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Say What: Bernard Gousse as Prime Minister

Any doubt about Michel Martelly’s pseudo-populism, which propelled the singer-

turned-politician to the status of first citizen of Haiti on March 20th, has been dissipated

by his nomination of Bernard Gousse as his prime minister-designate. Gousse, a former

minister of justice in the Boniface-Latortue regime (2004-06), is the poster child for the

reactionaries (Groupe 184) which facilitated the invasion and occupation of Haiti on

February 29th, 2004. Like his fellow putschists, Gousse really believed he was doing the

Lord’s work and predictably carried out his assignment with religious fervor. As has

always been the case with Haitian politicians, the then-minister of justice and now prime

minister-designate never knew the limits of the authority invested in him. This set the

stage for his demise. His take-no-prisoners approach to solving “the Lavalas problem”

became a public-relations nightmare for his handlers and he was eventually sacked.

If confirmed by the opposition-controlled parliament, Bernard Gousse, who ought

to be nicknamed “former minister of injustice” for his unlawful persecutions of officials

of the deposed Lavalas government in 2004-05, will be presiding over a government of

inclusion (Michel Martelly’s bogus campaign promise). A strange logic that highlights

the president’s duplicitous approach to tackling Haiti’s perennial politic of exclusion

which, for two centuries, has prevented the country from moving forward. To avoid

a protracted battle that would harm Haiti and its people, the prime minister-designate

should thank the president for putting his trust in him and then withdraw his nomination.

Ironically Bernard Gousse is a man who should be prosecuted for the

extrajudicial killings and illegal imprisonments of Haitian citizens that took place during

his tenure as minister of justice (2004-05). I wonder what Navi Pillay, the United Nations

High Commissioner for Human Rights, who seems obsessed with prosecuting Jean

Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier for alleged crimes over a quarter of century old she claims

have no statute of limitations, thinks of Bernard Gousse. UN Watch, an organization that

monitors the United Nations and promotes Human Rights, was right when it accused Ms.

Pillay of turning a blind eye to most of the world’s worst abusers. It is expected that if

Ms. Pillay gets her way with prosecuting Duvalier, she would skip the crimes of Henry

Namphy, Prosper Avril, Raoul Cédras and Gérard Latortue and move on to Jean Bertrand

Aristide, the bogeyman for everything that is wrong with Haiti today.

This is political cynicism at its worst. Gousse, a legal scholar who could not

possibly give a lecture in jurisprudence to 12th graders because of his narrow-mindedness,

clearly does not have the administrative competency for the challenging post of prime

minister of the country. The Haitian legislators ought to remind the president that he

is not negotiating with concert promoters or nightclub owners but with duly elected

representatives of the people and that the very future of a dying country is at stake.

Considering the extent of the social, political and economic divide in Haiti, a person of

integrity that can assuage the fears of the competing constituencies is needed for the post.

At this juncture, Bernard Gousse is the wrong person for the prime ministership, because

the man only knows what he is against but clueless as to what he wants. If Gousse

were to become prime minister, his first order of business will be the compilation of a

dossier on Aristide, who escaped his dragnet in 2004 (courtesy of the invaders), for an

eventual prosecution on bogus charges like those he leveled at the former president’s top

lieutenants during his stint as minister of justice.

Taking into account the Daniel-Gérard Rouzier’s fiasco, one had expected Michel

Martelly to become politically savvy and avoid unnecessary blunders. Apparently that

assessment was premature because a seasoned politician would not have nominated such

a notorious and blood-soaked individual for the post of prime minister while claiming to

be working toward ending the “politic of exclusion.” Politic is like quantum physics: the

better you know the position of a politican, the less you know the momentum behind it,

and vice versa. While Martelly’s right-wing philosophy is well known to the public (he

was an active supporter of the 1991 military coup against the first democratically elected

president of Haiti and had once lambasted the poor as ugly and dirty), the reason behind

his nomination of the unsuitable Gousse is perplexing. He may be counting on a public

backlash against the opposition-controlled parliament, which would in the end allow him

to get his way, given the urgency for the country to have a functioning government.

The late British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill once said: “Democracy is

the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried.” That may

be true as Democracy remains the only political system with universal appeal. Its price,

however, is too high for any society that neither desires it nor is ready for it, which

happens to be the case with Haiti. Since the day when Democracy’s fruitful principles

benefit all Haitians remains well beyond the horizon, the country must now live with the

unintended and unpleasant consequences. Commenting on the defeat of his nomination in

a letter to the Haitian people, Daniel Gérard Rouzier magnanimously said: “Our Lower

House Representatives were duly elected to the Parliament by the people and, by voting

against my ratification as Prime Minister, they fulfilled the role that their conscience

imposed on them.” Obviously, the man says it all.

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Haitian Times

Haitian Times

The Haitian Times was founded in 1999 as a weekly English language newspaper based in Brooklyn, NY.The newspaper is widely regarded as the most authoritative voice for Haitian Diaspora.
Haitian Times
May. 05, 2012

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