Crime Wave Hits the Capital Region
By Yves Pierre-Louis

About two months after the big earthquake, crime is on the rise in and around the capital, Port-au- Prince. Bandits calmly walk through busy downtown markets. They pull guns or knives on people who have just bought or sold in the Croix de Bossales market, for example, fearlessly robbing them.

On Thursday, March 11, around 1:30 p.m., near the ruins of the Port-au-Prince Cathedral, armed bandits fatally shot a lawyer named Rosny Dieudonné behind the steering wheel of his car. The lawyer had just fi nished supervising the pasting up of posters for a private communications company. As a lawyer, he was part of the staff of Edwin Paraison, the Minister of Haitians Living Overseas. He was also a former staff member of the Haitian Savings and Loan Company (SHEC) and a former consultant to the General Direction of the Haitian National Police (PNH).

One day later, on March 12, armed bandits killed Pastor Doris Jean-Louis, who directs the evangelical church “« Luthérienne de Concordia » on Delmas 89, north of the capital. They ambushed the pastor as he was entering the gate to his house at Duplan II in Fermathe. The gunmen robbed both the pastor and his wife of all they had on them, then they shot the pastor several times, killing him.

On March 14 in Croix des Bouquets, two bandits killed three people: two money changers and someone who had come to sell them money. According to some witnesses, this crime happened right in front of the town’s police station. The police arrested the bandits, named Wilfrid and Payette, seizing their motorcycle, guns and the stolen money. They are part of a gang whose base is in the area of Ganthier, near Croix des Bouquets.

On March 15, several bandits who had just robbed a fi reman in the upper reaches of Lalue, fi red on Madame Yassainthe, who was passing through the area. Yassainthe, who worked in the Rectorat of Haiti’s State University, was hit by several bullets and died in the hospital. The police announced that they have already arrested two of those bandits.

In addition to these cases, there have been many other killings and serious crimes around the country. In the northern cityof Cap Haïtien, there have been several kidnappings. Among those kidnapped were two employees of Doctors Without Borders, who were later freed after negotiations.

Many speculate that this crime wave is linked to the escape of many convicted criminals from the National Penitentiary immediately following the Jan. 12 earthquake. Some of the escapees are said to have reconstituted their gangs in several corners of the country. Meanwhile the police are looking to recapture escaped convicts, with some success.

But the government seems to expend more resources making declarations on the radio and television rather than relocating people who have to live in the street and in public spaces, thus exposed to all kinds of bandits and the storms that are coming.

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Haïti Liberté  Vol. 3 No. 34 • Du 10 au 16 mars 2010