What's up Little Haiti

U.S. immigration services recommend the end of TPS


James McCamen, Acting Director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), recently recommended an end to the program Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in January, 2018. This program benefits about 60,000 Haitians by authorizing them to stay in the United States.


It should be remembered that the Obama administration had offered the TPS to Haitians, following the devastating earthquake of 2010. This protection was repeatedly extended and its current expiration date is July 22nd, 2017.


In its letter, McCamen underlines that the conditions in Haiti have improved enough to end the "Temporary Protected Status" (TPS) for Haitians. He proposes an extension until January, 2018, only to allow a "period of orderly transition", and expects that this program should not be extended beyond that date.


However, the final decision on the fate of Haitians will be made by Secretary John Kelly of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), who has not yet made a decision on this subject, according to spokesman David Lapan.


Twenty French Companies are on their way


About twenty French companies will soon be in Haiti. Last Friday, Pierre Marie Du Meny, Minister of Trade and the Industry, met a French delegation linked to the cooperation between France and Haiti. France aims to be more active on the economic plan in Haiti, and with the support of the French-Haitian Chamber, about twenty French companies will soon be in Haiti for a forum around the economy and the business, has indicated Secretary Du Meny.


 


Rebuilding the National Palace


A meeting took place recently regarding the rebuilding of the National Palace of Haiti. The famous building was demolished by the earthquake of January 12th, 2010. Since then, announcements about its reconstruction were made by France, and also by the American actor Sean Pean.


Seven years after the earthquake,  it’s the first meeting taking place about the rebuilding of the palace. It brought together around President Jovenel Moïse, architects who specialize in the reconstruction of historic monuments, such as Patrick Delatour, Patrick Durandis, and Sabine Malebranche to name only a few.


Leading the group is Engineer Clément Bélizaire, also Executive director of the Unity of Homebuilding and Public Buildings (UCLBP). He promised to offer to the nation a Palace worthy of the name.


The Committee’s responsibility is to deal with this reconstruction. But already Mr. Jovenel Moïse stressed that the new construction will have to respect the outside of the previous palace which should not be changed. The Committee will have to deal with the reconstruction of the interior of the building.


 



U.S. Department of Justice


United States Attorney                                                                             Public Information Officer/


Southern District of Florida                                                                Special Counsel to the U.S. Attorney


99 N.E. 4 Street                                                                                   Sarah J. Schall


Miami, FL 33132                                                                               (305) 961-9377


(305) 961-9001                                                                                  Sarah.schall@usdoj.gov


NEWS RELEASE:


Haitian National Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Launder Money


Derived from Drug Trafficking


                  A former high-ranking Haitian National Police officer pleaded guilty today in the United States to a money laundering charge in connection with an international narcotics scheme.


 Benjamin G. Greenberg, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Adolphus P. Wright, Special Agent in Charge, United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division; Matthew G. Donahue, Special Agent in Charge, DEA, Caribbean Division; and Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.


 Guy Philippe, 49, of Haiti appeared before U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga of the Southern District of Florida, where he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering stemming from his receipt of cash payments derived from the proceeds of narcotics sales that occurred in Miami, Florida and elsewhere in the United States in the late 1990s and early 2000s.  Philippe faces a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment.  The defendant is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Altonaga in Miami on July 5, 2017 at 9:30 a.m.


 "After evading law enforcement for over a decade, Guy Philippe's guilty plea demonstrates the unrelenting commitment of the U.S. government and our foreign counterparts to disrupt and dismantle transnational narco-trafficking and money laundering organizations,” said Acting United States Attorney Greenberg. “Philippe cast aside his duty to protect and serve the people of Haiti.  Instead, he abused his position of authority as a high-ranking Haitian National Police Officer to safeguard drug shipments and launder illicit trafficking proceeds.  The prosecution of those who abuse the public’s trust to facilitate criminal conduct remains a top priority for the U.S. and our Haitian law enforcement allies.” 


                  “In addition to its other pernicious effects, drug trafficking corrupts public officials and important government institutions that form the foundation of every democracy.  Philippe – a former high-ranking official in the Haitian National Police – was on the payroll of the drug traffickers for years, receiving more than jumi.5 million in bribe payments for protecting drug shipments,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Blanco.  “The department’s investigation and prosecution of this case for more than a decade demonstrates its commitment to prosecuting all of those who facilitate the international drug trade, including the corrupt officials on the take, and that there is no place to hide from the U.S. justice system."


        “It is important that Philippe accepted responsibility for his criminal offenses against the United States and the people of Haiti for his involvement in criminal activities associated with drug trafficking,” said Adolphus P. Wright, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Miami Field Division, also adding “With the increased strength of our law enforcement partners, both in the United States and abroad, DEA will never abandon nor ever give up on seeking and bringing to justice those responsible for drug trafficking and the laundering of drug money, no matter how many years they attempt to evade capture.”     


 “This international investigation demonstrates the possibilities of success in identifying and producing significant prosecutorial evidence against members of drug trafficking organizations, money laundering organizations and corrupt public figures,” stated Matthew G. Donahue, Special Agent in Charge, DEA, Caribbean Division.  “Guy Philippe violated public trust and the confidence of the Haitian people and others throughout the Caribbean Region and the United States, by supporting and benefiting from drug trafficking organizations.   The arrest of Guy Philippe is a testament to the collective mission of our federal agencies and exceptional Foreign Police Units.  The Haitian Police, La Brigade de Lutte contre le Trafic de Stupéfiants (BLTS), is commended for their continued hard work, dedication and assistance provided to the international law enforcement community.  This investigation sends a strong message to criminal organizations globally, that the law enforcement partners throughout the Eastern Caribbean Region will not rest until these violators are brought to justice.”  


Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), said, "Today Mr. Philippe admitted to accepting bribes while employed as a high-ranking Haitian National Police Officer and to assisting a drug operation that brought cocaine into Miami. IRS-CI is pleased this longtime fugitive has admitted his role in the money laundering conspiracy and will now face the consequences of his actions. IRS-CI will continue to work alongside our global law enforcement partners and provide our financial investigative expertise to dismantle these international drug and money laundering organizations."


 According to admissions made in connection with the plea, beginning in the late 1990s, Philippe knowingly using his position as a high-ranking Haitian National Police Officer to provide protection for the shipments of drugs and drug proceeds arriving into Haiti in exchange for cash payments.  Philippe admitted that from approximately June 1999 to April 2003, he received between jumi.5 and .5 million in bribes from drug traffickers, knowing that the payments he received constituted proceeds of cocaine sales that occurred in Miami, Florida, and elsewhere in the United States.  Philippe also admitted that he shared a portion of these payments with Haitian National Police officials and other security personnel to ensure their continued support for future drug shipments arriving into Haiti.  Philippe used these payments to purchase a residence in Broward County, Florida; and to support himself and to support his family in the United States.


                  In addition, Philippe wired proceeds derived from the sale of cocaine, in the amount of 6,000, from banks in Haiti and Ecuador to a joint bank account in Miami.  To avoid detection, Philippe used the names of others to wire the funds to his account.  Philippe further admitted that he arranged for over ,000 in drug proceeds to be deposited into his account that were conducted in a series of deposits each less than ,000 to avoid the U.S. federal reporting requirements. 


 The DEA and IRS-CI investigated the case. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, DEA Port-au-Prince Country Office, Caribbean Field Division, U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations and Enforcement and Removal Operations, and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Miami Office of Field Operations provided assistance in this matter. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lynn M. Kirkpatrick and Andy R. Camacho of the Southern District of Florida and Senior Trial Counsel Mark A. Irish of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section are prosecuting the case.


 The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our federal partners commend the Government of Haiti, including the Ministry of Justice, Haitian National Police, and La Brigade de Lutte contre le Trafic de Stupéfiants (BLTS) for upholding the rule of law and assisting U.S. counterparts.


 This case is the result of the ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) a partnership that brings together the combined expertise and unique abilities of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, dismantle and prosecute high-level members of drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations and enterprises.


 Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.


 


After eluding the feds for a decade in Haiti, Guy Philippe plans to plead guilty in Miami


According to the Miami Herald, Guy Philippe has apparently run out of moves in his quest to outfox the U.S. government. The former Haitian national police commander, who led a revolt against this nation’s president in 2004, and got elected to the Senate last year, has agreed to plead guilty on Monday to a drug-related charge, according to a notice filed in Miami federal court on Friday.


It is not clear from the notice whether Philippe, 49, will plead guilty to a principal conspiracy charge of smuggling cocaine from Colombia via Haiti to the United States, or to a secondary conspiracy offense of money laundering in an indictment dating back to 2005. The drug trafficking charge carries up to life in prison and the money – laundering offense up to 20 years.


In exchange for agreeing to plead guilty to avoid the risk of trial in early May and possible conviction on the main drug-conspiracy charge, it is likely federal prosecutors have offered Philippe a deal that sends him to prison for many years but not for the rest of his life.


Philippe’s defense attorney, Zeljka Bozanic, confirmed Saturday that “There is a favorable plea agreement in place” that allows him to avoid a life sentence but she declined to provide details. The U.S. attorney’s office could not be reached for comment.


The Dominican Republic was ranked at the top of a list of countries that must be visited in 2017


After Canada, which ranked first place of “must see” countries for 2017, Colombia came in second place in the prestigious classification by Lonely Planet, one of the most renowned travel guides of the world. The guide is one of the most reputable resources for millions of travelers all over the world. As a result, there is a strong likelihood the South American country will become the tourist destination of excellence in a few years.


Here is the complete ranking: 


1-     Canada


2-     Colombia


3-     Finland                  


4-     Dominican Republic


5-     Nepal


6-     Bermuda


7-     Mongolia


8-     Oman


9-     Burma


10-  Ethiopia


 


Signing of an agreement to build a road connecting Hinche and Saint Raphael


Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant and the European Commissioner for Development, Neven Mimica signed an agreement for 45.3 million Euros concerning the construction of a section of main road No. 3 connecting Hinche and Saint Raphaël, according to a press release from the Office of the Prime Minister. 


The works will be executed by the Haitian firm Vorbe and Sons, and the French firm Razel BEC. It is scheduled to begin in a month, and it will last 24 months.


At the end of the signing ceremony, the head of the government thanked the European Union, especially for funds available, notably 35 million Euros, following the passage of Hurricane Matthew, as well as the disbursement of 14.5 million Euros in the form of budgetary support for the government and for the consolidation of the Haitian state.


A SITE OF HAITI AMONG 20 NEW WORLD RESERVES OF BIOSPHERES


The International Co-ordinating Council of Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme of UNESCO, added 20 sites to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves during its meeting in the capital of Peru on 18 and 19 March. The newly adopted sites include 18 national sites and one transboundary site shared between Spain and Portugal. The Council also approved 9 extensions to existing Biosphere Reserves. Following the withdrawal of two sites at the request of Austria, this brings the total number of biosphere reserves to 669 sites in 120 countries, including 16 transboundary sites.


The site of La Hotte joined the World Network of Biosphere Reserves:


Located in the south-east of the country, the biosphere reserve encompasses both terrestrial and marine areas. The region is considered a biodiversity hotspot due to its wide climate range: from humid to subtropical dry. The reserve covers six mountain peaks culminating at 2,347m, as well as a coastal and marine ecosystem in the north (Iles Cayemites) and south (Ile-à-Vache). It is home to more than 850,000 inhabitants, whose main economic activities are farming, agroforestry, fishing, commerce, and handcrafts.