Haitian president urged to control ex-soldiers

PORT-AU-PRINCE, (Reuters) – A Haitian government panel has urged the president to appoint an interim commander to take charge of former soldiers, a panel member said on Saturday, as the leader of a successful 2004 uprising warned that ex-members of the military could seize power.

Guy Philippe

Several thousand former members of the military that was disbanded in 1995 by then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide after a series of coups, have occupied government buildings and former army camps, defying injunctions from the government to leave.

They are often seen armed and in military uniforms in the streets and sometimes even directing traffic, fueling concerns of instability in a nation still struggling to recover from a catastrophic 2010 earthquake.

A panel appointed by President Michel Martelly to study reviving the military recommended in a report that he appoint a provisional army high command to deal with thousands of former soldiers and young, armed volunteers who want the army restored, said George Michel, a well-known doctor and historian who is on the panel.

The report was submitted in late December but has not been made public.

“If there is a high command, all those who claim they are part of the military will have to comply with orders from their superiors,” said Michel, who estimated the number of former soldiers and recruits at 15,000 and growing.

“Otherwise, even from their own point of view, they would not be able to continue to claim that they are members of the army.”

More than two dozen of those former soldiers and new recruits, many armed and some in combat positions, accompanied Guy Philippe, who led the rebellion that toppled Aristide in 2004 and forced him into exile, as he gave a live interview on Radio Caraibes, Haiti’s most popular station.

Aristide returned to Haiti a year ago.

“The warning I could send is that before long those groups will reach 30,000 men and any general that could emerge as their leader could take over power,” Philippe told Reuters after the interview.

He urged Martelly to accept the commission’s recommendations and appoint an interim high commander to take charge of them.

“They have weapons, they are trained and if they become a loose army, no one will be able to control them,” Philippe said.

Martelly supports the idea of reconstituting the army but has called on the ex-soldiers to put down their weapons and vacate the camps until the government makes a decision.

default placeholder

Big battle set for key Clico beachfront property in T&T

(Trinidad Guardian) Battle for No Man’s Land. That is what is shaping up on all fronts—from Government to the Clico owners of the property—as the spotlight continues to increase on one of the last pristine pieces of beachfront in the English-speaking Caribbean.

Cristina Fernandez

Former Argentina leader slams corruption probes as political plot

EL CALAFATE, Argentina (Reuters) – Facing corruption probes that threaten to land her behind bars, former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez described her growing legal troubles as part of a “persecution” of progressive Latin American leaders that has boosted the right in the region.

default placeholder

Venezuela opposition leader Lopez awaits appeal verdict

CARACAS (Reuters) – An appeal hearing into Venezuela’s most prominent jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez ended yesterday, with he and supporters saying the nearly 14-year sentence for inciting violence should be immediately overturned.

Christine Lagarde

IMF’s Lagarde to stand trial in Tapie case

PARIS, (Reuters) – France’s highest appeals court ruled yesterday that International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde must stand trial for her role in a 400 million euros ($440 million) state payout in 2008 to businessman Bernard Tapie.

default placeholder

Sagicor moving from Barbados to Bermuda

(Barbados Nation) Sagicor Financial Corporation has officially moved its headquarters to the British oversees territory of Bermuda after more than 100 years in Barbados in its previous incarnation as The Mutual.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh

Dengue strikes T&T health minister

(Trinidad Express) Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh revealed yesteday that his recent and sudden hospitalisation was due to dengue. Deyalsingh was admitted to the Port of Spain General Hospital (POSGH) on July 13 after experiencing a two-day history of fever and fatigue.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.



Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: