We are going to talk about the issue of the demobilized soldiers with the statement of the justice minister, lawyer Bernard Gousse, who says that Ravix Remissainthe is a former corporal who was dismissed in 1993 for [his alleged involvement in] drug trafficking. In other words, Remissainthe was not part of the Haitian Army when Jean-Bertrand Aristide dissolved it in 1994.
The police are now seeking Remissainthe for his involvement in armed attacks on police stations, according to Gousse, who, incidentally, has announced the nomination of new members to lead the Management Office of the Former Armed Forces: Jean-Claude Jeudy, Jacques Denis and Jacques Abraham. They will have their office in a wing of the Magistrates’ School on Freres Road.
The justice minister has called on the demobilized soldiers to lay down their weapons while promising that the authorities will speed up the issue of compensation for members of the former Haitian Armed Forces.
Listen to explanations by lawyer Gousse, who was speaking at the microphone of Marie-Lucie Bonhomme:
Remissainthe is a former corporal in the Haitian Army, a corporal who was dismissed in 1993 for bad practices while he was assigned to work at the airport, according to the person who was in charge of the armed forces in the area at that time. I have been told that he was even dismissed for drug trafficking. But what is certain is that he was dismissed in 1993.
That means that when Aristide demobilized the army in 1994 Remissainthe was no longer a member of the Haitian Army. He had already been dismissed for bad practices. So, somebody like that cannot consider himself currently to be the head of the FAd’H.
Q Are you actually talking about the Remissainthe who has proclaimed himself commander of the demobilized soldiers? Is he the one you are talking about?
A I am actually talking about that Remissainthe. That same Remissainthe claims to be a commander. But he got a piece of the truth (an allusion to the fact that Remissainthe was not with his comrades-in-arms when the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti, Minustah, forces raided the residence of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Tabarre on Friday 17 December) when he left a number of unfortunate people who were starving in the Tabarre residence while he was in another place where he was quite comfortable.
Q What will you in the government do with such information? Is Remissainthe now a person who will have to deal with the justice department?
A Of course, because Remissainthe is organizing armed attacks on police stations. Remissainthe is making assassination threats against the prime minister and chief of police. So, Remissainthe is now wanted by the police.
Q Mr Minister, we heard the strong statements you made on Friday evening. You said that the government would not accept any armed groups moving around with impunity with heavy weapons in the country. We see that you have solved the problems at the former residence of Aristide by getting the demobilized soldiers get out.
But, so far, there are areas such as Plateau Central, including both the upper and lower Plateau Central, and Petit-Goave that are controlled by the demobilized soldiers who continue to move around normally.
A We shall settle that gradually through persuasion. As I said on Friday, we shall settle it through persuasion. Persuasion is the first weapon we shall use. We shall not give greater importance to two groups of Haitians that are fighting each other. But, moreover, they should not believe that they can settle problems with weapons, because otherwise they will not be able to be settled.
I have sent this call to them. Just as we solved the Tabarre problem. The men are not prisoners. We are just taking care of them. As from next week, no, before the end of next week, that is, before the end of this week, we shall start paying them the compensation that the government has owed them because they were wrongly dismissed in 1994.
We have begun doing that too. The staff of the ministry have begun receiving many calls either from Cap-Haitien, Hinche or Petit-Goave. Well, we are ready to receive them.