Text of live telephone interview with Front for National Reconstruction presidential candidate Guy Philippe conducted by Rotchild Francois and broadcast by Haitian Metropole radio on December 8.
(Announcer Rotchild Francois Jr, in Creole) We now have presidential candidate Guy Philippe of the Front for National Reconstruction (FRN) on the phone and he is going to tell us what he knows about the Delmas 63 situation where the police discovered a weapons and ammunition cache with pictures of this presidential candidate in the house. Mr Philippe, what is your reaction to this incident that occurred on Delmas 63 this morning where the police found pictures of you as a presidential candidate in the house containing weapons of war and ammunition?
(Philippe) Good morning, Rotchild. Actually, I am only learning all this from you now. One thing is for certain, I have posters and supporters everywhere. A person can be in possession of weapons and a party sympathizer. For instance, I have heard that in Cite Soleil, there are pictures of candidates stuck right on the weapons that the bandits use to commit criminal acts. So, it can be that it is a person that likes the FRN, somebody that likes me. Actually, I would like to know the name of this person and how many weapons they found in his house. Is it one or two weapons? I would like to know the types of weapons that were found.
(Francois) Apparently, they have found an M-14, thousands of items of ammunition, a fragmentation grenade and tear-gas grenades.
(Philippe) I have heard so far that the concerned individual is someone who works at the National Port Authority (APN) and he was a member of the armed movement that got rid of the dictatorship. So, it is possible for him to have his battle weapons as well as the ammunition that he had for the battle. If it is just an M-14 and some ammunition then I do not see why they are talking about a weapons cache.
(Francois) So, you mean that you have nothing to do with the photos and posters of you that were found in the house?
(Philippe) Actually, I am just getting more information on this man now. He is someone who was fighting against the former regime. He was part of the GNB (the Brave) movement in the far west. So, I think it is normal for him to have his weapons. I suppose that every member of this movement still has their weapons. I personally have the weapons that I used in the GNB movement.
(Francois) So, this is all you can say about this situation?
(Philippe) Yes, this is all I can say on this issue.
(Francois) Actually, the Central Management of the Judicial Police (DCPJ) and the national police are at the scene on Delmas 63 where the weapons were discovered. And according to our reporter and the police, they have found an enormous quantity of weaponry there.
(Philippe) As I told you, this man was part of the GNB movement. Every member had a lot of weaponry so it could be that he kept his weapons and ammunition in his house. So, I really do not see how they can talk about a weapons cache when it is only an M-14 and some ammunition.
(Francois) Thank you, Guy Philippe. We want to remind that you are a presidential candidate under the banner of the Front for National Reconstruction. One more thing. As a former police officer, how do you think the Cite Soleil issue can be resolved? The Cite Soleil situation is getting more and more complicated every day.
(Philippe) I think that the Cite Soleil issue is not resolved because the government, the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) and the national police do not want to do so. It is a simple situation that could be dealt with very easily. Unfortunately, they want to have an excuse, a pretext so that they can say that there is no security so as to justify the presence of certain troops in the country. So, they pretend not to be able to deal with it. It is ridiculous to hear the commander of a troop or a military force say that he cannot enter Cite Soleil. This is not such an impossible situation that the forces are not able to handle. It is just a matter of them not having the desire to take action and deal with it.
(Francois) Actually, they have said that the resolution of the Cite Soleil issue is not for any time soon and that there are Jordanian troops stationed in the area. But at the same time, we have noticed that there is an upsurge in kidnapping cases. The kidnappers take their victims and lead them right to Cite Soleil. And the situation is getting worse everyday. Do you think that this problem can be resolved?
(Philippe) Rotchild, this is a political issue. The authorities do not want to deal with it because they do not want to give the impression that there is stability in Haiti and that the presence of the troops is not necessary anymore. In this case, they have to show that there is a need for the forces to be there. Cite Soleil is their justification, but as a specialist in this field, I believe that this issue can be dealt with quickly if there is a political will. But unfortunately, there is no political will.
(Francois) Actually, they speak of collateral damage that there can be in case of a massive intervention in Cite Soleil. They say that innocent people can get killed because the bandits use women and children as human shields.
(Philippe) Actually, the intervention cannot be done the way they said. By the way, the Cite Soleil issue is not a military issue. It is a police matter. I believe that the specialized units of the police would be better able to resolve this situation with the help of an information cell. I am telling you again that the situation remains because there is no political will, although they know how it should be dealt with. Let me tell you something. I was supposed to go to a meeting in Cite Soleil recently. Unfortunately, the people who were supposed to assure our security said that we could not go there. I would like to know why they are preventing political leaders from going there. I can go there myself.
(Francois) But since the electoral campaign was launched, no political leaders have been able to go there?
(Philippe) Yes, this is the case. But each time we want to go there, we write to the police and MINUSTAH but they say that we cannot go there. As I said, I want to go there. I just want MINUSTAH to allow me to go there.
(Francois) So, you think that the collateral damage issue could be dealt with? Because they insist a lot on this. They often say that each time they would like to intervene the bandits take women and children and use them as shields.
(Philippe) This is just a pretext. Let me tell you something. There are these kinds of neighbourhoods in all countries. There are places like that in Santo Domingo. There are places like that in Ecuador too. But the police never talk of collateral damage. They just need to work out an intervention plan and create an information cell to facilitate the situation. Then they can penetrate the area and deal with the problem. Rotchild, this is a problem that can be resolved. The authorities just do not want to do so.
(Francois) So, you think that this problem can be resolved but the authorities just do not see it this way?
(Philippe) As I said, the U.N. troops are here because it is said that there is no security in Haiti. So, they do not want to give the impression that there is stability. As of now, they only say that it is only Cite Soleil that is unstable. So, if they correct the situation then people will know that all is well in the country. So, it is not in their interest to resolve it.
(Francois) Thank you, Guy Philippe, for talking with us about the Delmas 63 situation and the Cite Soleil issue. Thank you again.
(Philippe) You’re welcome. See you soon.