Lawyer's Leadership Decries Gerald Larorture's Legal Competence to Denounce
the 22 Billion Owed Haiti by France (French version also below)
May 12, 2004
For immediate release
(Please circulate this release and sign our on-line petition supporting
Haiti's 22 billion claim for restitution (in French, Kreyol, English)
The Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network hereby affirms the People of
Haiti's right to pursue their claim for 22 billion ransomed from Haiti,
after its independence, through gunpoint, by ex-colonial authority France
and decries Gerald Latorture's authority to denounce this claim.
Legal Incompetence: Mr. Gerald Latorture is legally incompetent, as
a Prime Ministerˇand an un-Constitutional Prime Minister at that!ˇto
annul, by a statement, actions taken by a democratically elected Haitian
head of state.
The Visits: On the occasion of Gerald Latorture's current visit to France,
and, in anticipation of the visit to Haiti, on May 15, 2004, of the
French Foreign Minister, an occurrence that has not taken place in 200
years of Haitian history and sovereignty, the Haitian Lawyers Leadership
reaffirms and reiterates the Haitian people's right to seek restitution
from France of the $22 billion owed ( and counting at $34 per second)
and hereby further asserts, decides and agrees that the following statement
shall be known and published far and wide:
C'EST FOUTU (IT'S LOST) WITH LATORTUE
The case for restitution was launched by President Jean Bertrand Aristide
on April 7, 2003 during the Bicentennial commemoration of the death
of Toussaint Louverture. This demand, formulated in the presence of
the people, the dignified heirs of our ancestors, and in front of MUPANAH
(Mus╚e du Panth╚on National Haďtien, or The Haitian National Pantheon
Museum) where the immortal souls of the Black race repose in respect
and dignity. Past and present were intimately linked for a historic
projection to the future.
"RESTITUTION", "REPARATION" - Two magic words which could have bandaged
the evils of colonialism and slavery. All the sons of the colonized
not suffering from amnesia, all the sons of the colonists enlivened
with a liberation spirit, greeted this call positively. The countries
of the Caribbean and Latin America, all of Africa and even certain European
countries identified themselves with this ever-legitimate step.
To that end, law offices were constituted and the concerned parties
had even begun to acquaint themselves with the documents. Yet, Mr. Gerald
Latortue has denounced this claim and summarily declared "The case of
Restitution is a classified matter."
What heresy! Politically, he has no competence to make such a decision.
Mr. Latortue should recall that the case of restitution was introduced
by a democratically-elected president, dignified representative of the
people, and true guarantor of national sovereignty. From an international
viewpoint, States are involved in that action. How can a Prime Ministerˇand
what a Prime Minister!ˇannul, by a statement, actions taken by a head
The Haitian Constitution of 1987, Article 138, stipulates that the President
of the Republic of Haiti is the guarantor of national independence and
territorial integrity. It can't be understood how an individual claiming
to be Haitian could have such a whimsical attitude concerning such an
important case for the Haitian nation.
Mr. Gerard la tortue ("la tortue" literally meaning "the turtle") walks
too quickly. Watch out!
Hearing La tortue denounce the debt owed to Haiti by France, hearing
you speaking that way, makes one want to re-read Black Skin, White Mask
by Frantz Fanon. At Haiti's Prime Minister's office, fortunately, Mr.
Latorture's duplicity is obvious. La tortue is making decisions way
over his head that are neither of his skin nor well-masked.
We repeat again, "A la Primature, heureusement, Latortue n'est ni dans
sa peau, ni bien masque," which, in English, means rather, that at Haiti's
Prime Minister's office, fortunately, the Turtle is neither in his skin
nor wearing a mask.
Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network
May 12, 2004
For more information:
Contact Our Campaign 7 Leadership Network Coordinator
Mr. Jean St. Vil (Jafrikayiti)