Analyses & Opinions

Laurent Lamothe: Treasonous Prime Minister or master of deception?

caricature-lamothe-prisonNiccolo Machiavelli, the great 15th Century Italian political philosopher, wrote in The Prince: “Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception.”

This is an appropriate quote characterizing the evolution of Laurent Salvador Lamothe from obscurity to the most corrupt Haitian Politician in Haiti. His ascendancy to power has been the most devastating setback and the greatest political deception not only to Haiti but also to the Haitian Diaspora.

Sophia Saint-Rémy Martelly was reportedly fired for incompetence

The Haitian Diaspora, from Canada to France, the United States to the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic to Spain must speak in one voice in demanding the resignation of Laurent Lamothe. Lamothe has not only been friend with the Martellys but has conducted business with them as well. The first lady, Sophia Saint-Rémy Martelly, was an employee of Laurent Lamothe. She was reportedly fired for incompetence.

 President Martelly’s or “Sweet Micky’s” likeness and name were used by Lamothe to advance and increase the sales of his calling cards “No Pin.” When Martelly first discussed his interest in running for President of Haiti in 2010, Lamothe, who was preoccupied with bribing politicians in Senegal for a no-bid telecommunication contract, first dismissed the idea outright.

 However, when Martelly made it to the second round of the presidential elections Lamothe saw an opportunity to cash in. He approached Martelly and Richard Morse and offered to finance the remainder of the campaign. Richard Morse, President Martelly’s cousin, referred to Lamothe as a financial genius; Michael Milken was a financial genius, but we know exactly what Mickael Milken did to be considered a financial genius. If Lamothe’s devilish plan would not work in Senegal, Lamothe was sure that Haiti was a safe bet. In fact, thus far Haiti has been indeed a safe bet for Lamothe. But not for long, because the Haitian Diaspora could put an end to it, just like the Senegalese Diaspora put an end to Lamothe’s Global Voice operation in Senegal.

Indeed, during the Spring of 2010, as Michel Martelly was campaigning for the presidency, Laurent Salvador Lamothe was in South Africa cooking up a deal that may eventually land him in prison in the United States. The deal includes the following players: Laurent Lamothe, Patrice

Baker, Leslie Jean, Gilbert Pasquet, Jean Robert Pierre Jacques, Ihsane Moutaib, Patrick Sinclair, Thierno Ousmane Sy, Serigne Ben Niang, Karim Wade, Khalifa Sall, and Ndongo Diao. All of them conspired with Lamothe to bribe Senegalese officials in violation of the US Foreign Corruption Act.

In May of 2010, Lamothe approached Thierno Ousmane Sy, then advisor to Senegales President Adboulaye Wade. The purpose of the meeting was to offer bribes to any politician who would support Global Voice Group’s proposal to collect taxes on incoming international telephone calls to Senegal. Lamothe proposed to President Wade that he should allow Global Voice, an American company he founded, to collect taxes on incoming calls from the Senegalese Diaspora to Senegal. Lamothe would manage and collect billion of dollars on behalf of Senegal, and that Lamothe would receive 49% of the amount collected. In exchange, Lamothe paid a 2.5 million dollar bribe to President Wade, who subsequently issued a Presidential decree allowing Global Voice to not only operate in Senegal but also to receive a no-bid contract.

 In a meeting between President Wade, Thierno Ousmane Sy and Ndongo Diao, the director of Sonatel, another phone company in Senegal, President Wade stated that he got 2.5 million dollars from Lamothe and asked if Sonatel was willing to match the bribe.

 On August 15, 2010, Global Voice began operations in Senegal, but it was not long before the Senegalese Diaspora realized that Laurent Lamothe wasn’t there to help but to line of his pockets and those of his friends. The Senegalese Diaspora took to the streets in front of the Senegalese Embassy in Washing ton, D.C. protesting this illegal deal. In 2011, Lamothe ceased operation in Senegal after President Wade, under pressure from the nation, was forced to rescind the contract.

Following Martelly’s election as President of Haiti, and with unlimited and unchecked power, Lamothe was set to replicate the Senegalese project in Haiti. By an illegal presidential decree issued in 2011, the Haitian Diaspora since then has been paying an extra 5 cents per minute for telephone calls to Haiti; in addition to an illegal tax of $1.50 for each transfer sent to Haiti. Laurent Lamothe has collected millions of dollars under the guise of Fund for Education.

 The National Fund for Education (FNE) was conceived and administered by Laurent Lamothe.

 This program was imposed on the Haitian Diaspora without legislative input as a way of marshaling resources to pay for free education for all Haitian children between the ages of 5-17. Not a single penny has been accounted for and neither the president of the Haitian Central Bank, Charles Castel nor Laurent Lamothe has been able to explain to the Diaspora how much

money was collected and how the money was used. However, the government has spent thousand of dollars in clever propaganda attempting to convince the Haitian Diaspora that a million plus Haitian children have benefited from its largess. The Haitian Government refuses to release any report and/or studies showing the amount of the Education funds were paid as tuition by the government and to whom the money was paid. Earlier this year Castel stated that only 4.8 million dollars had been raised; however, other estimates put the amount at close to $60 million. Without transparency and release of information there is no way to confirm that this money is being used for its intended purpose.

 The Haitian Diaspora has contributed greatly to the Haitian economy. Annual remittances of up to 2 billion dollars, according to the World Bank, with unfair taxes amounting to 100 million dollars a year, but it has yet to receive anything in return. While the Haitian Diaspora is bankrolling Lamothe’s government, the services to the Haitian Diaspora are absolutely non-existent. For example, Haitian in Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos and other places around the world have been subjected to abuse, discrimination violence; and denationalization.

The Prime Minister hasn’t lifted a finger to help them. In fact, instead of standing up for Haitian whose birth rights have been taken away from them by a racist decision of the Dominican Supreme Court, the Lamothe Government, under the agreement with the Dominican Republic on November 23, 2013 effectively sealing their fate to racism and denationalization.

 Last week, Lamothe and his girlfriend Petra Nemcova, accompanied by US Actor Sean Penn, visited Silicon Valley in California claiming that they were on a mission to gather support for economic development in Haiti. Such monkey business is a slap in the face of the Haitian Diaspora. This government hasn’t been able to provide accounting for millions of dollars donated thus far; and now the Diaspora’s money is being used by Lamothe for celebrity photo ops while his Foreign Minister is in Venezuela selling our pride and sovereignty to the Dominican Republic. If there ever was a time to demand the resignation of this Prime Minister, this is it. Laurent Lamothe should be arrested and tried for high treason.

 By Emmanuel ROY
Source: Haiti-Observateur
Caricature: Max Baker

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