Prime Minister Gerard Latortue has expressed satisfaction with the response that the Haitian people gave against terrorism by the armed Lavalas activists yesterday, in response to the watchword issued by the private sector asking the people to stay at home on  October 15. Prime Minister Latortue once again invited the Lavalas supporters to reject violence and join the electoral process. He is pleased to see that the Haitian people for the most part reject violence. Prime Minister Latortue spoke as follows:

“I am very pleased that the watchword issued by the private sector was respected. It is a clear sign that the people for the most part reject violence, reject confrontation and show that it is only a small minority which is trying to destabilize the country and the government. But they will never manage to do that, because I believe that the majority of the people are united with the government and want to put an end to this transition which has lasted too long already. What the nation wants is for everybody to get together for elections to take place, so that a new government can take over in February 2006. So, I think this is exactly what the majority of the people want.

“It is not at all a matter of changing governments. It is rather a question of organizing the elections, assuring the security of the electoral campaign, so that the people can make a decision. I believe that if the Lavalas Family  is indeed a democratic party, then it should have no other choice but to join the electoral process. And if they are in majority, then they will win and if they are in minority, then they will accept their position. But this government will not do anything to change the course of events or to influence public opinion.”

Radio Metropole: Today, we have seen that it is all the sectors which have observed the watchword issued by the private sector – retailers and the middle class people – and it is really all the sectors which have observed this watchword. Would you say that there is an essential meaning in this behaviour?

“Oh, yes. As I said before, this is a clear sign. There is no doubt about its impact. It is obvious that the people accepted the invitation issued by the private sector and demonstrated against terrorism, against those who are disturbing people’s peace, against those who are destroying businesses of the formal sector, as well as of the informal sector. In short, it is practically the national unity which has been found once again in the fight against terrorism and in favour of public peace. There is no doubt about it.

“As for me, I did not stop working, because I think that I had certain state responsibilities. I invited the state employees, especially those of my office, to come to work, and most of them were present., We were able to work and this was an opportunity for us to deal with certain issues too.

“I do believe that this decision taken by the private sector was the correct decision. The invitation it issued was extremely fair. I hope that other segments of the nation, such as civil society and the political class, will all get together to show their opposition to violence and their support to what is going on now in the country for the success of the democratic transition.

“Violence in the streets will take them nowhere.”

Radio Metropole: What message would you send to the Lavalas party today, Mr Prime Minister?

“What I would like to say to them is that violence will not take them anywhere and that I invite them to join the democratic process and the electoral process, so that their voters may elect them in the coming elections, if it is indeed what they want. But as for what they are doing in the streets, this will not take them anywhere. They were in the habit of saying that people can only access to power through elections. But now that there is a government which guarantees the credibility and the transparency of the elections; then it is the supreme occasion for them to show their popularity among the people. So, I invite them to join us, to join all the political parties and to take part in the electoral process. Finally, I guarantee that the results of the elections will be fully respected.”

Radio Metropole: Some sectors think that the FL leaders who do not accept the option of violence should make clear their position and take their distances from the banditry committed by the Lavalas partisans, the armed activists of  Jean-Bertrand Aristide. What is your opinion about that?

“Yes, and some of them have started doing that. For instance, there is someone I know very well and for whom I have a lot of respect. It is Senator Pierre Sancon Prince of the Haitian Democratic and Reforming Movement who has already taken a position. He even invited all rational Lavalas members who believe in the democratic process to join his party and to take part in the electoral process. He openly condemned violence. I mention his name, because he is the leader of a well-known party.

“But he is not the only one. I personally know a lot of FL members who would rather rejoin the political life, so that they can take part in the democratic race. Besides, a lot of them are convinced that they represent the national majority. This is the reason why they are not afraid to stand in elections. But unfortunately, there is a minority which is following orders coming from other places and which is continuing to create situations of violence in the country.

“So, I would ask these people to stop what they are doing, because that will not take them anywhere. I would ask all of them to join us in the electoral process and take part in the elections which will take place in 2005.”

Radio Metropole: Regarding the police, we have noticed their continual presence in various parts of the capital today. Does this mean that it is something that will continue to happen?

“Yes, this will continue. I announced it last week. As long as the National Police and Minustah  agree to lead joint actions and carry out joint patrols, it can only increase the effectiveness of the actions of the police forces. As you know, the Haitian police are extremely motivated, and all of us should render homage to these policemen, especially when we know that these young people did not get the desired training and are not even well equipped. We are still in need of arms and communication means. But despite all that, they have made a tremendous effort. And together with Minustah, I believe we will manage to stabilize the country and restore peace.”