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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06PORTAUPRINCE2374 2006-12-14 18:34:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Port Au Prince
Cable title:  

JACQUES BERNARD RESIGNING FROM CEP TODAY

Tags:   PGOV KDEM PREL HA 
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RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 1326
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 1162
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PORT AU PRINCE 002374 

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STATE FOR WHA/CAR
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SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD
STATE PASS AID FOR LAC/CAR
INR/IAA (BEN-YEHUDA)
TREASURY FOR JEFFREY LEVINE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/30/2011
TAGS: PGOV KDEM PREL HA
SUBJECT: JACQUES BERNARD RESIGNING FROM CEP TODAY

Classified By: Classified by Ambassador Janet A. Sanderson for reasons
1.4(b) and (d).



1. (C) Summary. Provisional Electoral Council (CEP)
Director General Jacques Bernard called on the Ambassador on
the morning of December 14 to inform her that he was
submitting his resignation to CEP President Max Mathurin
later in the day. Bernard stated that with the completion of
the local elections on December 3, his job was complete. He
was also increasingly uncomfortable with CEP members'
requests to authorize expenditures. Bernard did not know how
or if Mathurin would replace him: there was no formal
mechanism in place for an acting DG to assume his
responsibilities. He will designate two officials from
Elections Canada to monitor the use of donated resources on
behalf of the donors. Bernard recommended against including
electoral assistance in MINUSTAH's next mandate, arguing
instead for a continuing partnership between the OAS,
Elections Canada, and the CEP. He might be willing to later
assist the GoH in carrying out "electoral reform," but not
under the current CEP. End Summary.



2. (SBU) Bernard informed the Ambassador that he had asked
for the early morning appointment to ensure that she heard of
his resignation directly from him. He would submit his
letter to Mathurin later in the morning and release it to
selected radio stations at the same time. The Ambassador
congratulated him on a job well done and thanked him for his
indispensable contribution to the restoration of democracy to
Haiti.



3. (C) Bernard stated that with the completion of the local
elections, he had completed his task. He expressed
confidence that the legal staff he had put in place would
effectively rule on challenges and certify the results of the
elections. Spurring his resignation somewhat sooner than he
had originally planned was his discomfort with irregular
expenditures that CEP members and staff were asking him to
approve. In the face of Bernard's refusals, CEP counselor
Rosemond Pradel was approving many of these requests under
his previous authority as CEP Secretary General. Under new
CEP bylaws formally adopted in November 2005, however, only
Bernard and Mathurin have disbursing authority. Finally, the
previous night flyers had appeared in front of his apartment
telling him not to make any deals with "Beker" (presumably
former presidential candidate Charles Henri Baker). Bernard
said that he was not overly concerned with this incident, he
had received far worse threats, but it factored into his
decision to advance his departure from Haiti for the holidays.



4. (SBU) Bernard stated that there was no internal
mechanism within the CEP to replace the director general, and
he did not know how Mathurin would proceed. (Note: CEP
bylaws state that the President appoints the DG subject to
the approval of the CEP board memebers End Note.) He
doubted, however, that the CEP would be able to function
effectively as a board after his departure. His focus had
been strengthening the permanent administrative apparatus and
he hoped that the importance of the board would diminish
relative to a permanent director general and staff once the
permanent board was established, citing Haiti's central bank
as a model.



5. (C) Bernard's chief immediate concern was to protect the
resources, principally vehicles, computers, and office
equipment, donated to the CEP by international community, as
these resources typically disappeared after each election.
Donors, he claimed, had not formally transferred this
equipment to the CEP. Thus he would designate two
international elections advisors from Elections Canada to act
as custodians. He cautioned that they would need the direct
support of the international community to carry out this
role. He would spend his last hours in his office completing
an inventory of CEP resources.



6. (C) Bernard strongly recommended that the MINUSTAH's
technical role in elections end with the current mandate.
Repeating an argument he made several times over the course
of preparations for the final round of elections, he argued

PORT AU PR 00002374 002 OF 002


that MINUSTAH's electoral assistance unit had contributed no
useful expertise or management. He emphasized the OAS'
expertise in voter registration, voter lists, and tabulation
procedures must be preserved and praised the technical
experts from Elections Canada. Asked how best to integrate
this expertise into a permanent electoral council, Bernard
advised instead that these institutions form a partnership
whereby the CEP could call on their technical experts to
provide specific services as needed.



7. (C) Asked by the Ambassador what reaction he expected to
his resignation, Bernard said it would be mostly "negative"
(meaning most would regret his resignation). Most CEP
counselors understood that he had organized the CEP and made
the necessary decisions to make the elections possible. He
had gained the trust of elected officials and cabinet
ministers through his impartial management of the electoral
process. He had heard that even Prime Minister Alexis, who
Bernard believed had kept his distance from him because of
rumors that he was anti-Preval, was now telling his advisors
that Bernard had established a good model for other
government ministries with a strong, apolitical director
general controlling a professional staff.



8. (C) Comment: Bernard had stated for months that he would
resign after the completion of the third round. His
resignation prior to the certification of the results,
however, is somewhat of a surprise. He has clearly had
enough of dealing with CEP members who were at best
ineffective, and at worst inept, working at cross-purposes,
or malfeasant. Given these and the other circumstances under
which he worked, Bernard's accomplishments were truly heroic.
He has won admirers across the political and social spectrum
in Haiti, and the GoH may well ask Bernard to continue to
serve in some other capacity.



9. (C) Comment Continued. Post agrees with Bernard's
assessment of MINUSTAH's role in the electoral process.
Weakness in MINUSTAH's electoral assistance unit has been a
problem since the beginning of the mandate. MINUSTAH
provided virtually no value added technically to the
electoral process once Bernard became DG in October 2005.
Assistance provided by the OAS and Elections Canada proved
much more responsive and flexible.
SANDERSON