Originally: Questioning $9 Million a Year for American Bodyguards
Former Col Himler Rebu, who was the guest of Radio Metropole this morning, has denounced the considerable amount of money drawn from the public treasury in order to pay the international security agents who are providing security for President Jean Bertrand Aristide. According to Rebu, this money could be used for the Haitian people instead. Rebu spoke as follows:
President Aristide behaves in an indecent manner as head of state. It is impossible for people to believe that public funds are being used to pay $9 million to just one company which is ensuring President Aristide’s private and personal security. And yet people are disappearing in the country, students are being murdered and no police patrol is being used to provide security in urban areas. The police force does not have enough equipment.
The policemen are paid very little and never on time; therefore, they are unable to do their work. Moreover, they are being insulted by the fact that it is foreign men who are ensuring the security of their president right in their presence. It is not acceptable, first for their moral balance as men and second for the price it costs the nation.
The question that should be asked is this: Since when in Haiti has a president of the republic had all these security complications? The answer is that President Aristide has meddled in affairs which he should not have done as head of state and now he is afraid for his life and has to spend a lot on his security.
Q: But the president said that the security issue is a matter which concerns the state and that, as president, the state should guarantee his security?
A: Certainly. We always ensure the security of the president. He said that the security of the president is a matter which concerns the state. But I would say that the security of the citizens is above all a state affair. Because the president is president because the citizens chose him to be president, although that is not so in Aristide’s case. The privileges he has should be a service award. But he does not serve the nation.
It is not moral at all for the president to spend so much on his personal security while the citizens have no security. And the worse thing is that the government is suspected of being involved in and tolerating criminal gangs which are killing the citizens. This is simply unacceptable.
Q: Do you think that the contract with this American security company which is providing security for the president should be renewed?
A: I believe that it is a completely useless contract, because the people with whom President Aristide is dealing with will definitely settle their account with him. It is a useless contract. They are making the nation spend a lot of money pointlessly. There are situations in which people should not be involved. And when that happens, then you must be ready to pay the consequences.
Will President Aristide be president for the rest of his life? Does he not know that the people he is dealing with will settle their account with him one day? That is something that people should not play with in the world. What I say is that it is not a normal thing. Apart from the $9 million, these bodyguards are housed in very expensive houses. They have transport and we pay for their food. What is the reason for all that extravagance? It is just unthinkable.