In his May 13 Other Views column, Politics of the past holding Haiti back, Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said that Haiti’s progress is being held back by “politics of the past” and the “intransigence” of a few politicians who are blocking the implementation of the El Rancho Agreement.
This agreement calls for legislative and municipal elections to be held in October. The inconvenient truth is, it is Lamothe’s penchant for corruption and his constant failure to honor democratic principles that have set back Haiti’s progress toward democracy and its ability to attract foreign investment.
Lamothe’s opinion is a distorted fantasy bred by rejection of reason designed for public consumption by the gullible.
Lamothe was formally appointed prime minister on May 4, 2012, amid rumors that he had been engaged in a vote-buying scheme during his confirmation by the Haitian Parliament. Since his appointment, his government has been marked by scandals involving corruption and cronyism. The Haitian government’s program of free education funded by millions of dollars collected from the Haitian Diaspora as a form of tax on telephone calls and money transfers had been mired with corruption.
In April 2013, Lamothe and his former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Richard Casimir, admitted under oath during a Senate hearing that they misappropriated $3.4 million of government funds.
Lamothe’s claims of Haiti’s economic growth and his government’s social programs to assist the poor are empty rhetoric. Though Haiti’s economy grew by a mere percentage point in 2013, that growth was due solely to the contributions and expenses of nongovernmental organizations operating in Haiti. The sad fact is, most Haitians continue to live in abject poverty with no electricity, drinkable water or sanitation. Haiti remains one of the most corrupt countries in the world, and one of the most difficult places to do business.
It is corruption that is holding Haiti back, not the opposition.
Emmanuel Roy, former adviser to Haiti’s President Michel Martelly, Spokane, Wash.