Prime Minister Gerard Latortue rejects the idea expressed by MINUSTAH, the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti, officials that the UN Blue Helmets accompany the national police in all the operations that the police have to carry out against banditry. The chief of the High Council of the Haitian National Police (CSPNH) favors the strengthening of cooperation between these two institutions but he does not want the national police to be put under supervision.

Prime Minister Latortue, who was our guest this morning, thinks it is necessary for the PNH (Haitian National Police) to maintain its autonomy while hailing the cooperation with the UN forces that are deployed on the ground to assure the security of the people. Prime Minister Latortue speaks to Rotchild Francois Jr as follows:

They should not say that the police should not do anything without MINUSTAH unless, of course, they would add that MINUSTAH should take any initiative without contacting the PNH in the first place too. I think that we are in a situation of cooperation in which both parties should get along well together instead of being in a situation where some of our partners believe that we are in a protectorate situation.

They say that the police do not have the right to do this or that as if they have the right to do everything. I refute this position. I do not support this. I am a convinced supporter of cooperation. What would be desirable is for the police and MINUSTAH to coordinate their activities, plan together the activities and intervention to be carried out as was already agreed by the concerned parties in previous meetings.

Radio Metropole: So, according to you, cooperation is necessary but the police should not wait for, or inform, Minustah before they carry out operations against the bandits that are upsetting public order?

Latortue: Absolutely. But I remember that when this issue was brought up, it was one of the MINUSTAH officials who said some months ago that each time the police intervene alone they always make unfortunate mistakes. Anyway, I would say that this was under the old command whereas now the police has a new command. So, I believe that we now have a high level of professionalism in the interventions, and I am sure that this will not happen again.

But what I want and advocate is really cooperation, joint planning of all activities. This is really what I desire. And this explains the presence of MINUSTAH alongside the PNH. It is so that they can work together. I hope that there will be representatives of MINUSTAH and CIVPOL in police stations, and that they can work together with our policemen to improve the security issue in the country.