Africa & Aboriginal Tuesday: Haitian Presidential Candidate Dumarsais Simeus Addresses Haiti Regarding His Citizenship And Nationality
*Editor's note: The following is a press release issued by The Dumarsais Simeus Campaign for President.
At 1:00 p.m., on September 30, 2005, Dumarsais Simeus, the Haitian-born businessman who has been nominated by a broad-based reform coalition of two Haitian opposition parties, issued a nationwide radio address to the citizens of Haiti to offer proof of his citizenship and Haitian nationality and issue a call to action to join his reform movement.
Playing simultaneously on stations throughout Haiti, Simeus said, "For 65 years of my life, I've watched the same status quo run this country into the dirt. Poverty so bad that children in my village of Pont-Sonde don't have clean water, health care so bad that women lose babies and jobs so scarce that fathers have no way to put food on the table for their families."
"I am tired of the political insiders stealing from the mouths of children," he continued. "I am asking all Haitians and the entire international community to help us sweep out the failed politics and bring in strong new leadership that is not poisoned by the dirty clique of insider politics that has crippled my beautiful country...
Leadership to bring jobs from the owner of one of the largest Black-owned businesses in the world.
Leadership to bring health care from a charitable philanthropist who has continuously given back to my neighbors.
And leadership from a native son of the Artibonite who knows what it means to grow up working the rice fields, and who can bring real reform and a new economy to Haiti," he continued.
"We knew it wouldn't be easy, that the little group of professional politicians in power would use every dirty trick in the book to stop our crusade for change. They like Haiti the way it is today -- desperate -- so they can profit from the misery of our brothers and sisters," said Simeus.
"Like so many of my fellow Haitians, my attempts to supply relief and aid have been thwarted by this inherent political corruption. Over 280 wheelchairs and thousands of kilos of food and medical supplies remained futile and useless as they sat in customs for almost a year. Their abuse of power injures all Haitians. They abuse their control of police, law enforcement and immigration to intimidate the CEP," he said, referring to the CEP's surprising action on Friday to reverse the electoral council's earlier approval of Mr. Simeus and other candidates, despite the fact that the 72-hour window for objections to be filed publicly at the CEP had passed without objection to his candidacy.
The Haitian-born reformer has since instructed his legal team to prepare a series of formal legal summons to force the government to release all previously secret records relating to the CEP's decision. The legal summons applies not only to secret government records which could show the government's collusion in a back-door effort to exclude the reform campaign of Mr. Simeus, but also includes a summons demanding immediate release of any documents showing how the government may have intervened to selectively approve or block other presidential candidates.
"The people in power intervened with a heavy hand, outside the constitutional powers of the government and refused the appeal by Secretary Rice and the international community to open the ballot to everyone who wants to run," insisted the Artibonite-born global executive.
"These insiders went behind closed doors to get immigration documents to prove what I could have told them ... that I am a Haitian -- not just a Haitian by birth, but Haitian of origin, as required by the constitution. My parents, grandparents -- all the way back to slaves -- are Haitian," he said as he held is Haitian passport. "As required by the Constitution, I own property in Haiti and have been a continuous and visible presence there throughout my life, personally and through my foundation, which supplies clean water and health care to the people of Haiti. Do I have another passport and documents allowing me to travel and do business in the U.S.? Of course I have a secondary U.S. passport and other appropriate documents."
Interestingly, while government spokesmen have cited the nationality issue verbally, the CEP has yet to issue a formal, written document listing the nationality issue as a concern. In fact, as of Friday morning the CEP had yet to provide the Simeus campaign with the written list of specific objections required within 24 hours under the law for any CEP rejection of a ballot application.
Mr. Simeus supplied all of the legal documents, paperwork, party nominations, signatures, affidavits and candidate files required by the CEP.
Attorneys for Mr. Simeus had received formal, written confirmation of provisional acceptance of his candidacy last week, including the legal guarantee that his name would be on the presidential ballot unless objections were lodged within the 72-hour window.
Last Friday, the CEP suddenly and inexplicably reversed that decision, striking Mr. Simeus from the list of candidates released by the provisional government in Port au Prince at the last minute. However, that list is provisional and subject to appeal.
"I will take this fight to the Supreme Court because this movement is committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure that every Haitian has the right to choose their next leader," said Simeus. "The country is ready to move forward from this endless debate about my nationally and start talking about how we will change the future of Haiti for the better."
The Dumarsais Simeus Campaign for President
Tuesday, October 4, 2005