Regarding the Michel Martelly phenomenon, the ball is in the people’s camp.

Regarding the Michel Martelly phenomenon, the ball is in the people’s camp.


After the humiliation suffered by former Haitian President Michel Mar- telly, whose stage name is Sweet Micky, the Haitian people must feel very concerned. Until the latest incident in Canada, the former president had not been reprimanded by officially authorized voices concerning his foul-smelling performances. However, the message from the Canadian authorities last week could not be any clearer. Following this public slap, it is time for Haitians to collectively reflect on our country. We must be disturbed by the fact that too many citizens have embraced this Martelly phenomenon, who is vehemently denounced by certain citizens, institutions and even some authorities. Why haven’t we been able to put a stop to his momentum, as if he is officially licensed to publicly wallow in filthy obscenities, arrogantly displaying his misogyny expressed in words and actions on stage. We call on the Haitian people to wake up. It is time for action to defeat Sweet Micky, or Michel Martelly, if you will, and his accomplices of all ilk.

Once again, the Haitian Diaspora mobilized to force the cancellation of his performance last Friday, March 22, in Montreal. Evoking common decency, Canadians of Haitian ancestry and other Canadian allies had used the resources at their disposal to raise awareness among municipal and federal authorities against holding this concert. Through demonstrations and their demands, they succeeded in preventing Martelly from performing in Montreal.

We will note that it was not his first encounter with Haitians abroad. During the Labor Day West Indian Carnival on the Eastern Parkway, in Brooklyn, on the first Monday of September last, he was declared persona non grata. Other than being harassed all along by catcalls, the hostile placards spelled out the message for all to see : “KOT KŌB PET- WOKARIBE A” (‘’Where is the PetroCaribe money?’’) alternatively “Volè sa a nan prizon pou l ale,“ (‘’This thief must go to jail.’’)

All along the parade route, his float was the butt of ridicule, forcing him and his musicians to shorten their participation before reaching the end. It had begun the Saturday before, when his show was cancelled at Chez Mirelle Restaurant, in Westbury, L.I., New York. Following some telephone threats, the restaurateur did not want to take a chance with the foul-mouthed singer. Reportedly, the situation was quite different in Montreal. Nonetheless, in the end, the result was similar : the Martelly Show was banned. Indeed, since January 2, Frédéric Boisrond, a Canadian sociologist of Haitian ancestry, wrote a letter to the Canadian Prime Minister, asking the head of government to: “Do everything to prevent this former president of Haiti, a singer praising rape, from vomiting his hateful words, yea, a perverse speech that normalizes and glorifies violence against women.”

Mr. Boisrond’s letter initiated a movement that feminine organizations exploited until its echoes reached the ears of Valérie Plante, the Mayor of Montreal. In an interview on Friday with “Gravel in the Morning,” she said she had asked the Canadian government, “in Ottawa, to refuse the entry into Canada of the former Haitian president. We contacted the federal government directly and made it very clear that we wanted it to look into this case.”

The rest is history. Treated like the plague, the former Haitian president was denied access to Canadian territory, setting a precedent that could influence his application for a visa to enter other countries. From now on, it is internationally known that Martelly is a misogynist and pornographic entertainer who excels in indecent and bestially primitive gestures. What a treatment for the man who was the first citizen of Haiti !

Certainly, that gives us food for thought and to reflect on the state of our society, considering that this is the creature who was “elected” President of the Republic. Normally, in most countries, the highest political offices are entrusted to the most morally balanced and intellectually endowed citizens. This begs the question, are Haitians politically mature to choose their leaders ? Or do we lack a pool of competent and decent candidates from which to choose ?

What has happened in Canada provides us an opportunity to take stock and reflect on the causes and origins of the decline of our society. Can you imagine that we fell as low as to entrust the destinies of the nation to a species like Michel Martelly ? Are we so far gone that so many find pleasure, are even crazy to the point of basking in his horribly unhealthy gestures and revolting comments at his shows ?

Consider that Sweet Micky’s concert tickets are sold out in advance. Were it not so, it would have dawned on him that his style of entertainment is not condoned by the public! In fact, to his satisfaction, he finds himself attracting enough followers who encourage him to use his coarse songs and revolting stage gestures. The reality is what it is: Haiti has experienced a moral decadence to the point of providing a regular clientele for this kind of entertainment. However, going from there to electing such a citizen to the highest post in the nation is cause for deep reflection. We must wonder as to how the country got caught in such a trap and do something about it.

To tell the truth, the answers are obvious. All it takes it a critical look at the Haitian political system to get a clear idea of the process that led to the choice of Michel Martelly, or of someone of his ilk, to endorse as president or to posts of senior civil servants of the State.

It’s a fact that drug traffickers, those involved in illicit transactions, or who are up to their necks in corruption, in misappropriating public funds and are experts at money laundering, in short all who use illegal means to enrich themselves, need Michel Martelly to build their fortune. By donating to those candidates of their choice, they are assured of being ― by proxy― at the helm of the country. Men and women totally dedicated to their causes are at various levels of public administration.

Indeed, how does one explain the presence of so many Senators and Deputies (Congress people) linked to drug trafficking in both legislative chambers ? They got to power through, completely illegal electoral maneuvers, in any case tainted by irregularities, carried out by the presidency.

They are also assured of their durability ― and impunity―, thanks to the Head of State they helped to gain power. A recent example illustrates what we mean. Reportedly, President Jovenel Moïse called to order a senator, whose presence at the deliberations about Prime Minister Jean Henry Céant would have provided quorum to start. The president reminded him that only he can guarantee him “impunity,” not his fellow senators who are asking for his vote. Thus, no quorum and no Senate vote of confidence for Mr. Céant. Meanwhile, almost all the deputies were already bought off with cash and bags of rice, an ever-expensive commodity these days.

Similarly, in the business world, kingmakers invest their millions in the campaign of candidates whose loyalty they have bought in advance, knowing that through such legislators their custom exemptions and other benefits will be granted illegally. Acting as front men for the candidates, they have brought to power, those business folks enjoy, together with them, the fruits of illegal decisions taken in their favour by their own in the Legislature.

As evidence, the business folks pay only 30% of the taxes they should have paid to customs. In return they grease the paws of the people, they helped into office. This system of “mutual rewards” applies in all areas, especially in imports, making millionaires on both sides. In the process, the business folks close to the government do not worry about the right of access to the authorities who have oversight on suspicious wealth. Alternatively, there is no questioning the lifestyle of the officials deemed incompatible with their actual salaries.

Understandably, the mafia-like individuals in power, together with their allies in the business world, are fiercely opposed to the anti-corruption campaign, the fight against illicit trafficking in addition, money laundering. They are fighting tooth and nail to preserve the advantages of each other.

Any disruption of this system is a threat to the powerful interests in government and in business. The impunity provided by the likes of Michel Martelly must be kept at all costs. However, time has come for the Haitian people to assume their responsibilities by creating conditions to prevent bloodsuckers of all categories from assuming power with ill-gotten money. Therefore, the ball is in the people’s camp. There should be no turning back from the fight to ban the scumbags whether in business or in government.

cet article est publié par l’hebdomadaire Haïti-Observateur, édition du 27 mars 2019, et se trouve à P.11