Haitian pols saddened, denounce assassination of President Moïse

Brooklyn Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte-Hermelyn.
Brooklyn Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte-Hermelyn.
Photo by Corazon Aguirre

While expressing shock and sadness, Haitian American legislators in New York on Wednesday strongly denounced the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, who was killed in an attack on his private residence on the suburbs of Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital.

Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph said in a statement on Wednesday that Moïse’s wife, Martine Moïse, was also shot in the attack that involved a group of assailants.

“I am saddened about the horrific events that occurred in Haiti, which follow an unstable period for the country, which failed to hold free and fair elections,” Haitian-American New York State Assemblymember, Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, who chairs the Brooklyn Democratic Party, told Caribbean Life.

“I pray for the Moïse family as they mourn their loss,” added Bichotte Hermelyn, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, who represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn. “I also pray for the security and peace of Haiti.

“Haiti has always been resilient,” continued Bichotte Hermelyn. “We fought and gained our independence in 1804, and our people continue to break barriers and reach new heights across the globe. My hope is that Haiti will overcome this turbulent time, hold a democratic election and recover as a country.”

New York City Councilman Dr. Mathieu Eugene, the first Haitian to be elected to the City Council, also noted that “Haiti has been through many crises for many years — from government to government.

“This situation is going to engender another crisis, and nobody can know what’s going to happen right now, because Haitian is a very divided country,” warned Eugene, who represents the largely Caribbean 40th Council District in Brooklyn and recent candidate for Brooklyn Borough President, in a Caribbean Life interview.

“It’s uncertain to know what will happen next,” he added. “But, in cases like that, if we go back to history, the people are going to suffer, and that will have an impact on the quality of life of the people who have already been suffering in many ways.

“I hope the Haitian people can get together to resolve the crisis caused by this situation,” Eugene continued.

Haitian-born Registered Nurse Mercedes Narcisse, the leading candidate for the Democratic Primary in the 46th City Council District in Brooklyn, lamented the crisis in her country.

“It’s unfortunate what’s going on in Haiti — that a sitting president has to be assassinated in 2021,” she told Caribbean Life. “We need to do better as a society knowing that Haiti was the first Black Republic (in the Western Hemisphere) to get its independence. So, I’m counting on our world leaders to support Haiti.

“We have great people all over the world, doing great things, but yet we cannot function in Haiti,” Narcisse added. “There is a barricade; there’s something that’s preventing Haiti from moving forward.

“I hope the world leaders can help us with the transition,” she continued. “We cannot function like that. It’s hard. We function where ever we are, but Haiti has something on it that’s preventing it from moving forward.

“Haiti needs our brothers and sisters to work for our people,” the prospective legislator said. “Our nation should not suffer so much. This should no longer continue to be the same.”

Without providing substantial information about the assailants, Joseph said in a statement that “a group of unidentified individuals, some of them speaking Spanish, attacked the private residence of the president of the republic and, thus, fatally wounded the head of state.”

While urging nationals in the French-speaking Caribbean country to remain calm, the interim president described the assailants as cowards, adding that they “cannot assassinate his (Moïse) ideas.”

Meantime, the co-chairs of the US House of Representatives Haiti Caucus — which includes Caribbean American Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, who represents the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn – characterized the assassination of President Moïse as “a horrific act.”

The Caucus said the assassination “stands as a clarion call for swift and decisive action to bring political stability and peace to a nation in crisis.

“We are extending our condolences to his family and loved ones,” said the co-chairs. “We are also praying for First Lady Martine Moïse. We also call for full transparency and an independent investigation into this criminal act.

“We remain committed, more than ever, to working diligently alongside the Biden administration in support of ushering in an equitable, inclusive Haitian-led democracy — one that reestablishes rule of law, reinforces institutions of Haitian-led governance, and centers the safety and human rights of every Haitian citizen,” they added.

The other co-chairs of the House Haiti Caucus are Congresswoman Val Demings, of Florida; Congressman Andy Levin, of Michigan; and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, of Massachusetts.

Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesman for the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, said on Wednesday that Guterres “condemns in the strongest terms the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse of the Republic of Haiti.

“The perpetrators of this crime must be brought to justice,” said Dujarric in a statement. “The secretary-general extends his deepest condolences to the people and Government of Haiti and the family of the late president.

“The secretary-general calls on all Haitians to preserve the constitutional order, remain united in the face of this abhorrent act and reject all violence,” he added. “The United Nations will continue to stand with the Government and the people of Haiti.”