Gonaives Demonstrators Jeer Prime Minister Latortue 4 Nov
Source: Signal FM
The main news is that Prime Minister Gerard Latortue is in Gonaives this Friday [ 4 November], Saint Charles' Day. He is accompanied by some of his government's ministers. Latortue attended a Te Deum mass at the Souvenir Cathedral. After the ceremony, the head of government wanted to deliver a speech at the Gonaives Parade Ground. However, he had a hard time doing so due to a demonstration. Some Gonaives residents shouted Down with Latortue! while he was speaking. We want to give you an idea of the atmosphere that reigned this morning in the City of Independence.
[Begin recording] From the city of Gonaives since yesterday.... [pauses] The prime minister and a very strong delegation -- I can say that five other ministers accompanied him and entered the city of Gonaive
s not only on the occasion of the patronal feast of the Gonaives people, on Saint Charles' Day, but also in order to launch several activities, such as the ceremony to sign a drainage contract for the city of Gonaives and the launch of the project aimed at decentralizing the role of the Port-au-Prince government in Gonaives.
At 0800, Prime Minister Latortue and five other ministers and the local authorities attended a Te Deum mass at the Saint Charles Church in Gonaives. I must tell you that immediately after this Te Deum mass, the prime minister was going to get up on a stage located at the Gonaives parade ground, from where he would speak to the people who were already waiting for him. They were demonstrating.
I must tell you that when the prime minister arrived on the stage... [pauses] It is true that they began welcoming him. Some youths came to express words of welcome. But what happened is that while Prime Minister Latortue was going to speak, while he was going to address the people, con
trary to all expectations, the entire crowd started shouting: Down with Latortue, which made it difficult for the prime minister to express himself, to deliver his message to the people. This caused him great difficulty. Many people could observe that in his voice and in the tone of his speech. I invite listeners to hear how a portion of the crowd at the parade ground received the prime minister:
Down with Latortue! Down! Down! Down with Latortue! Down! Down! Down with Latortue! [words indistinct]
He was born in Gonaives, but he has never done anything for Gonaives. [words indistinct] We have been experiencing extreme poverty for a very long time. [words indistinct]
[Correspondent] This was part of the people's demonstration against the prime minister, after he was introduced. I must tell you that the prime minister had a very hard time addressing the people. He was talking in a very firm tone, saying that he was born in Gonaives a
nd that nobody can prevent him from coming to Gonaives. He invited the people to shout down the next rulers instead, because his group is on the way out. I invite you to listen to the prime minister, who was addressing the people while the latter were jeering him.
[Latortue] [Words indistinct due to boos from crowd] Now, [words indistinct] that will cost more than $1.5 million so we can have an administrative center where the government can be represented, a [word indistinct] that is taking care of Port-au-Prince only, but [words indistinct] the government to take care of the provincial cities. Then, all decentralization programs can [words indistinct]
[Correspondent] That was the prime minister, who was trying to calm the people who were shouting down with Latortue. He says that the administration that preceded his is the one that should be held responsible for the fact that Gonaives... [pauses] that nothing concrete has been done in the city of Gonaives. He also told the people that they shoul
d shout down with the next government, because it will be a legitimate government that will be in charge of taking care of all of the people's demands. I must tell you that two different activities are taking place in the public square. These activities occurred just a few minutes ago. Now, the project aimed at decentralizing the role of Port-au-Prince [as heard] is being talked about at the Port-au-Prince City Hall [as heard], whereas the people continue to demonstrate. They are saying shouting down [with Latortue]. They have many other demands that they are trying to express during this demonstration.
I must also tell you that a very large security deployment is evident. MINUSTAH and the Haitian National Police [PNH] are trying to disperse the people so they do not demonstrate in front of City Hall, where the prime minister and the other members of the government are at this time within the framework of the decentralization project. [end recording]
[Description of Source: Port-au-Prince Signal Radio in French -- Independent commercial radio station]
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