Haiti: Former Prime Minister Defends Half Billion in Suspect Contracts
- Friday, March 23, 2012 8:16 AM
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (defend.ht) - Former Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive issued a defensive statement against the auditing of contracts signed under his administration during the transition of Presidents Preval and Michel Martelly. Bellerive amounts the case to a "media lynching".
The former prime minister's letter:
A press campaign, obviously sponsored, brisking around public works contracts or services involving my signature with Dominicans and Haitian firms is underway. For supporters of this media lynching operation, these contracts were concluded under illegal conditions by the mere fact that they intervened in the days leading up to the handover ceremony of President Martelly or in the weeks that followed taking office, or by the fact that procedures related to procurement were not fully and strictly adhered to. Yet we seem to forget that paragraph 2 of Article 3 of the Act on Public Procurement stipulates clearly, "are exempt from the provisions of this Act, government procurement from the application of the Emergency Law!"
From there to insinuate and even accredit, simply, the existence of bribes, kickbacks or bribes is a step that seems to have been quickly taken.
In the interest of truth, I feel obliged to leave the reserve of my position in which I was confined in my capacity as former Prime Minister, not to interfere in government affairs, and restore facts.
I do think it is necessary to insist on the environment in which these contracts were made. The earthquake of January 12, 2010 and its devastating consequences are still present in all minds. To cope with this disaster on an unprecedented scale across the country, emergency legislation was passed by Parliament allowing the government to resort to exceptional procedures, including procurement. International assistance in these moments post-tragedy was a great help. But it is especially addressed to the humanitarian situation. In addition, the release of foreign funds obeys conditionalities that are extremely heavy, with relatively long disbursement delays.
An example: if we had to wait for foreign funding, the Gonaives/St. Marc road would still be a nightmare. This section was made â€‹â€‹possible through the resources of funds Petrocaribe. And today, Gonaives is 2 hours drive from Port-au-Prince.
Despite its meager resources, the government could not sit idly by. This was the challenge, to demonstrate that we, Haitians, could take over our destiny and begin reconstruction. In doing so, the government was in tune with one of the fundamental choices of President PrÃ©val to provide the country a whole infrastructure to meet the weaknesses of countries in this area and establish once the foundations of its economic takeoff.
The disinformation campaign being attempted to criminalize the period of signing of these contracts. To hear the authors of this campaign, these contracts were concluded in a hurry and aggravating circumstances, without the knowledge of the new administration.
Nothing is further from the truth. And I say this loud and clear.
First, the protagonists of this campaign are silent on the time to get to the signing of a contract. A contract that is negotiated has negotiations that take time. So there were a number of draft contracts being negotiated. And their outcome coincided, for some of them, with the advent of a new president at the head of state.
The question therefore was: what to do? I would still not commit the new administration in gestation without its formal approval.
Upon the election of President Martelly, President Preval and I have met several times. Among the state records that have been presented, the question of these contracts has been put on the table: selected sites, their purpose, the cost of work, turnaround times, everything has been reviewed.
I remember I was in a period of emergency rule and I was always the powers that allowed me to engage the state through the use of procedures of public procurement, including the agreement or the restricted tenders. I do not want to fall into a kind of complacency or misplaced bragging. But I find that the vast majority of openings, chaired by the new administration, relate to projects initiated or left by my government. I bet it will be the same for at least the next 12 to 14 months. And it is good that the continuity of the state allows.
People have many illusions about the time of maturation of a project, from conception to startup, even to finish. Contracts signed, I waited for the inauguration of President Martelly to order advances startup assuring me, once again, that the head of state and his team agreed with the funding of this work. Long and arduous discussions, in some cases, led to important improvements of the specifications.
The flaws identified in this document are ridiculous. For example, how scrupulously respect the need that a company is credited with five years experience in Haiti when he was just determined that we needed new companies that can respond to tenders.
What is certain is that date, no Haitian or foreign company could not demonstrate that the rates given for the various contracts were overvalued.
As for the typos and grammatical inaccuracies, we must admit they are regrettable but under the conditions of the time, they are understandable and above all do not adversely affect in any way the interests of the Haitian state.
The ability to terminate contracts without notice by the Haitian is a provision that, contrary to submissions by the "friends" of Mr. Conille, protects the state!
Anyway, he always means to make any necessary corrections and administratively liable without wanting to cry wolf in the public square. And discredit all the institutions responsible for monitoring can help in any way advocated the opening to the private sector.
A second line of attack targets the nationality of the firms involved. There was no desire of my government to favor Dominican firms at the expense of Haitian companies or incorporated elsewhere in the world.
I do not know how mobile those who seek to obey index companies Dominicans and accused me of being in collusion with them. Is this a form of narrow nationalism, frankly, overwhelmed?
I dare not think. Anyway, some do not hesitate to leave no stone unturned and, trampling on the many expressions of solidarity Haitian-Dominicaine, do not hesitate to resuscitate, for the purposes of a cause unspeakable, the whiff of a anti-dominicanisme primary.
Where is the country's interest in this disinformation campaign?
I do not have lessons in patriotism to receive from any person. My choice to stay put Haiti and Haitian above any personal project or any career does not suffer discussion.
I come from a family who had to suffer exile in the late 50s, known as the starting point of the dark years in our political history, to return home once conditions permitted DO MORE FOR THE EXIT.
My passion for Haiti is not a casual choice, the time for political office. It's a visceral choice. It is a profound choice that is one with myself.
Now let us come up with the recipient companies. It is now accepted that the five year term of President Rene Preval has provided the country with a set of basic infrastructure. These works are all types: agricultural, educational, health, economic. Many Haitian firms were put to use to complete these projects. Because of their size, they quickly reached their saturation point and found themselves overwhelmed, with full order books. And this, well before the earthquake of January 12, 2010.
You should run the country from north to south and from east to west to see that the Haitian firms were not far behind. Quite the contrary!
Naturally, these firms would not have sufficed for the task. We had to hire other firms, regardless of nationality, Taiwan, Brazil, dominicaine, etc.. The important thing was their ability to mobilize quickly to execute the projects on time. Here, it must be recognized that depending on their geographical proximity, Dominican firms were in good position to win contracts.
The earthquake has caused, it must be remembered, huge losses and created new pressing needs. It must be recognized construction firms that Dominicans were already present in Haiti before the earthquake.
The company Estrella, for example, had contracts with the IDB on behalf of the Haitian state. And quality of work provided is subject to a unanimous appreciation. Which earned the government to sign addendums with this company as for the rehabilitation of the section of the National No I Saint-Marc/GonaÃ¯ves.
Also go to the Bicentennial currently, and will show that the coating layers are incommensurate with the work to which we were accustomed.
There is one final point I want to address. The thesis that links the resignation of Prime Minister Conille training of partisan commission of inquiry set up by him. This approach goes beyond human understanding.
It is insulting not only to me but also for all Haitian institutions (Presidency, Parliament, High Court of Audit and administrative litigation in particular) who would thus become accomplices to a refusal to fight against corruption.
Given that arrows were directed against my person because of these contracts, I attach the greatest interest in seeing the truth in this matter. I will not be able to stand, arms crossed, this despicable attempt to make me wear a dual hat as corrupt and stateless for the purpose to make my political assassination.
I made â€‹â€‹a board of lawyers to review the various statements that have circulated in the media in the capital and have asked the Department of Planning and External Cooperation kindly shed light on the procedures and conditions of contracts under my name because I no longer have the ability and authority to access and use directly all administrative documents relating thereto.
I hereby confirm that I remain available to the institutions of my country to meet all charges that have been made â€‹â€‹to my place. I feel, by cons, in no way affected by the findings of a commission illegal and incompetent created for the sole stated purpose to hurt me because its mission was confined only to revise the contracts signed by former Prime Minister Bellerive.
The authors, friends or associates of outgoing Prime Minister, have also not had the courage to sign their package as well as acting and highly paid mercenaries anonymous.
I am convinced that all contracts, subject to verification "Commission Conille" instruments are certainly improved, but fundamentally critical to the restart of national life.
The truth will eventually triumph.
March 15, 2012
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