Shots Fired, Cars Burned as Haiti Police Officers Hit Streets to Demand Back Pay

VOA, By Sandra Lemaire, Matiado Vilme, April 28, 2020

WASHINGTON/PORT-AU-PRINCE – Dozens of police officers took to the streets of Port-au-Prince Monday to demand the government pay them the money it owes them. The group, who fanned out on motorbikes, pickup trucks, SUVs and on foot, were accompanied by some civilian supporters.

“We’re out in the street today because we still haven’t received what we asked for,” a policeman, dressed in uniform, wearing a black face mask and holding a rifle told VOA Creole. He said he is part of a group that calls itself “Fantom 509” and who represent those killed on the job. Fantom means ghost.

The officer said they are asking the government to put a credit of 25,000 Haitian dollars on their debit cards and pay them a 50,000 Haitian dollar base salary. Overall, they want better work conditions and a better salary.

The officer, who did not give his name, also accused the Office National d’Assurance-Vieillesse (ONA), a government agency that oversees retirement benefits for government employees, of corruption and favoritism.

“We know ONA doesn’t provide loans to poor people like us, they only know lawmakers (and their relatives) like Youri’s mother (Senator Latortue), senators and deputies,” he said.

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