Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Gypsies, Thugs and Thieves

Note: I was supposed to post this last week but, some days, inexplicably, my server hates Blogger. So I changed a few verb tenses, cleaned it up a bit and posted what you'll read bellow. Still working on getting links in English.

Last week certainly lived up to it's full potential of madness and pain. Let me break it down for you:


Started off with a bang! No 1 Bank had live entertainment and fireworks. The police blocked off the streets, traffic was crazy, but mostly everybody was wondering WTF was going on.

From what I've pieced together, a man and a woman tried to cash a fake check in US dollars at the main branch, smack in the middle of The Golden Suburb. The man, rumor says, had already cashed a similar check the previous work day (Saturday?) and the bank teller was suspended.

So they were waiting for him. The bank security tried to detain him, he broke down the (front?) door, shots were fired, the police came. Both are under arrest but an unfortunate bystander was wounded to the shoulder.

Up to now, no official commentary from No 1 Bank's Management. Not surprising, nobody likes to explain anything in this country. This isn't the first time a spectacularly public crime has been hosted by No 1 Bank, either. Last time was back in 96 or something and there was a hostage situation, if I remember correctly.

No 1 Bank's arch-rival, No 2 Bank, must be enjoying this. Of course, this is nothing compared to the white-collar crime(s) being committed daily, I'm sure, at both banks.

Maybe I should take my money out of there...

Find out more here: (scroll down, Fr) (Fr, again, sorry!)


By now, we all knew this week wasn't going anywhere good. Particularly since two events were converging : the Certificat (official 6th grade exam) and the Public Transportation Strike.

The result was chaos, as you might imagine. I was insanely late for work, no buses or taxi. I think most of those kids must have been late for the exam.

I understand the drivers frustration, the price of gas is insane: 95 went from 173 gourdes to 209 gourdes. 91 went from 171 gourdes to 205 gourdes. Diesel went from 103 gourdes to 109 gourdes. Only kérosène (used for lighting and cooking) hasn't moved.

The rise in gas prices comes on top of the whole license plate issue. (More on that later). The last time the prices went up, the government got envolved and fixed the fares. Some of it was normal, but some prices were insane. The negotiations included promises but I have not idea which; evidently, they weren't kept or we wouldn't be here...again.


Day two of the bus strike but the streets are so free that, as always, the population as adapted. I myself had to arrange a ride with a neighbor. Couldn't afford to be so late to work again.

I wonder how this turmoil will translate in the exam grades?
This wasn't the real news of the day. No, instead what really had people talking was the death of gang leader Yoyo Piman in a shoot out with the Police and the UN.

This 25 year-old thug was wanted for murder, kidnapping, rape, auto theft, among other things. The French wanted him because he's accused of killing a Haitian-French business man.

Besides the obvious reasons, this caused talk because people are a little torn over the whole UN envolvement. On the one-hand, one can't complain about them being passive anymore; on the other, the police still can't do it's job like a grown-up.

Either way, the kidnappings are still going on.

Read more here : (Fr) (Fr)


Foolishly, I thought it was all over. Nothing more to talk about this week.
Uh...not really. Because for the last week or so, Baby Doc has been in the news again. Apparently, some sort of statue is up in Switzerland and so a bank there is getting ready to hand over 7,6 million Swiss Francs to our dear former dictatorial heir.

People are not happy. Especially NGOs against corruption. Here, it's a split. Some don't care, Baby Doc is history (well, it's been 21 yrs). But on the other hand, what about all the people who died? or lost their land/business under his regime? Aren't they entitled to something?

I can't help but wonder how much road those millions would build. Roads it was Baby Doc's JOB to build after all.

I also think those NGOs are right to say that Swiss laws have to be changed. The one thing I cannot stand is for all these generations of criminals and murderers to leave here and just start a brand-new, quiet, prosperous, honest life elsewhere.

Ah, life just isn't fair is it? Never thought so.

Read more here: (Eng!)


By then, I just couldn't care anymore. Of course, most people were too distracted by the Gold Cup to care much one way or the other. Maybe I should do like them, and enjoy the massive amounts of electricity in ways other than worrying of my future.

Well, the work week did end on a sort of high note. The junior football league is whole once more.

[Note: in case you didn't know, the term "soccer" is considered an un-democratic abberation. So I don't use it. Ever]

The story speaks for itself but I really think, as I always do, that someone needs to teach officials and public figures in this country about the importance of good PR. And Spin. It's an urgent need. Really. Dumb statements like "they were probably kidnapped" (13 kids? really?) or "we got lost at the airport" (how does an accompanied group of minors do that, anyway?) just make you look like a fool.

Read more here: (Fr) (Eng)

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