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On Wednesday, Caricom woke up to the tragic news of its first Presidential assassination in modern times. President Jovenel Moise was executed in his home in the wee hours of the morning. It is my carefully considered view that this sordid development demands a pause for serious thought. Not the least because a sitting President was assassinated but on the serious consideration of the implications of this dangerous symbolism. Full disclosure: the writer is disinclined to be easily persuaded by the version of events submitted by the Haitian government. Caricom must seek more answers and press the regime to be transparent with all the facts.
It is difficult to grasp the facetious idea of mercenaries planning a sophisticated operation which may have taken up to a year, to be found 48 hours after in the country hanging out in broad daylight. In addition, being captured so easily by the authorities with little or no resistance. Lest we forget: this is all happening in Haiti, he land where political conspiracies abound and the grab for power is persistent and normal. For this reason, there needs to be an independent investigation into this tragedy to ensure we are not in the cusp of a disguised coup d’etat, from within or beyond the borders of the first black republic in the Western Hemisphere. Those who seek power outside of the ballot box through extralegal and murderous means must receive no succor.
PRESIDENTIAL ASSASSINATIONS AND THEIR IMPACT
When conspirators gather to plan enterprises to further their political aims and objectives with murderous intentions, heads of state are considered the biggest prizes. In this, the logic is: the higher the profile of the person executed, there will be the biggest furtherance of the overall mission which is usually to gain access to power. Presidential assassinations, second to coup d’etats, can be considered one of the highest forms of extreme political actions. While these developments are often symptomatic of the inherent conflicts which politics inevitably entails, they also serve as examples of how this vocation can become. Meaning, we must not always only look at political adversaries outside of a leader’s circle when attempting to decipher the reason for a President’s execution. All possibilities must be explored. In doing so, we do not only exercise prudence fraught with wisdom, we explore a key possibility that can lead us to a zone that teems with dangerous implications for governance and politics in the region. If Jovenel Moise was taken out by members of his government or conspirators within Haiti’s political orbit, no effort should be spared to send a message against this most dangerous precedent. We have the negative example of Maurice Bishop of Grenada to guide in this regard.
Whether it is Trujillo, Bishop, McKinley, Lincoln or Kennedy, the high-level assassination of a leader is often fraught with consideration of stopping the pursuance of particular interests and values that may be deemed to be inimical to the perpetrators. It is usually not about the man, rather more about the interests he represents. Hence, his policies and decisions usually serve as the catalyst or impetus for these dark enterprises. With that in mind, it should not be lost on all and sundry, not for a second, President Jovenel Moise made some difficult and significant decisions before his death. These decisions may have rattled some comfortable internal cages. At 1:55 am on April 14, 2021, the official Twitter account of President Jovenel Moise published his decision to appoint a new Prime Minister to deal specifically with the rising crime and lawlessness which engulfed the country. No need to lament the fact that Moise, even in death, cannot be easily absolved. He was a creature of the corrupt system. Be that as it may, there is absolutely no justification for this barbarism and depravity.
THE NEED FOR ANSWERS
Every possible reason for this execution is pregnant with dangerous implications for the
Caricom and the wider Caribbean. Whether it was due to mercenaries being paid by the criminal underworld, a plot by political factions within or outside the state apparatus or powerful foreign interests seeking to pull their usual interference in the affairs of Haiti, the ramifications are not good. This column wishes to convey as pellucid as possible, governments within this region cannot sit comfortably on their stately laurels when an armed unit can simply invade the home of a sitting head of state and execute him without there being serious calls for all evidence to be made available to the regional body to decide on some stern actions. Moise’s constitutional status or lack thereof ought to be rendered irrelevant by the sheer audacious nature of this macabre and grotesque act.
When gun begins to determine the state of affairs in any given country, it is the beginning of the descent into hell. Hence, the need for answers.