Michel Martelly’s Push to Revive Haitian Army Raises Questions

first_img MINUSTAH’s annual budget is close to $800 million — up from $570 million before the January 2010 earthquake — and the mission currently has more than 12,000 uniformed personnel, nearly double the 6,940 it had back in October 2009. That includes some 8,700 troops and 3,500 police officers. Peacekeeping operations alone cost $120 million to $130 million a year, according to MINUSTAH officials. In mid-October, the UN Security Council ordered MINUSTAH to be slashed in size by 2,750 to about 10,500 soldiers over the next 12 months. Asked how long he expects UN peacekeepers to remain in Haiti, Lamothe responded: “As long as they’re needed to keep the country safe.” By Dialogo December 12, 2011 An enormous price tag Under the Duvalier regime which ended in 1986 and until 1994, Haiti’s police comprised a unit of the Haitian Army. That year, Aristide established Haiti’s first civilian police force, which now numbers 10,000. The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) hopes to boost that to 14,000 by 2014. Denis O’Brien, CEO of Digicel Group and a member of Haiti’s influential Presidential Advisory Council for Economic Growth and Investment, said government’s intentions have been misunderstood by some non-Haitians. Amidst chaos, Haiti is relatively safe Lamothe added that Haiti’s crime rate has fallen dramatically. “So have the number of violent attacks. Gang members have been disarmed, so the general security situation has greatly improved,” he said. “We want it to improve even more. That’s why we want to strengthen the police force, increase the number of police officers on the streets and boost the amount of information coming to the police.” “If you look at the way the United States has mobilized its National Guard, that’s what President Martelly is really looking to do,” he said. “Also, with the development of a national guard in Haiti, sooner or later the UN mission will end. That mission already has shrunk, and the UN has done a lot of good work here. But the government has to take over and run its own affairs.” Laurent Lamothe, Haiti’s newly appointed foreign minister, told Diálogo that a national army is crucial in order to attract the foreign investment Haiti so desperately needs. “MINUSTAH has an annual mandate that expires every year. In order to create long-term stability, you need to have a force that can replace MINUSTAH when their term ends,” said Lamothe, interviewed on the sidelines of a Nov. 29-30 investment conference in Port-au-Prince that was organized by the Inter-American Development Bank. “Businessmen want to feel secure, and their physical buildings need to be secure. In order for them to feel safe, you must have the manpower to safeguard them,” Lamothe said. “Nobody will invest in this country if they cannot drive down the street. We want to keep the Haitian people safe against all types of destabilizing factors. We are working to find the right formula to have a force in place when MINUSTAH leaves.” “The United States is now open to the idea of providing weapons to the Haitian National Police … under the conditions established by the two governments,” said Assistant U.S. Secretary of State William Brownfield, speaking alongside Mario Andresol, director-general of the Haitian National Police. PORT-AU-PRINCE — Nearly two years after a magnitude-7.0 earthquake devastated Port-au-Prince, Haitian President Michel Martelly wants to reinstate his country’s armed forces at a cost of $95 million. “Haiti must ensure the integrity of its territory and its national security,” Martelly said in late November in a public plaza fronting the quake-ravaged presidential palace, as he announced the formation of a commission to consider the matter. “My decision to establish the Armed Forces of Haiti is the result of a long and deep reflection that long preceded the statement of an emotional election promise.” Martelly announced on Dec. 6 the commission’s members: Defense Minister Richard Morasse; Public Security Minister Reginald Delva; Vice President Bergerac Jean Barette; prominent lawyer and former presidential candidate Gerard Gourgue; former Col. Jean Thomas Cyprien, and historian George Michel, who served on a similar commission regarding the question of reconstituting the Haitian Army under Martelly’s predecessor, President René Préval. The panel’s findings are to be released Jan. 1. The same week Martelly appointed his commission, the United States announced it would lift its 18-year-old arms embargo against Haiti, which was enacted following the 1991 coup d’etat against former President Jean Bertrand Aristide. Haiti has one of the lowest homicide rates in the Caribbean. In 2010, the country recorded 689 murders, which translates into a homicide rate of 6.9 per 100,000 inhabitants, according to a report issued in early October by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime. By contrast, in 2004 and 2005, about 1,800 homicides occurred in Haiti, according to human rights groups. Throughout the Caribbean, only Anguilla, Antigua, Cuba and Martinique recorded lower homicide rates — and Haiti was safer than the Bahamas (28.0 murders per 100,000 inhabitants), Dominican Republic (24.9); Puerto Rico (26.2); St. Kitts-Nevis (38.2), St. Lucia (25.2); St. Vincent and the Grenadines (22.0), Trinidad & Tobago (35.2); U.S. Virgin Islands (39.2) and Jamaica (52.1), according to the UNODC study. Both U.S. and Canadian officials have issued statements opposing the revival of Haiti’s army, and in early December, former Costa Rican President Oscar Arias warned Martelly that doing so would be a mistake of historic proportions. Johanna Mendelson Forman, senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, agrees that the Martelly government should build up its police force before thinking about reviving the army. “Martelly is trying to fulfill a campaign promise he made, but it still has a legislature to go through, and that legislature is divided. He might be able to force it through, but the point is, who’s going to pay for it?” she said. MINUSTAH hopes to boost police force last_img read more

Top Eight Players Step Out In Style for the WTA Finals Draw/ Player Awards…

first_imgThe season’s best eight players are in Singapore to compete in the 2017 BNP Paribas WTA Finals, bringing an eventful season to an end. The draw for the tour finals was made on Friday at the WTA Gala, held at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. The Gala also annual WTA Player Awards.The competing players – Simona Halep, Garbine Muguruza, Karolina Pliskova, Elina Svitolina, Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, Jelena Ostapenko and Caroline Garcia all stepped out looking glamorous for the event.World number one, Simona Halep wore a black dress, slightly above the knee with ‘Equality’ stitched to the bottom. The Romanian completed the outfit with black and silver high-heeled sandals.Garbine Muguruza was dressed in a black and teal Versace dress with a plunging neckline. She had on red block-heeled sandals and her hair sleekly packed at the back.Karolina Pliskova let her blonde hair down, dressed in a flowery midi gown. The 25-year-old accessorized with silver high-heeled sandals, adding to her  six feet one inch height.Making her debut at the WTA Finals, Elina Svitolina slipped into a blue silk dress with a high neckline and long slit, made by her mother. The World number four also wore blingy Jimmy Choo pumps.37-year-old Venus Williams, making a return to the event for the first time since 2009 showed off her long legs in little black dress with long sleeves and matching heels. Her natural hair was styled with a band.Making her fifth appearance at the year-end championships, Caroline Wozniacki wore a white and red body suit with a black belt tied into a bow at the side. The look was completed with black high heels.Roland Garros Champion, Jelena Ostapenko was dressed in a red A-line, cold-shoulder dress and had on red lipstick to match. The 20-year-old debutant was all smiles as she walked in her black heels.Caroline Garcia also wore a short red dress with a bit of sheer at the midriff and bottom. The Frenchwoman had nude pumps on her feet.Garbine Muguruza was named the Player of the Year, Martina Hingis and Chan Yung-Jan won the Doubles team of the Year Award, Jelena Ostapenko was the Most Improved Player of the Year, American Catherine Bellis was given the Newcomer of the Year award and Sloane Stephens won the Comeback Player of the Year award. The Jerry Diamond ACES Award was presented to Angelique Kerber.RelatedWTA Tour Finals: Venus Becomes Oldest Finalist; To Face Wozniacki In FinalOctober 29, 2017In “Sports”Indian Wells Masters: Osaka, Halep Crash Out Retaining RankingsMarch 13, 2019In “Tennis”2017 Wimbledon Open : Good Old Wine Venus Into A 10th Semi FinalJuly 12, 2017In “Sports”last_img read more