We shall begin our news programme today by presenting an overview of the functioning of the Lavalas Family party, an organization whose members have taken the oath of allegiance to Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Aristide is the national representative for life of the Lavalas Family party. He can only be replaced if he dies or resigns. Marie Lucie Bonhomme will give us an idea of the charter of the statute that regulates the party, which was adopted during its first congress held from 14 to 16 December 1999:

As an organization that presents itself as a political party, the FL has rather a specific and even unique way of working. The charter and regulations of the organization are there to prove this. The charter of this organization requires from the members total submission to former dictator Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the head and only national representative of the Lavalas Family.

The organization is personified by Aristide. In addition, his name appears in Article 29 of the charter as follows: President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was elected national representative. In Article 32 we read: The post of national representative of the organization can be vacant if the representative dies or resigns. Then the executive committee will be in temporary charge.

Since Jean-Bertrand Aristide is still alive and has not resigned as national representative of the Lavalas Family, no member of the party or anybody else can have the right to make any decision on behalf of the Lavalas Family. The executive committee cannot do anything either.

Aristide is in fact the Lavalas Family party. Article 30 states that, as national representative of the party, Aristide is responsible for appointing party spokespersons. In Article 31, it states that Aristide is specifically above all the elected members of the organization and will call them together to hold meetings whenever necessary.

Article 41 stipulates that the national representative will each year appoint the person in charge and the secretary of each permanent committee.

Article 49 says that the national representative of the Lavalas Family intervenes in the choice of candidates. He can personally designate a candidate for important reasons or in cases of emergency.

Article 52 stipulates that it is the duty of the candidate to respect and enforce the decisions made within the party.

In addition, all FL candidates are obliged to sign a contract with the organization in which they promise to obey all watchwords and orders of the organization. If a candidate does not respect all the clauses of the contract then he or she will be considered a traitor. Any treason will give the organization the right to take legal action against that person in order to obtain the condemnation of the traitor in accordance with the penal law, paragraph 4 of the contract specifies.

Chapter eight concerns the amendments that can be made to the charter and party regulations. An amendment can be admitted if it has the affirmative approval of two-thirds of the delegates present in the assembly.  Despite the preceding arrangements, the decision of the national representative as regards the nature of all amendments that can be presented in an assembly is final and there can be no appeal from the assembly, Article 58 stipulates.

So, this is how the Lavalas Family party works, an organization that called itself a political party where all the members take the oath of allegiance to Jean-Bertrand Aristide.