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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09PORTAUPRINCE731 2009-08-13 17:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Port Au Prince
Cable title:  

HAITIAN NATIONAL POLICE - PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE

Tags:   SNAR ASEC PGOV PREL KCRM HA 
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VZCZCXRO1838
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DE RUEHPU #0731/01 2251744
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 131744Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0282
INFO RUEHZH/HAITI COLLECTIVE
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 2371
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 0418
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 2090
RUEHQU/AMCONSUL QUEBEC 1455
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1921
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J2 MIAMI FL
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 PORT AU PRINCE 000731 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/EX AND WHA/CAR
INL FOR KEVIN BROWN, HEATHER WILD AND MEAGAN MCBRIDE
S/CRS
SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD
STATE PASS TO AID FOR LAC/CAR
INR/IAA
WHA/EX PLEASE PASS USOAS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/11/2019
TAGS: SNAR ASEC PGOV PREL KCRM HA
SUBJECT: HAITIAN NATIONAL POLICE - PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE

PORT AU PR 00000731 001.2 OF 005


Classified By: Charge Thomas C. Tighe, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)



1. (U) Summary: The following is a brief overview of
progress made by the Haitian National Police in the past two
years and a summary of various perspectives on where the HNP
should go in the future. This report represents the
recommendations and analysis of the first full-time NAS
Director, at the end of a two-year tour in Haiti. End
summary.



--------------------------


Then and Now


--------------------------





2. (C) The Haitian National Police (HNP) came into existence
in 1995, when the Haitian military was decommissioned. The
HNP is the only national security force in Haiti and includes
all police units, the prison system, the Coast Guard and the
fire department. In 2004 the HNP underwent radical changes,
with its numbers being reduced to less than 3000 after many
of the former military (FADH) were purged from its ranks. It
was still a force feared and hated by the population, viewed
as the corrupt personal enforcement arm of certain powerful
individuals. Since that time, the HNP, with the strong
support of and pressure from the international community, has
made substantial progress in fielding a professional police
force that is no longer feared by the population. Polls
indicate that the HNP is now the most respected Government of
Haiti (GOH) entity and number two after the Catholic Church
overall.



3. (U) HNP strength will stand at approximately 10,000
officers with the scheduled graduation on August 18 of the
latest class of 475 cadets. That is still far short of the
internationally-agreed goal of 14,000 HNP by the end of 2011
to extend control to all areas of the country. Even that
goal is considered minimal, with 20,000 being a truer measure
of what is needed to effectively police all of Haiti.
Substantial progress has been made on implementation of the
five-year reform plan agreed with the UN Stabilization
Mission for Haiti (MINUSTAH) with support from international
donors. The U.S. remains the primary donor to the HNP,
followed by Canada. In the past five years, including
support to the U.S. contingent to MINUSTAH, the USG has
invested over 75 million USD in peace and security in Haiti.



4. (C) The past two years have seen a marked improvement in
the performance of the HNP as well as the population's
perceptions of the police, but much remains to be done.
Political will is sometimes lacking, budget shortfalls hamper
the HNP, and political in-fighting has occasionally stalled
progress for weeks or months. President Preval has listed
the fight against corruption and drug trafficking as two of
his main priorities, but resources devoted to the HNP have
not matched that rhetoric. Like most GOH entities, the HNP
is often subject to the personal priorities of high level
officials, including the Director General, that may not match
the needs of the organization or the population.



--------------------------


What Next - Various Perspectives


--------------------------





5. (C) NAS Director has discussed the future of the HNP with
various actors in the past few weeks, including the HNP
leadership, the Minister of Justice and MINUSTAH. Each has
its own vision of the way forward but some constants emerged:
the need to continue to implement the Reform Plan and to
begin development of the next five-year plan; the need for
additional resources within the GOH to be devoted to the HNP;
the need to meet the 14,000 goal; and the need for political
will to address drug trafficking and its accompanying
corruption, which threaten hard-fought gains.



6. (C) Minister of Justice: The MOJ is heavily focused on
judicial reform, with much less attention paid to the HNP.
He has reestbalished the DG in control of the HNP after a
power struggle for control of the HNP with the Secretary of

PORT AU PR 00000731 002.2 OF 005


State for Public Security under the previous MOJ. That
allows the DG to take action as he sees fit in many cases,
but also means that there has been little visible high level
support from the MOJ to address the budgetary needs of the
HNP. The MOJ supported the reappointment of the DG for
another three-year term, which the President has agreed to
and confirmation is awaiting only formal Senate approval.
The MOJ sees the HNP priorities as the need to adequately
rehabilitate and equip the HNP facilities in the Departments
(political subdivisions of the country) and to expand prison
capacity to address human rights concerns about overcrowded
conditions. His other priorities are not related directly to
the HNP but will have a potentially positive impact,
including reforming the judiciary to eliminate corruption and
non-performing or incompetent judges, and the need to
effectively process cases to avoid long-term pretrial
detention that often results in cases being dismissed.



7. (C) HNP Director General: The DG's priorities include
improvement of rural policing facilities, border control,
increased night patrols, expansion of Academy training both
for new and veteran officers, construction of an new
headquarters and HNP-dedicated medical facilities and
expansion of the BLTS counternarcotics unit beyond the
capital area. Long-term priorities include possible air
capability, environmental policing and an additional Coast
Guard base in the South at Jacmel. In spite of this list,
the DG is in fact very focused on operational needs such as
equipment in the metropolitan area and pays little attention
to the needs of what he considers less than full police units
such as the Coast Guard and the Prison Administration
Directorate (DAP). Both of those entities suffer from a
severe lack of resources in spite of what may be written into
the budget and no real direction from the HNP higher command
structure as to how to operate. The Coast Guard survives
essentially on the U.S. and Canada's donations and support,
and has the advantage of having some knowledgable former Navy
officers in charge. The DAP does not, however, have those
relative advantages to counteract its lower status within the
HNP.



8. (C) MINUSTAH: The Deputy Police Commissioner for
Development (protect), who works very closely with the U.S.
on HNP reform, shared his vision of HNP needs and future
projects. In his view, the priorities are the need for a new
headquarters complex that would allow for full control of the
HNP nationwide (including communications), a fleet
maintenance and management facility to deal with the growing
vehicle fleet, the need to fully address training needs,
including revision of curriculum at the current HNP basic
training academy and the construction of an advanced training
academy (promised by Canada for over three years), long-term
planning expertise, development of a permanent continuous
recruitment system, and the desperate need to address
budgetary and procurement issues that have resulted in the
HNP having to put new officers on the streets without
siearms or ammunition. The lack of a clear promtion system
is also hindering the HNP's ability o staff up certain units
such as the BLTS with cpable experienced officers vs. new
recruits.



--------------------------



--------------------------


INL/NAS programs - what worked; what remains to be done


--------------------------



--------------------------





9. (C) In spite of the challenges encountered in Haiti
daily, the HNP has made great progress based in large part on
the support of the USG. The increase in the size of the HNP
is due directly to the INL/NAS support to the HNP Academy and
each graduating class since 2005. INL/NAS provide equipment,
duty gear, uniforms, classroom materials and food supplements
to each class as well as special gear such as ATVs,
motorcycles or riot gear depending on the planned deployment
of the new officers and will continue to do so for the
foreseeable future. Without such support, the HNP would
field even fewer new officers annually, if any at all. In the
past year, the U.S., in collaboration with Canada, has
expanded the capacity of the Academy to allow for staggered

PORT AU PR 00000731 003.2 OF 005


classes, increasing its potential to graduate at least 2500
cadets annually. The inability of the HNP to fully implement
a continuous recruitment system (with MINUSTAH support) has
not allowed it to take full advantage of the facilities to
date but progress is being made, with 1200 cadets graduating
in 2009. The USG should continue to push the HNP to
formalize this process.



10. (C) Haiti's anti-money laundering program is now
considered a model for the Caribbean region, thanks to a
highly successful program funded by INL/NAS. The U.S.
Treasury Office of Technical Assistance provides advisors who
visit monthly to train and mentor the Financial Intelligence
Unit (FIU known as UCREF in Haiti) and the HNP Financial
Crimes Unit (BAFE) and provide technical assistance on
analysis and investigation of financial crimes related to
money laundering, drug trafficking and corruption. That
program assisted the GOH in establishing an Asset Forfeiture
Management Fund to deal with over 26 million USD in property
and assets seized since October 2008. Those seizures are a
direct result of cooperation with the USG that resulted in a
decision by the GOH to move on forfeiture of assets of
convicted drug traffickers based on US convictions. Since
there are virutally no convictions of drug traffickers in
Haiti, this innovative approach has allowed the GOH to
benefit from the illegally obtained assets while sending a
strong message to traffickers that their assets are no longer
safe in Haiti. INL/NAS will continue to support this program
at least through 2011 and will expand training under this
program in FY2010. In the coming yar, INL/NAS (through a
combination of INCLE and ESF funds) will also support the
installation, training and maintenance of UN Office of Drugs
and Crime (UNODC) software and computer equuipment at both
UCREF and BAFE to improve the ability to proactively pursue
suspected traffickers through financial analysis and
investigations.



11. (C) Support for the Haitian Coast Guard (HCG) from the
Military Liaison Office (MLO) and NAS has enabled the HCG to
develop in spite of its limited resources. Additional boats
have been acquired and training is provided regularly,
resulting in one of the better trained units of the HNP.
INL/NAS renovation/construction of the HCG base at Cap
Haitien and on-going provision of food and fuel have allowed
the HCG to return to limited patrols of the northern coast,
the major departure point for smuggling operations of all
types of contraband and migrants. Construction of an
additional small HCG base at Port de Paix on the northwest
coast using Merida funding will further expand their reach.
However, the HCG still lacks sufficent boats with half of
their small fleet inoperable at any time. GOH commitments to
expand the HCG by the addition of 65 officers (they currently
have 105) have not yet come to fruition. If the additional
officers materialize, training and housing them will remain a
problem as the MINUSTAH Sri Lankan military contingent
currently occupy half of the HCG Killick base in Port au
Prince, including the portion containing the pool needed for
training purposes. The USG should push MINUSTAH to relocate
that contingent to allow for expansion of the HCG. With
expanded capabilities to patrol its coasts, the HCG has the
potential to become a major factor in interdiction of illegal
narcotics flowing through Haiti.



12. (C) The security component of the Haiti Stabilization
Initiative (HSI) was vital in helping the HNP maintain the
hard won stability that the Brazilian Battalion brought to
Cite Soleil starting in 2007. Construction of a new police
station in a neighborhood still considered a security risk
(although much improved over 2006) presented unique
challenges for the contractors and for NAS personnel
attempting to oversee the projects. The need for additional
security and RSO permission to visit the site were just some
of the complications encountered. The lessons learned about
such construction as well as how to introduce community
policing concepts into such long-neglected slum communities
will prove useful in any follow-on programs of this type in
other hot spot areas. The lack of sufficient numbers of HNP
assigned to the area remains an on-going concern that the USG

PORT AU PR 00000731 004.2 OF 005


will need to continue to press with the HNP DG. The success
of the HSI portion of the Haiti INL/NAS program came at a
steep price for NAS, requiring major time commitments of the
sole police advisor and the director at a time when the core
program was also expanding and the section had one advisor
position vacant for over a year. Any future such endeavors
need to build in appropriate additional NAS staffing to deal
with the increased work load without threatening to slow or
stop parts of the bilateral program.



13. (C) The prison system in Haiti remains a looming human
rights disaster. The main Men's Pentitentiary in Port au
Prince holds over 4000 detainees, in a facility built for 600
by international standards. 88 percent of those held are
still in pre-trial detention. With an abysmal conviction
rate of just three percent, chances are high that most of
those arrested will be released, but that process can take
months. Some prisoners are held for longer than their
potential sentences. The overcrowding and the frequent
release of even major felons has a negative impact on morale
throughout the HNP. Arrests in 2008 rose to 15,538 from just
6,444 in 2006 but the prison system and the courts have not
kept pace with the improved enforcement actions of the HNP.
Judicial reform is a priority for the MOJ, but it has had
virtually no impact on the prison population or the
conviction rate. The U.S. and Canada are the only donors
working in the corrections area. INL/NAS recently completed
the construction of an isolation ward and renovation of the
infirmary in the men's penitentiary but bandaid measures are
almost futile under such conditions. INL/NAS plans to
construct a new women's prison have been stalled for over a
year as the GOH has not identified the final site for
construction. NAS believes they may finally be close to a
decision, using one of the properties forfeited by a
convicted drug trafficker. However, realistically speaking,
improvements in the prison system will not truly happen until
the judicial system is fixed so that cases are promptly and
appropriately adjudicated. Given the prison system's status
as a poor stepchild of the HNP, major improvements will not
happen until the GOH demonstrates political will to address
the issue.



--------------------------



--------------------------


Drug Trafficking - the 800 pound gorilla in the room


--------------------------



--------------------------





14. (C) President Preval has repeatedly publicly listed the
fight against drug trafficking as one of his top priorities,
along with combating corruption. INL/NAS, DEA and MLO all
support programs or operations designed to interdict or
improve the HNP ability to interdict narcotics being
trafficked through Haiti. Haiti is on the Majors List
annually as a transit country, a status that they deplore,
blame on U.S. demand and yet do not agreessively address
internally. Clandestine air flights into Haiti are
increasing and maritime drops also continue, often with
Jamaican 'guns for ganga' ties. To date, Haiti has not had
much of a problem with domestic substance abuse (mostly some
marijuana) but anecdotal evidence indicates that is changing.
Failure to address growing domestic demand and abuse may
allow such problems to get out of control before the GOH
takes serious notice. INL/NAS and DEA support the Special
Investigative Unit (SIU) and the counternarcotics unit (BLTS)
as well as the BAFE as stated above. However, with just 45
officers assigned to the BLTS, all based in Port au Prince,
and lacking such basic resources as vehicles, they are losing
the fight against the drug traffickers who are infinitely
better equipped to do their business. Corruption plays a big
role in the drug trade as well, with almost all loads
interdicted being escorted or transported by HNP officers.
The corruption entends into the prosecutors and judges
offices as well. The only way to possibly make a dent in
that trade is to expand the BLTS with vetted officers and
base them on the Southern and Northern coasts as well as in
the capital. Left unchecked, the accompanying corruption and
erosion of societal norms threaten political stability.
Suspected drug traffickers already serve in Parliament,
enjoying immunity from prosecution. A major fugitive wanted

PORT AU PR 00000731 005.2 OF 005


for cocaine smuggling in the U.S. also tried to run in recent
Senate elections but was disqualified on other grounds. One
of his goals in seeking election was precisely to gain
immunity. Corruption within the HNP ranks also appears to be
at the root of why several operations to arrest him have
failed. With the expansion of the BLTS, the USG will need to
step up to help provide the needed equipment and
infrastructure to allow them to effectively operate in more
than one location simultaneously. Discussions of basing
helicopters in Haiti to assist in the interdiction effort are
premature and need to be adapted to Haitian reality and timed
accordingly to be of greatest effectiveness. With no HNP air
capability and limited personnel, a more productive and
cost-effective approach would be to provide support by
helicopters based elsewhere and deployed in support of
specific operations coordinated through Embassy colleagues in
country.



--------------------------


So what's next?


--------------------------





15. (C) Comment: Haiti is on the cusp of taking up a bigger
role in the Caribbean region. However, the nations in the
region also need to be encouraged to invite Haiti to
participate and to develop stronger bilateral and regional
links. The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative has the
potential to provide an excellent platform for moving such
regional integration forward. In addition, it is imperative
that Haiti and the Dominican Republic be considered jointly
when dealing with such issues as drug trafficking. NASs in
Haiti and in the DR have already collaborated on a joint
cross border training program under Merida to improve
communication and cooperation at the major border crossing
points. A Hispaniola approach is needed to truly stop drug
transit through the island as well as to combat other
transnational crimes.



16. (C) In spite of the problems mentioned above, the USG,
including all parts of State, needs to recognize that the HNP
has made progress, that the USG has reliable partners in
parts of and in the upper command structure of the
organization and that the HNP today is a professional
national police force that is moving toward controlling its
national territory. State should encourage all USG entities
to deal with Haiti as the sovereign nation it is, recognizing
the realities on the ground. Donors can no longer impose
their plans on the GOH but must engage them as partners.
Haiti must be dealt with as it exists, not as the
stereoypical image of the past. Some USG entities, for
example, base their interactions (or lack thereof) with Haiti
on dated security assessments from 2006 or 2007. Haiti of
2009 is not the Haiti of even two years ago and continued
progress can be achieved by building on their strengths while
applying pressure to improve their weaknesses. The expansion
and success of the INL/NAS program in the past two years is
proof that this can happen and much can be achieved in spite
of the difficult challenges and circumstances that may exist.

TIGHE