With MINUSTAH Up for Renewal, ‘Legal Bandits’ on Rampage
Dady Chery

Professor Serge L. Bernard killed within sight of police

By Dady Chery
Haiti Chery

It is hunting season again in Haiti, as MINUSTAH’s mandate comes up for renewal in mid-October. Year after year, it is the same: from Spring to October, a period of intense insecurity until the United Nations troops are renewed.

Fifty motorcycles for policing were among the vehicles donated on June 1, 2012 by USAID to Haiti. Motorcycles have become objects of fear.

After shooting thousands of Haitians during the aftermath of the coup against Aristide and killing more than 7,000 with cholera, the UN currently presents its mandate not only as one of stabilization but also as one that is expanded to include the fight against cholera. The proposed MINUSTAH budget for 2012-2013 is $676.70 million. The funds will support not only UN personnel but also the private military and security (PMSC) companies on which the UN increasingly relies.

The victims of the Spring-to-October “insecurity” are invariably Haitians of stellar reputation, such as respected political activists, directors of popular radio stations, and beloved academics. The source of the insecurity has not escaped the notice of Haitians, who call the killers “Bandi legal” (legal bandits).

Among those killed in Spring 2012 were political activists Jean Liphete Nelson (Ti Lifet) and Jean-Baptiste Jean-Philippe (Samba Boukman), both of whom would have been presidential material in any free-and-fair elections.

A Summer 2012 victim was Dr. Serge L. Bernard, age 73, and “Maitre Ben” to his students.  Professor Bernard was the Vice-Chair of the board of directors of the University of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. UP is a private university of excellent reputation.

Dr. Serge L. Bernard, 73, Professor and Vice-Chair of the board of directors of the University of Port-au-Prince, Haiti (Photo credit: RadioTV Caraibes).

Dr. Bernard was shot inside his car around noon on Friday, August 31, 2012 by five gunmen on motorcycle.

During the supposed robbery, Dr. Bernard drove his car a short distance from a bank in the Turgeau neighborhood, center-east of the capital, to beg for help from a group of highway patrolmen (Brigade d’Intervention Motorisée, BIM). The pursuers riddled Dr. Bernard’s car with bullets and killed him within sight of the patrolmen, who did nothing whatever to protect him or pursue the killers. Subsequently the killers escaped into traffic, and the Departmental Delegate for the West, Mr. Gonzague Edner Day, who coincidentally happened to be on the scene, said the criminals would be pursued and announced that two had been injured apparently by their own fire during the confusion.

Dr. Bernard’s colleagues and students at the University are disconsolate, and the country is in mourning.

Source: Haiti Chery

Copyright © 2012 by Dady Chery. All Rights Reserved. Dady Chery is a journalist, playwright, essayist and poet, who writes in English, French and her native Creole. She is the Editor of Haiti Chery.

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