By Garry Pierre-Pierre

President Martelly was Donald Trump before Trump took over the world in a horror shit show which Haitians endured during his reign. 

Early into the administration of President Michel Martelly we were bombarded with a barrage of social media posts announcing his latest achievements  from airport constructions, hotel openings, and road repairs. 

The problem with these pronouncements is that none of them had anything to do with Martelly. Almost all of them had been in the planning and construction stage long before Martelly had announced his intentions to seek the presidency in 2011. The projects were designed under Martelly’s predecessor, the late Rene Preval. 

To this day, many Haitians believe that whatever infrastructure work that was completed under his administration’s watch was actually conceived by Martelly. I just wish that Haiti’s or any other nation’s bureaucracy can work so effectively that an airport can be planned and finished under a year’s time. The reality is that doesn’t happen anywhere. Period. 

So it seems that Martelly’s sleigh of hands is being laid bare. Since leaving the presidency in February 2016, Martelly has been on a downward spiral. The bombastic musician has been followed by protests in Haiti, Canada and New York. People are realizing that his reign was a failure and there are clear evidence that his administration and his family are complicit in  corruption, particularly when it comes to the Petrocaribe funds that have been depleted and unaccounted for.

Protestors followed Martelly once more. The latest episode and arguably the saddest occurred last weekend in New York during the Labor Day festivities in Long Island. Martelly was being bestowed with a musical legend award. As he hit the stage to receive his plaque, a lady decked out on a fashionable pink dress, nails painted pink (Sweet Micky’s colors are pink and white)  and calmly began to ask the thorny question of “where is the petrocaribe money” as she held a sign with the same question. 

A stunned Martelly could only muster some worn and tired response that if it was somewhere else he would have had a few choice words for her. Undaunted, she remained calm and her message was heard and her video went viral on Haitian social media feeds. 

This episode highlights Martelly aka Sweet Micky’s fall from grace. He has no respect from fans and his presidential regime left him vulnerable and unable to shut down hecklers with the arrogance he is known for. I doubt it that if he had not tainted himself, that woman would have had the courage to do what she did. 

Martelly is well known for his profane tirade. In the latter years of his presidency, he told a female heckler to find a man and go have sex behind a bush.

President Martelly was Donald Trump before Trump took over the world in a horror shit show which Haitians endured during his reign. 

Martelly has a lot to account for in the Petrocaribe money, which was a program where Venezuela sold the Haitian government oil at a deep discount so the country can use the proceeds to develop infrastructure and create economic opportunities. Instead, Martelly hailed one project after another, none of which ever materialized. A Haitian senate inquiry found widespread embezzlement of funds, invoices paid for no work and other financial irregularities. Most of them occurred under Martelly regime. 

Now, he is being hounded relentlessly, Martelly cannot remain arrogant and people are not afraid of  his crass language because they’ve lost their sting. Furthermore, the respect that was once accorded to Sweet Micky has evaporated. He no longer carries artistic license that he used with impunity. He is a small man looking for attention and adulation at a time when the country he once lead is reeling and becoming more and more unlivable. The Haitian people are asking some tough questions from the past president who many believe to be the architects of one of the biggest heists ever to take place in a deeply corrupted country. So far, he has not answered the seminal question. “Where is the Petrocaribe Money”? We’re still waiting.  

The most absurd part about this saga is that Martelly wants a redux of his presidency. There are reports that he’s busy campaigning in the countryside. He is criticizing his handpicked successor, Jovenel Moise and is once again making empty promises. 

I’m not surprised that Moise has been inept because he inherited no ready made project from Martelly. 

Moise has rolled out no projects under his watch and he is immersed under water and appears to be rudderless and is driving the country’s economy to the ground. His promise of providing round the clock electricity seems like a cruel joke. The Gourde, Haiti’s currency is trading near 100 to $1 USD. A few years ago, the exchange rate was closer to 45 Gourdes to 1 dollar. 

Haiti has a history of making the wrong choice every time it finds itself at a crossroads. Let’s hope we make a better decision in 2022 when presidential elections are scheduled. We can no longer be fooled by false prophets who are selling us goods that they have no capacity to develop. 

There is time for candidates to emerge with a solid and detailed plan to get the country out of its present morass. Let’s push away opportunists and incompetents who appear at the last minute and present themselves as a messianic savior. They’re not.  By now, we know that Haiti’s myriad challenges won’t be solved by one person. We all, including the Diaspora, have a role to play. Like the lady in Long Island last week, let’s keep asking, Martelly and others, tough questions. We need to break the cycle of corruption and impunity. Martelly or Sweet Micky’s sad and pathetic antics are no longer accepted, at least in New York.

Garry Pierre-Pierre

Garry Pierre-Pierre is a Pulitzer-prize winning, multimedia and entrepreneurial journalist. In 1999, he left the New York Times to launch the Haitian Times, a New York-based English-language publication serving the Haitian Diaspora. He is also the co-founder of the City University Graduate School of Journalism‘s Center for Community and Ethnic Media and a senior producer at CUNY TV.

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