A woman holding a flower walking alongside men during a procession for President Jovenel Moise in Port-de-Paix on July 16, 2021. Photo by Steeve St. Fleur for The Haitian Times

Hundreds of Port-de-Paix and Trou-du-Nord residents filled the streets of two northern towns Friday in multiple processions to pay homage to President Jovenel Moïse. The crowds gathered after hearing news that the fallen leader’s body was transported to a morgue in Cap-Haitien, the second largest city located in the northern department.

“I’m in this march for Jovenel Moïse,” said Fabienne, a procession participant in Trou-du-Nord, as music blared from nearby speakers. “Me and Jovenel aren’t related, but it hurt me a lot. It would’ve been better if he was sick and died instead of dying the way he did. It doesn’t feel good at all.”

Meanwhile in Port-de-Paix, a woman wept saying, “Jojo, is this how you left us?”

Video by Steeve St. Fleur

Moïse’s body is at Robeants Funeral Home. His official state funeral will be held on July 23 in Cap-Haitien, officials said.

Moïse was born in Trou-du-Nord, located in the northeast department. He later lived and worked in Port-de-Paix in the northwest department for about 19 years with First Lady Martine Moïse.

Dressed in white, the residents held posters of Moïse and various placards expressing their grief at the brutal July 7 slaying, frustration with Haiti’s never-ending crises and resentment of the country’s rulers. 

One sign read:  “Prezidan Jovenel M. ou mouri pou system ponpaj yo” (President Jovenel M. you died for their system that’s sucking the country). Another sign read “Nou kondane zak malonet sa ak tout fos nou” (We condemn this evil act with all our strength).

Haitians customarily “kondwi mò” (driving the dead) during a funeral procession to a loved one’s resting place. However, when local residents caught wind that the president’s body was being transported to Cap-Haitien, they quickly organized the procession through word of mouth. 

Many residents of the region have said Moïse’s presidency helped bring potable water, roads and electricity to the area.

“They assassinated the president because he wanted to build roads in the entire country. He wanted to provide electricity 24/17 to the entire country, for the entire country to have asphalted roads, for the farmers to have water,” said Sony Dordoy, the northwestern department’s delegate.

“Us in the Northwest, we’re tired, we’re mad and we ask justice for the president,” Dordoy added.

One distant relative, Jilson Joseph, told The Haitian Times that losing him was like losing a father.

President Moïse was shot 12 times in his home in Pelerin 5, Port-au-Prince in the raid that left him dead. Martine Moïse was shot at least three times and was being treated at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.

Samuel Volcy, Versanne Shenaider and Steeve St.-Fleur reported from Trou-du-Nord and Port-de-Paix, Haiti.

Email me at onz@haitiantimes.com
Onz Chery started his journalism career as a City College of New York student with The Campus. He later wrote for First Touch, local soccer leagues in New York and ESNY before joining The Haitian Times. Onz is also a Report for America corps member.

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