Statement from Vice Chancellor of The UWI: The assassination of President Jovenel Moïse of Haiti

Sir Hilary Beckles

 

The assassination of President Moïse of Haiti is the latest dramatic reflection of the culture of murderous political violence that has typified the colonisation of the Caribbean, and whose legacy continues to speak to the devalued worth of black life especially in our hemisphere.

For the people of Haiti and the wider Caribbean region who have politically united for mutual survival with dignity under the banner of CARICOM, this blunt and brutal execution of the democratically elected Head of State foregrounds the historic savagery long fought against in our region’s struggle to forge a humane and sophisticated post-colonial Caribbean civilisation.

Political murder and social mayhem have long been the management tools used to maintain the misery and marginalisation of the Caribbean as it marches inexorably to the rendezvous of democracy as a freedom victory.

No country in the modern world has paid as great a human and material price as Haiti in seeking to convert its rubble of bloody imperial domination into a viable democratic nation state. In this regard, the murder of Moïse is the latest in a legacy that includes political leaders such as Walter Rodney and Maurice Bishop.

His political execution reflects but an element in the internal political gridlock many Caribbean societies face in their effort to detach from the colonial scaffold with its endemic thirst for violence, and advance to a peaceful domestic democratic idealism. The University of the West Indies is dedicated to this process and transition and mourns the lost life of President Moïse.

I recall the intellectual elegance and charismatic charm of his chairmanship of the Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM in Port-au-Prince in February 2018 when he made this statement:

“I am not a graduate of The University of the West Indies, but I am an academic product of it. As a student here in Haiti, I was raised on the scholarly output of the great University of the West Indies and I have an affinity for it.”

May his soul return in peace and its passage serve as a light to lead us out of this darkness.

Our prayers are with Mrs. Moïse as she continues her fight to live.

 

About Professor Sir Hilary Beckles

Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, 8th Vice-Chancellor of The University of the West Indies, is a distinguished academic, international thought leader, United Nations committee official, and global public activist in the field of social justice and minority empowerment. Vice-Chancellor Beckles’ complete bio can be accessed here.

 

About The UWI

The UWI has been and continues to be a pivotal force in every aspect of Caribbean development; residing at the centre of all efforts to improve the well-being of people across the region.

From a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948, The UWI is today an internationally respected, global university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and its Open Campus, and 10 global centres in partnership with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Culture, Creative and Performing Arts, Food and Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities and Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Social Sciences, and Sport. As the Caribbean’s leading university, it possesses the largest pool of Caribbean intellect and expertise committed to confronting the critical issues of our region and wider world.

Ranked among the top universities in the world, by the most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education, The UWI is the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists. In 2020, it earned ‘Triple 1st’ rankings—topping the Caribbean; and in the top in the tables for Latin America and the Caribbean, and global Golden Age universities (between 50 and 80 years old).  The UWI is also featured among the top universities on THE’s Impact Rankings for its response to the world’s biggest concerns, outlined in the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Good Health and Wellbeing; Gender Equality and Climate Action.

 

For more, visit www.uwi.edu.

 

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)

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12 Comments

  1. Danaron
    July 15, 2021

    The assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Möise and injuring his wife, First Lady Martine Möise, are abhorrent acts which have no support in modern society. This must be condemned, and the perpetrators must be brought to justice. HOWEVER Möise has governed Haiti by decree for over a year WITHOUT an elected parliament. He was accountable to no one.. There is no real accountability for any political leader deviating from democratic norms and abusing the powers of office to suppress basic freedoms. The Haitian president’s assassination should be a wake-up call for Caribbean leaders to re-examine CARICOM’s role in the region. Caribbean leaders will feign surprise and say such acts have no place in the Caribbean. They will not say anything about the dangers of creeping autocratic rule in the region, the lack of democracy and rule of law, and corrupt governance. READ CURTIS WARD article.

  2. Kerry
    July 15, 2021

    What a load of absolute nonsense, the assassination had absolutely nothing to do with colonialism…!!!

    • Smoke Mirrors
      July 15, 2021

      That’s what you think. Colonialism has everything to do with Haiti, even more so, and especially Haiti. Just follow the chronology.

      • VereTere
        July 16, 2021

        Never mind colonialism, the present set of politicians is far worse and ten times more poisonous to our countries than colonialism has ever been. Worse even, since colonialism was sooo bad, why have these new leaders not learned from the mistakes but rather added a new dimension of endless corruption.

        • Smoke Mirrors
          July 17, 2021

          I know, it’s ruff.
          It would be for the common good to recycle your government at 10 – 15 yr intervals, shorter for poor performance and/or corrupt individuals, well bear in mind, though we would all benefit you are asking that of population that is politically semi-iliterate.

  3. Ibo France
    July 14, 2021

    Mr. Hilary Beckles, colonization has done untold damage to our people, no doubt about that. The problem I have with demagogues like you is that you completely ignore or you deliberately gloss over the pain, hardship and impoverishment our own ‘black leaders inflict on us. It so convenient to resort to blame Mr. Moise untimely demise on the colonial masters instead of doing some introspection.

    What is plaguing the Caribbean and more specifically Haiti are corruption, insatiable greed, selfishness, lack of empathy and vision, wickedness, nepotism, cronyism by the ‘self-made’ oligarchs in power. We replace the White Plantation owners with our own. What we have in the Caribbean parading as DEMOCRACY is Plantation Politics.

    Up to this moment not one CARICOM ‘leader’ has condemned Mr. Moise for subverting all democracy in Haiti. When ordinary Haitians protested, the police and army used live bullets to silence them. Many were sent to an early grave. Where was the outcry?

  4. Jonathan Y St Jean
    July 14, 2021

    Once again the pie in the sky from our regional luminaries. Talk is very cheap. The man makes it sound like the Haitian people have no blame to bear for the state of affairs they have been in since getting rid of Papa and Baby Doc. When will the rest of the region come together and channel their big brains to help carve out a real meaningful solution with the Haitians. To equate Moise with Maurice Bishop and Walter Rodney makes little sense. Moise head got too big because Trump invited him to a conference. Look, the judiciary, the religious and other civil society asked Moise to do the right thing but instead the dictator wannabe chose his own path of rulling by decree. How much political capital did Moise have among the rest of the people in the region? Hardly any. Walter Rodney and Maurice Bishop were well liked and respected among the masses. Let the killing of Moise be a warning to other dictator wannabe types in the region.

    • KID ON THE BLOCK
      July 15, 2021

      Jonathan, Very good observation made by you!” Walter Rodney and Maurice Bishop were WELL LIKED and RESPECTED among the MASSES,” in the region.
      Doesn’t that ring a BIG BELL in your ear and head?
      The killing of Moise was driven by greed, hate, deception and POWER HUNGRY (individual/s).
      You spoke of the action but did not made mention of the reaction. Who is it that are now paying the consequences for their action (the killing)? Do you know? I’m sure you do.

  5. %
    July 14, 2021

    Mr Beckles what i have learnt from the assassination of Jovenel Moise is that political office should never be something to be held on to at all cost..This office should be transient…From all accounts Moise seem to have been on a dictatorship path like many of his predecessors, he had his own gangs that terrorised, imprisoned and killed his political opponents, he lived in opulence while the majority starved…He wanted to rewrite the constitution to do what he wanted. He bothered very little with the killings, kidnappings and crime in Haiti. Several schools had to be closed, children and parents were traumatised….Sad he had to go this way, but it’s a lesson to those who want to follow his footsteps.
    I thought you would have warned budding dictators in CARICOM to learn from this experience…You didnt, and that is SAD!!!

    • Ibo France
      July 14, 2021

      Excellent commentary %. Every one crawling from under their stones and expressing their condemnation of what was done to Mr. Moise. To this day, not one of the Caribbean leaders nor scholar, has condemned this man for using the Haitian armed forces for killing many Haitians who were just protesting for better living standards not even close to one like his.

      I’m not glad that he went in that manner but I wouldn’t shed one drop of tear for him. My heart weeps for the many ordinary Haitians who died by live bullets , severe beatings and torture under his watch.

  6. Sad Caribbean
    July 14, 2021

    Look it, all of a sudden they all crawl out from beneath their rock and give us their comments. Before doing so they of course had to ask first permission from their political masters. Hence the delay in their commenting.

    • Annon
      July 14, 2021

      I wish they drop the “sir” part, but whatever your beef it’s not the messenger, it’s the message.

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