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06PORTAUPRINCE2477 2006-12-29 15:21:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Port Au Prince
Cable title:  

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT REFLECTS ON THE 48TH

Tags:   PGOV PREL KDEM HA 
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1. (SBU) Summary: The first session of the 48th Legislature
concluded on December 28. National Assembly President Joseph
Lambert believes that the legislators laid the foundation for
a stronger democratic institution with the prospect of
greater productivity in the future despite the paucity of
legislation. He anticipates laws strengthening security,
reforming justice, and updating constitutional institutions,
like the national army, will be among the assembly's
priorities in the second session that will commence on
January 8, 2007. Lambert predicts that he is likely to lead
the National Assembly again, but his counterpart in the lower
chamber will lose his leadership slot. According to Lambert,
there will be no great push to see Prime Minister Alexis go,
but a Cabinet shuffle is probable. Likewise, he is
supportive of MINUSTAH and its recent operations in Cite
Soleil. End Summary.

Creating a Better Democratic Institution




2. (SBU) Lambert told poloff on December 28 that he was
pleased by parliament's progress. While they did not pass or
promulgate many laws, the legislators performed their "check"
power admirably. Both houses had conducted several hearings
with cabinet members and the Prime Minister in his capacity
as head of the Superior Council for the National Police
(CSPN). Additionally, the legislators established a rapport
with the executive, the international community, and between
the two houses. Lambert points to the extraordinary efforts
of both houses while working on the national budget (ref A).
Parliamentarians worked to build a bicameral consensus on the
budget that the executive untimely submitted to the
parliament. (Note: Constitutionally, the upper and lower
chambers review the budget separately. The legislators
agreed to work together to complete their review in a
two-week timeframe. End Note.)



3. (SBU) Lambert stated that his priorities in the New Year
were security legislation and judicial reform. In addition
to this legislation, he anticipated several constitutional
amendments focusing on changes of institutions: the size of
the nine-member permanent electoral council (CEP) and the
scope of an armed public force. While Lambert was not a
proponent of an armed force, his views on the army have
relaxed, recognizing that &something will be needed to
maintain order8 at the eventual departure of MINUSTAH. He
would also like the legislators to address the structure of
local and national governance given the enormous financial
burden elections will have on the GoH. (Note: Haiti will
have several elections over the next 5 years. OAS estimates
that it will cost USD 183 million (ref B). End Note.)

The Lower House needs better Leadership




4. (SBU) In Lambert's opinion, the lower chamber suffered
from poor leadership. The deputies often lacked a quorum and
on a few occasions did not show for joint sessions with the
Senate (ref C). Lambert said that there is no doubt that the
executive bureau in the chamber would change. When asked who
would be the likely president, he speculated that none of the
four declared candidates would win. He did not share his
opinion on who the "surprise candidate" and eventual
president would be. (Comment: President Lambert is well
respected by his senate colleagues and will likely maintain
his position as president of the Senate. End Comment.)

The Prime Minister is Safe




5. (C) He anticipates the executive will change a few

PORT AU PR 00002477 002.2 OF 002


ministers in February and the parliament will leave the Prime
Minister alone. According to Lambert, the deputies are
threatening a vote of no confidence but they do not have
sufficient votes to oust the Prime Minister. The senators
are not inclined to make such a move. He would not discuss
which ministers would be sacrificed. The Prime Minister and
CSPN will be the first summoned during the second session.

MINUSTAH should remain in Haiti




6. (SBU) Lambert is openly supportive of the MINUSTAH
operation in Cite Soleil (ref D). "We are in a war. The
gangs of Cite Soleil are terrorists. They have paralyzed the
country from functioning. We must attack them. Already
kidnappings have decreased. There is no place for them to
hide. There are few innocent victims. The residents choose
to harbor these bandits." He anticipates a push by the
assembly to create a new public force. Money was allocated
in the current budget to complete a study on the necessity of
an armed force or gendarmerie. However, it has not been
spent.

Biographical Information




7. (C) Lambert was born on February 5,1961 in Jacmel. He is
a graduate of the State University of Haiti (agronomy) and
the University of the Antilles in Guyana (legal studies). He
began his career in national politics as a deputy in the 45th
Senate. Prior to becoming a deputy, he was a member of
KONAKAM and then the regional (SE) representative of Fanmi
Lavalas. While a deputy, the chamber gave a vote of no
confidence to Preval. He is also a signatory of accords in
Washington and New York which facilitated the return of
Aristide in 1994. He is married to Jesula Dumond, whose
brother is the deputy representing Jacmel. They have two
children, Samantha and Bradley. Mrs. Dumond was a kidnapping
victim in January 2006. Lambert is suspected of possible
drug trafficking given his close association to Philippe
Jules, former deputy and president of the senate, now
incarcerated in Florida for narco-trafficking.



8. (C) Comment: Despite his dubious professional
associations, Lambert has proven to be a charismatic
statesman who has support in both chambers. His presidential
ambition is well known although publicly concealed.
Accordingly, he makes great effort to maintain his
relationship with the executive, other politicians, and the
international community. Although sometimes almost childish
in manner, he is astute and sharp-witted. It is likely that
Lambert will continue to lead parliament.
TIGHE