By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
HAITI’S inquiry into corruption at its embassy in The Bahamas has revealed “unacceptable situations” and “wrongdoing,” Haiti’s Foreign Affairs Minister Bocchit Edmond has reportedly said.
His comments were published on Friday by Haiti’s newspaper, Le Nouvelliste.
Officials from Haiti arrived in Nassau in July to conduct its investigation. They focused on claims the embassy was involved in getting visas for Haitians and finding fake partners for them to marry to gain status in The Bahamas.
According to Le Nouvelliste, Mr Edmond said the commission of inquiry confirmed the “‘voluntary or involuntary’ involvement of several diplomats in ‘wrongdoing’.”
“The minister notably raised the issue of trafficking of residence visas in the Bahamas, which are issued on the spot through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the capital Nassau,” the newspaper reported, quoting the Haitian foreign minister as saying: “Some people have gone directly through diplomats who have used their influence to help them get the visa.”
Mr Edmond said such behaviour was against protocol.
“The image and credibility of the Haitian embassy are really stained in Nassau,” he said. “The foreign minister now has doubts about some documents issued by the embassy. Concerning the Haitian community, he no longer trusts the institution.”
The Tribune recently reported that since the commission completed its work, five Haitian embassy officials have been transferred out of the country, including former Chargé d’Affaires François Michel.
Another former embassy official, former first secretary Adras Andirs, has resigned.
Mr Michel had served in the Nassau post for five years and in a recent interview he insisted there was no correlation between his transfer and the commission of inquiry’s findings.
Mr Edmond appeared to indicate otherwise, saying drastic measures were needed to improve the embassy’s image in the Bahamas, including recalling diplomats to Port-au-Prince and transferring two employees to other posts.
The commission conducted its investigations from July 29 to August 3.