Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mayor of Delmas Defends Removal of Displaced Persons from Tent Camps

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Mayor Wilson Jeudy of Delmas defended the actions of police officers and city hall for the controversial destruction of tents and removal of families out of public areas in the city.
On Monday, near midday it was reported that officers of the Police Nationale entered into a campsite and began destroying tents, tarps and other items that had been homes to a few dozen displaced families. Reports were that families were forced to leave although having no where else to go. Jeudy objects to those claims. 
Mayor Wilson Jeudy during presidential campaign [file]

Mayor Jeudy was at the park in the area of Carrefour Airport, Kafou Apoyo, when he said "here, it's a public place, a recreation area. Everyone needs it. It must not be privatised by a group of people. The only thing I am interested in for the time being is this, an empty place," he was quoted in Le Nouvelliste as saying.
Residents who live in homes in the area as well as bystanders praised the gesture by the municipal authorities. An onlooker said "some steal mobile phones from persons who pass by and then hide them in their tents. Every evening people are robbed around this place."
In addition to this public area, Jeudy said that all other public areas in the city will be emptied of their populations. They will be "clean", to borrow a word form the Mayor and people will be "hunted", as they mayor implied that most did not really live on the premises.
"Many of these people spent their day here just to exercise their commercial activities and returned home in the evening. These places serve as refuge to armed bandits and it is also a space for the operation of brothels," the mayor continued.
Brothel or not, several tens of condoms were discovered around and inside the tents, that contained only old mattresses and carpet. "They new even to protect themselves," an officer laughed saying.

Compensation for the Displaced?

Mayor Jeudy, on the topic of providing alternative or social support said no compensation shuld be expected. "If by chance an NGO wants to do something for some of them, women with babies will be the beneficiaries."
At 10:12am a woman and her two children approached the mayor. "I lived in Delamas 17, my house was destroyed, I have lost everything, I have nowhere to go. I have no money magistrate," she said.
I have no money, furthermore, none to give to everyone. You can certainly find a place to go," replied the Mayor and he sent the woman off with $62.50[USD] in vouchers.
Another woman approached and said the same story. The mayor didn't want to hear it."I am disappointed I voted for Wilson Jeudy. Look at how he is humiliating us now. The mayor cannot evict us without giving us a place to move. We will remain here," the woman said.
"We do not evict people on the basis of an agreement. I do not have to compensate people who live on public spaces" said the Mayor. "Most of these people spend their time to conduct their business without giving a penny to City Hall. While we collect daily waste that they leave on the streets and squares."
"Everyone was a victim of the earthquake, there is no question of paying people to empty public spaces they've occupied for several months," the Mayor argued. "We cannot encourage foreign investors with such images."
Furthermore faced with a resurgence from armed bandits, the work of the municipality has been complicated. "There are too many merchants in the streets of Delmas coming across from the capital. I do not want that Delmas becomes like the Grand'Rue of Port-au-Prince. It is me who runs the commune until evidence is brought up to the contrary," the Mayor ranted.

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