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Haitian 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 of state?

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)
E-mail: Jafrikayiti@hotmail.com
cc: Erzilidanto@aol.com

*****

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