Concerns in Haiti as date for constitutional referendum draws near
PORT AU PRINCE – The Independent Consultative Committee (CCI) is expressing concern at “the increase in speeches inciting violence, as well as the acts of certain individuals against the constitutional referendum” scheduled for June 27.
The Committee said that it had observed that groups were inviting the population to set fire to electoral offices as well as urging armed gangs to take to the streets.
“This kind of statement, supported by public figures have repercussions in reality, leading to regrettable episodes like those recorded on June 1 in Jacmel,” the CCI said in a statement, also expresses its concerns about “the increase in hate messages on the social networks”.
It said that these messages are also directed at the lives of CCI members.
“No political disagreement justifies violence, let alone armed or physical violence,” the CCI said.
The CCI added that it was inviting all citizens, whether they are in agreement or in disagreement with the process of constitutional reform, to exercise their freedom of expression and their right vote.
“Plurality is one of the bases of democracy, which is why the Committee hopes that any discussion around the Constitutional text can be expressed in the field of ideas, by keeping an open and critical mind, so as to promote a respectful debate that meets the needs of the country,” the Committee said.
The CCI said that it was also taking the opportunity to reiterate its commitment to the important task of developing “a sufficiently solid and representative constitutional text, so that all Haitians can vote at the ballot box, faced with the choice of whether or not to endow the country with a new mother law”.
Last week, President of the Senate, Joseph Lambert said the referendum will not be held in his South East department.
The Organisation of American States (OAS) has agreed to send a five-member delegation to Haiti no later than mid-June to help broker an agreement allowing for the polls.
The OAS said the mission will comprise the representatives of five member states, Canada, Costa Rica, Ecuador, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and the United States.
Washington agreed to pick up most of the tab following the OAS Permanent Council’s unanimous offer in March to the Haitian government to help facilitate a political dialogue.