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It's Time for Haiti to Treat All Kidnappers the Same, Regardless of Social origin, wealth, or poverty

November 2, 2012


It's easy to assume that the heinous crime of kidnapping must come from the underground, the poor sections of the country, from desperate individuals looking for a quick way to make money. However, the recent arrest of Clifford Brandt, the son of one of Haiti's richest families, highlights that for too long now, the wealthiest elite have been as responsible for crimes against its people as any other group.

Keep in mind that although he has reportedly admitted his role in the kidnapping of Coralie and Nicolas Moscoso, he is still presumed innocence until proven guilty in a court of law.

However, this case highlights the importance of remaining vigilant when traveling throughout Haiti, especially in Port-au-Prince. While most kidnappings in other countries such as the United States tend to be personal in nature (family), in Haiti, most are committed with criminal intent. Many kidnapped victims reported being abused, raped, and beaten by their captors and many kidnappers in the region focus on children.

Citizens throughout Haiti and those traveling to this fine country would do well to realize that this crime does not discriminate based on wealth and is being carried out by some of the most powerful and wealthy individuals in the country. Remaining naïve in this regard, or refusing the believe that some officials within the government or high ranking police officers are not involved in any way is turning a blind eye to a larger problem.

It is imperative that we, as a people, need to stand up to the tyranny that is forced upon us as these wealthy individuals seek to attain even more wealth at the expense of the poverty stricken who can least afford to endure these crimes. An ave-rage of 5 people every week are kidnapped in Haiti right now.

The Brandt family is believed to have been partly responsible for the 1991 coup, which ousted Haiti's first democratically elected president, and has vested interests in numerous industries. With the arrest of Clifford Brandt, it will be interesting to see just how far their involvement, if any, extends into this kidnapping enterprise. It will also be interesting to learn how much prison time, if any, Clifford Brandt will receive upon a guilty verdict, as most individuals from poor neighborhoods receive ma-ximum sentences for similar crimes while the wealthy tend to never have full charges levied.

The Brandt family can certainly afford to buy freedom for their son, but we believe in our great nation and ride on the hope that he and other accomplices, including high ranking police officers, will finally be brought to justice. There is no room in civilized society for crimes of this nature. This is an opportunity for Haiti's justice system to take a stand and judge Clifford Brandt and those like him in the same manner, with the same punishment, as anyone from poor neighborhoods.

Dessalines Ferdinand

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