kapital). Kòm pwovèb kreyòl la di, chen manjèd ze pa janm kite metye l. Yon fòs polis pwofesyonèl e youn ki dyanm tou (ak plis manm ladan l e ak tout ekipman yo bezwen pou fè travay yo) se sa ki nesesè.

Nouvo gouvènman an (si toutbon vre eleksyon lib e libè pral rive fèt nan fen 2005) kapab kreye yon «lekòl metye» pou manm lame defen an pou aprann yon metye «gratis ti cheri» dekwa pou yo kapab travay nan sosyete a, e petèt kontribye nan devlopman peyi a e posiblite pou ranbouse kèk ladan yo chèk yo te dwe yo.

(E. W. Vedrine)

boule   boule   boule 

Emmanuel W. Védrine
P.O.B. 255962
Dorchester, MA 02125-5110 (U.S)
evedrine@hotmail.com, e_vedrine@yahoo.com

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