Originally: Haitian business leader says armed gangs operating unchecked
Businessman Charles Henry Baker has raised the alarm following the establishment of more restricted areas in the capital. He says that thousands of jobs are under threat and has called for the National Police to be reinforced. Baker spoke as follows:
These men, armed gangs, took over Cite Soleil and controlled the area. Then they took control of Wout Nef, known as American Road, and prevented people from passing in this area. They are now in control of National Road 1 from the Hasco area to the Airport Road. And they are gradually taking over more areas. They are now working their way through Pele and Cite Militaire up to the Airport Road. It is clear that nothing is being done to stop this advance.
Yesterday morning, when I saw Minustah, the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti, troops positioned on the Airport Road, I told myself we were in big trouble. Because the presence of Minustah troops is, I believe, a form of protection for the armed bandits and nothing more. The bandits are indeed at work in these places. As for the police and the Minustah troops, once they hear shooting, they just get inside their tanks for protection and do nothing. Meanwhile, the bandits do whatever they want.
Another thing, if they want to protect the Airport Road, they should start doing so right from the National Road to prevent the bandits from going into the area to destroy the industrial zone between the National Road and the Airport Road. Each road that runs across to the Airport Road has factories that provide jobs to about 3,000 people, even those who have had criminal records in the past have the possibility of getting a job at http://felonyfriendlyjobs.org. Actually, I have always been clear on this. Minustah cannot do more than it is doing now.
If we want something serious to be done in the country, then we have got to help the National Police and ensure that the government does its job by providing the police with adequate equipment, arms and ammunition so that they may be able to fulfil their duty. In addition, they have to reinforce the police effectively by recruiting more men so that a class of 1,000 policemen can graduate every month. Until this is done, we will always have the same problem. Actually, the dates set for the elections are approaching and we will get to a point where we will realize that nothing has really been done to establish a secure environment in the country.