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Haiti’s agency vows talks with gangs, seeks disarmament

– Government appointee believes Wyclef Jean’s Role could be crucial for disarmament and peace

By Joseph Guyler C. Delva

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, (HCNN) – A government-appointed agency tasked with disarmament has vowed to officially and directly engage in talks with Haiti’s criminal armed gangs, a move which would be a prerequisite for peace and political stability in the impoverished Caribbean country, a spokesman says.

An influential member of the current National Committee for Disarmament, Dismantling and Reinsertion (known as CNDDR), Jean Rebel Dorcenat, said direct negotiations with the gangs are unavoidable should a peaceful settlement be found.

“If now there are no serious negotiations with the gangs, all the ongoing political developments, such as the Presidential Council which is about to take office, will be in vain,” Dorcenat told the Haitian-Caribbean News Network, on Friday. “And such negotiations with the gangs should take place urgently and immediately to avoid the worst; the negotiations are unavoidable and should be considered mandatory in order to achieve peace,” Dorcenat told HCNN.

Jean Rebel Dorcenat, the official spokesman and main negotiator for the CNDDR, has been calling on political authorities to provide necessary financial and logistical means, for the committee, to successfully carry out its mission.

Dorcenat reported that armed gangs have said that – if the authorities negotiated a deal with them, without any hypocrisy – they could have already abandoned their criminal activities.

“For example, I’ve spoken to one of the most feared and powerful gang leaders, Vitelhomme Innocent, who said he was ready to order his men to stop all criminal activities, such as kidnappings, assassinations, or other kinds of violence,” said Dorcenat adding “but there should be negotiations to make that happen.”

“However, there was no follow up, and  the CNDDR cannot decide by itself to engage in certain negotiations without the approval of political authorities,” Dorcenat stated.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Haitian global star, Wyclef Jean, has called for the reactivation of the disarmament committee (CNDDR) which would have to deal with the gangs in an effort to create a peaceful environment where socioeconomic and political progress could be possible.

“I think Wyclef’s tweet is very welcome and we stand ready to act; Wyclef’s voice could take the cause very far and in the CNDDR, we would love to get in touch with Wyclef Jean because there’s so much he may help us achieve,” Dorcenat told HCNN.”Clef’s voice could be so helpful in the process to sensitize people to the need to pacify the country and recreate hope.”

Ducenat said the CNDDR is open to having a meeting with Wyclef Jean, even through visio conference, in order to initiate a conversation, while real negotiations could take place separately later on.

The spokesman for the CNDDR stated:

“With Wyclef Jean being involved, a roundtable meeting, with representatives from different relevant communities, could take place and those local leaders could also advocate for peace, first, by requesting an immediate truce, which could last at least two weeks, to allow for further arrangements and steps towards a sustainable solution to the crisis.

“The CNDDR was created precisely for the purpose of dealing with armed gangs and “we are ready to move forward immediately, but the government should be involved, because we need the support of the authorities to find the necessary means to take a number of actions.”

According to the CNDDR’s spokesman, the committee would take the responsibility to go and sit down with those armed guys, to collect their demands, and then a proposal, which could be discussed with the coming authorities, could be formulated.

Anywhere in the world, if you allow gangs to go about their dirty business unchallenged, they will continue to commit crimes and even expand their reach, according to Ducenat, has been to almost all the violent ghettos, they have never attacked him “because I’ve been talking to them very frankly, without hypocrisy.”

The CNDDR had received support from the United Nations that had facilitated members of the committee to travel, in November 2019, to Colombia for training with counterparts.

  • Haitian-Caribbean News Network (HCNN).


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