PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti (CMC) — Police say at least two people were killed and several others injured as thousands of people took to the streets of the capital on Sunday demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moise following the release of a report into the use of funds under the PetroCaribe initiative.
Police spokesman Michael-Ange Jeunes told reporters that the two people were shot while four others were wounded. He said a police officer was also injured during the protests and that 12 people have been arrested.
The police spokesman said that similar protests were held in the cities of Jacmel, Cap-Haitien, Saint-Marc and Gonaives.
France Sunday urged its nationals to stay away from the French Caribbean island of Haiti as thousands took to the streets demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moise over allegations of embezzlement.
“Several associations and opposition parties have called for demonstrations this Sunday, June 9. If you have to arrive that day, it is advisable as far as possible to postpone your arrival,” the French government said in a statement.
The protests organised by opposition political parties, led to the burning of tyres, the erection of roadblocks and fire being set to at least two buildings near the departmental police headquarters. There were also reports of clashes between protesters and police near the presidential palace.
Police erected barricades near the presidential palace and fired tear gas to drive away demonstrators.
The protests follow the release of the 612 page reports of the Superior Court of Accounts and Administrative Litigation (CSC/CA) on the management of projects financed by PetroCaribe, an oil alliance of many Caribbean states with Venezuela to purchase oil on conditions of preferential payment.
In addition to the projects authorized by the 14 resolutions adopted by the Council of Ministers under six different governments, the Court had also examined investment projects and contracts related to the PetroCaribe fund, but not authorized by a resolution.
The audit found that significant shortcomings have been associated with the planning and implementation of development programmes and projects funded by the PetroCaribe Fund during the administration of former president Micel Martelly.
The Court made it clear that, overall, relevant documents were missing in most of the projects and contracts reviewed and as a result it was impossible to conduct a comprehensive audit of several projects.
For example, the 610 page report found that in 2014, for the same project to rehabilitate the Borgne – Petit Bourg de Borgne road section, the State signed two identical contracts worth more than 39 million Gourdes (One Gourde=US$0.01 cents) with two separate companies.
Moise, before he came to power in 2017, headed a company which received more than 33 million Gourdes to do the road work, though the company in principle did nothing but grow bananas.
The Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Haiti (CEH) said that the findings as outlined in the reports “cast a crisp and overwhelming light on the disconcerting magnitude and gravity of the evil of corruption in its various political and operational mechanisms.
“Generalized corruption becomes endemic evil, a messy mud, a degrading fact, a robbery organized. It has become a real social plague that is plaguing our institutions …and thus seriously undermines, both from an ethical and an economic point of view, the development of our country.’
They said that the Haitian people expect that these two audit reports issued by the CSC/CA “will not be closed.