The Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) has no option but to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision that the businessman Dumarsais Siméus is eligible to stand for president, according to Justice Minister Henry Dorleans. Speaking in a government news conference on October 13, Dorleans said that “once the order has been sent to the Provisional Electoral Council, the only thing the CEP can do is bow down”. The CEP had earlier rejected Siméus’s candidacy on the grounds that he holds US citizenship. The following is the text of a report on the news conference broadcast by Haitian Signal FM radio on October 13:
(Announcer) The government does not have to comment on the Court of Cassation order. The order imposes itself. This is a statement made this morning by justice minister Henry Dorleans during a government news conference on October 13. However, a committee has been created in order to work on candidates’ dual citizenship.
(Dorleans) You know, as a good professor, I have brought copies of the Court of Cassation ruling to you here, because it is very likely many of you do not have copies. You can take a copy before you leave so that you can read it. There is also a law that was adopted in 2002. This law removed some of the prohibitions that affected Haitian nationals who have adopted another citizenship. I have brought copies of this law, too. You have the right to analyze and discuss it among yourselves.
The Court of Cassation has issued a ruling. Anyway, nobody in the government will comment on a ruling by the Court of Cassation. The only thing the country’s institutions can do before an order by the Court of Cassation is bow down. That is all. If I want, as I used to do, I might step away from my status as a minister at some point and then comment on the ruling. But I cannot do that while I am seated here. While I am seated here today, I am a minister of the government, and the government does not have the right to comment on a ruling by the Court of Cassation. The order imposes itself. That is it.
What does this mean? This means once the order has been sent to the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), the only thing the CEP can do is bow down. The court has asked it to add the name of a candidate to the list of accepted candidates. The only thing the CEP has to do is add the name of that person to the list of accepted candidates. That is it.
Now, as previously mentioned by the prime minister and the president’s chief of staff, the government has a responsibility. The government’s responsibility is that nobody can manage to be elected in the country, if he or she holds another citizenship. This is the government’s responsibility. According to the constitution, Article 13 of which the prime minister just read to you, all those who hold dual citizenship have lost their Haitian citizenship.
On that score, let me tell you something. I have heard many comments on the radio. Citizenship can be considered in two ways. You can consider it on the basis of a sociological and cultural approach, or you can consider it on the basis of a juridical approach alone. The sociological and cultural approach is that if somebody was born in Haiti and he or she is used to eating sesame, cassava. (pauses) If he or she was born in the Artibonite region, he or she eats a lot of lalo and white rice (typical food of the people of the Artibonite region). If the person was born in Cap-Haitien, he or she is great consumer of walnuts. He or she is used to eating mangoes. Wherever you put that person, he or she will remain a Haitian on the sociological and cultural plane. Nobody can erase that in him or her. When you hear the sound of a drum, your heart beats, regardless of where you are, because you were raised like that. When you hear water running, your Haitian nature makes you feel something special wherever you are. Regardless of wherever you might be in Africa, in America, in the Middle East or anywhere else, you remain a Haitian.