Journalist killed, as Haitians demand removal of President Jovenel Moise

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A popular radio journalist was shot and killed late on Monday night as Haitians continued their protest demanding the removal of President Jovenel Moise from office over allegations of mis-use of funds associated with the PetroCaribe, an oil alliance of many Caribbean states with Venezuela to purchase oil on conditions of preferential payment.

Police confirmed that Rospide Pétion, who worked for Radio Sans Fin, was shot to death in the capital. The radio station had earlier come under attack by protesters and  director general of the ministry of communications, Calvin Cadet, has called for protection of journalists, condemning  also the attack against Radio Télé Ginen and another reporter, Richardson Jourdan, who works for the state-owned Télévision Nationale d’Haïti.

The radical opposition “Democratic and Popular,” which is among those organising the demonstrations, said since June 9, at least seven people have been killed and 147 wounded, while 70 others have been arrested.

But the police have said that two people were killed, four others wounded and 12 arrests made as a result of the protest that followed the release of the 612 page report of the Superior Court of Accounts and Administrative Litigation (CSC/CA) on the management of projects financed by PetroCaribe,

The Mexican Embassy Monday said that its consular section had been closed and told persons with a consular appointment that they will be accommodated upon a return to normalcy in the country.

The French Embassy which was hit by several stones, said that the main barrier to the compound, was set on fire.

France had earlier urged its nationals to stay away from the French Caribbean country saying “it is advisable as far as possible to postpone your arrival”.

The protesters have been blocking roads with burning tires, and on Monday set vehicles belonging to a radio station ablaze. They also chased down a presidential police backup unit they accused of firing on a crowd and killing a motorcycle driver.

The President of the Chamber of Commerce of Haiti Industry, Frantz Bernard Craan, appealed for calm saying that Moise “has lost the confidence” of the entire population.

The CSC/CA audit found that significant shortcomings have been associated with the planning and implementation of development programmes and projects funded by the PetroCaribe Fund during the administration of former president Micel Martelly.

The Court made it clear that, overall, relevant documents were missing in most of the projects and contracts reviewed and as a result it was impossible to conduct a comprehensive audit of several projects.

For example, the report found that in 2014, for the same project to rehabilitate the Borgne – Petit Bourg de Borgne road section, the State signed two identical contracts worth more than 39 million Gourdes (One Gourde=US$0.01 cents) with two separate companies.

Moise, before he came to power in 2017, headed a company which received more than 33 million Gourdes to do the road work, though the company in principle did nothing but grow bananas.

The Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Haiti (CEH) said that the findings as outlined in the reports “cast a crisp and overwhelming light on the disconcerting magnitude and gravity of the evil of corruption in its various political and operational mechanisms.

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