Statement from Professor Sir Hilary Beckles: The assassination of President Jovenel Moïse of Haiti


The assassination of President Moïse of Haiti is the latest dramatic reflection of the culture of murderous political violence that has typified the colonisation of the Caribbean, and whose legacy continues to speak to the devalued worth of black life especially in our hemisphere. 


For the people of Haiti and the wider Caribbean region who have politically united for mutual survival with dignity under the banner of CARICOM, this blunt and brutal execution of the democratically elected Head of State foregrounds the historic savagery long fought against in our region’s struggle to forge a humane and sophisticated post-colonial Caribbean civilisation.


Political murder and social mayhem have long been the management tools used to maintain the misery and marginalisation of the Caribbean as it marches inexorably to the rendezvous of democracy as a freedom victory.


No country in the modern world has paid as great a human and material price as Haiti in seeking to convert its rubble of bloody imperial domination into a viable democratic nation state. In this regard, the murder of Moïse is the latest in a legacy that includes political leaders such as Walter Rodney and Maurice Bishop. 


His political execution reflects but an element in the internal political gridlock many Caribbean societies face in their effort to detach from the colonial scaffold with its endemic thirst for violence, and advance to a peaceful domestic democratic idealism. The University of the West Indies is dedicated to this process and transition and mourns the lost life of President Moïse. 


I recall the intellectual elegance and charismatic charm of his chairmanship of the Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM in Port-au-Prince in February 2018 when he made this statement: 


“I am not a graduate of The University of the West Indies, but I am an academic product of it. As a student here in Haiti, I was raised on the scholarly output of the great University of the West Indies and I have an affinity for it.” 


May his soul return in peace and its passage serve as a light to lead us out of this darkness.

Our prayers are with Mrs. Moïse as she continues her fight to live.

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  1. “the intellectual elegance and charismatic charm ”
    For millions of Haitians, these words do not describe ‘the banana man’ ( moïse election slogan) who was becoming ever power-hungry and for a long time had stripped the nation of functioning democratic systems – Parliament, Judiciary, Financial… & who changed Prime Ministers so often it was impossible to keep up( the current ag. Prez Joseph was never legally appointed PM!).

    Moïse, a man who resurrected the dreaded secret police, reporting only to him (as they had to Papa & Baby Doc).
    Haitians are trying to survive the increase in street violence, police brutality & instability that happened under the ‘banana man’.
    Haitians have been unable to buy fuel on and off for months, as tankers sit in the Bay, bills unpaid.

    Haïti & her people continue to suffer daily.

    Caricom & others have fine words, especially after earthquakes, political violence & assassinations –
    But what can practically be done to effect lasting, sustainable change?
    It sure isn’t the Aid industry, decades have proven that – though they collectively could be an essential part of a proud national revival roadmap over the next couple of decades.

    When will Haitians be permitted free movement within Caricom? They remain marginalized by the ‘community’ with tough entry requirements and exorbitant work permit & visa fees.
    Let’s cut the rhetoric and take some positive family action Caricom and regional institutions!
    How much longer will we allow our consciences to be assuaged by lofty sentiments but little to no action?

    Haitians are the most resilient, creative, engaging people with a rich, proud heritage.
    They can lead, and we, their Caricom brothers & sisters, should offer practical, business & intellectual support to assist in developing their ideas & dreams through a clearly focused civil service that operates outside the political system, & an ever growing entrepreneurial & business sector, to develop what Haitians want for a modern, inclusive, fast-paced Haïti.
    We should ask the hundreds of thousands of Haitian diaspora to step up, support & build together rather than establishing individual power bases at home & in USA.

    This may seem impossible, 2+ centuries have passed to this point;
    Surely a 20-year plan is do-able with the spirit, tenacity & willingness of ALL sectors and classes in Haiti
    & with the active support in finance and actions from Caricom.

  2. The bottom line is that’s what can happen when you have a corrupt govt that only looks out for themselves and the people they are supposed to be representing like shit and financial slaves.

    That is more shameful when a govt does that to its people. The event is a result of the people not taking it anymore.

  3. One thought or two!
    The professor must continue “the latest dramatic reflection” to include the money struggle that determines the political power struggle. The sources of the money are varied and worldwide.
    BBC reported some Colombians were among those arrested. Were these Colombians agricultural scientists working with Haitians to help ‘the people’?
    The professor’s statement should be……….to be continued.

  4. With so many reports coming to light of oppression and authoritarianism (and if they are true) How can anyone sorry for what took place? Its about time these messages are sent to leaders around the world that people will get up and stand up for their rights. We elect them to govern in the interest of the masses and not use the office to enrich themselves through corrupted practices.

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