Haiti: U.S. Ambassador Merten's Statements Defy Logic, says President of Bar Association
- Monday, March 19, 2012 11:58 AM
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (defend.ht) - The President of the Port-au-Prince Bar Association, Carlos Hercules, on Monday said the declarations made by U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Kenneth Merten, particularly on March 8th at the National Palace of Haiti was defied logic and may have caused more confusion between democratic institutions in Haiti.
The Thursday press conference brought together members of the diplomatic corps and a religious, unity organization named Religion pour la Paix (Religion for Peace), founded after the earthquake of 2010 to stop incidents of violence between religious groups hostile to each other after the 7.3 magnitude earthquake.
France, the United States, Canada and all others were represented at the National Palace and it would be the evening that President Michel Martelly, would, without announcing, and after 5 months embattled publicly to comply with a Haitian Senate investigation would share his passports to the attendees present at the press conference. No Haitian lawmakers were present.
U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Merten, made a declaration at the National Palace in the context of a Senate Investigation. In Creole, Merten said, "...as you all may know, the law of the United States are very strict, I don't have the right to discuss the file, whether they are a President or one of my friends; without the permission of the person concerned."
This would be the second time that Ambassador Merten would refer to a U.S. law that would prevent the U.S. government to release information about one of its citizens.
Battonier Carlos Hercules
03.19.12 | Vision 2000
To the President of Port-au-Prince Bar Association, Carlos Hercules, if the Haitian Head of State is not a U.S. citizen why even mention it. The Battonier of Port-au-Prince said:
"Now with the declaration of the American Ambassador, myself, as a lawyer, when there is a declaration, what interests me are the things that did not have to be said."
"When one speaks a lawyer listens closely with a lot of interest analyzing what you are saying."
"For me, there are two things that caught my attention. There was a time the parliament sent a letter to the American Ambassador... and two weeks later there was a visit by Mrs. Mills, Mrs. Cheryl Mills the assistant to Mrs. Hillary Clinton... I believe it was Senator Anick Joseph who asked her himself and in the response that the American's gave they said 'according to the law of the United States that protects the private lives, American institutions do not have the authority to give information concerning its citizens'..."
"Listen to me good."
"If President Martelly is not an American citizen then the United States doesn't have to go into this debate at all."
Hercules lamented on the involvement of Ambassador Merten at the press conference. A woe to democracy and international relations, the battonier felt with an open Senate investigation the Ambassador could have given the Haitian institutions the respect of conferring, at least with Senators on the investigating commission at such a declaration.
"I believe for the interest of the nation, between the executive and the parliament there should be some stay of solidarity of togetherness in the declarations that they make, because these are questions that are quite simple."
"And these are matters that can reinforce confidence in our institutions."
"In all countries of the world a legislative investigation is something normal. A parliamentarian is investigating the question of nationality, the question of nationality is not an issue of opinion it is a question of an individual that is based on certain facts, that are objectively observable, that are objectively, legally, verifiable... so I do not see a problem truly, with a parliament that is conducting an investigation."
"What I find regrettable is the declaration that certain officials can make that can befall trouble, befall confusion, that can befall discredit to our institutions."
"If you are in a process of reinforcing democracy you must reinforce the institutions so that each can play their roles within the limit of the Constitution and what the law provides for them."
The passports were not made immediately available to the Haitian Senate, even on March 8, after private and public requests by members of parliament for months the travel documents were given to Religion for Peace, that served as an unannounced mediator for the unannounced event.
Senators have since declared the passports fraudulent and have extended their investigation due to a number of invalid booklets. The president of the lower house on Monday declared the investigation not closed and the commission continues to press through its work in the legislature.
The passports were given to the Haitian senate commission on Saturday March 10. It was returned on Tuesday March 13th to the President by Religion for Peace.
Religion for Peace was organized with the leaders of major church conferences, islamic, christian and the confederation of vodou. Religion for peace was outspoken in April 2011 when it organized with the Confederation of Haitian Voudousists led by Max Beauvoir and act the direction of Monsignor Pierre Andre Dumas, "condemned the acts of murder against fellowers of the Vodou." By the end of March 2011, more than 50 Voudouists throughout Haiti were killed in 5 months accused of 'possessing the occult's techniques of creating cholera', introduced mid October 2010.
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