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Police officers kill his son. The Haitian State pays one million gourdes.


Bernard Odne’s family continues to demand justice for their son killed in October 2023 by police officers

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Emmanuel Sainte-Hélène was still in bed when neighbors informed him that his son, Bernard Odne, had been hit by two projectiles from the “Dos à dos” (back-to-back) patrol, which came to disperse a demonstration in Camp-Perrin on October 14, 2023.

According to six witnesses, Odne, aged 32, was hit by a rubber bullet in the back, while another, quite real, passed through his liver. He succumbed to his injuries a few hours later in a hospital in Les Cayes.

After the news of Odne’s death, two demonstrators who were arrested by the police were quickly released without any form of trial, one of the people released reported to AyiboPost.

“The prime minister gave us a million gourdes and I received this money from the departmental delegate Ketnor Estainvil,” Fenicile Massius, the mayor of Camp-Perrin, reveals to AyiboPost.

According to the councilor, “we gave 900,000 gourdes to the family and 100,000 gourdes to the motorcycle drivers” whose vehicles were damaged by the police during the demonstration.

The prime minister gave us a million gourdes and I received this money from the departmental delegate Ketnor Estainvil.

Ketnor Estainvil could not be reached, but Jorice Oremil, leader of the organization responsible for the “Aksyon Pou Sove Lavi” demonstration, confirmed the distribution of the money for AyiboPost. According to the lawyer and university professor, the payment of the sum as well as the flash releases represent “maneuvers to suppress the case.”

In Camp-Perrin, the family continues to demand justice. A complaint was filed against the “Dos à dos” backup police officers. Often, according to testimonies, this backup accompanies the Government Commissioner of Les Cayes, Me Ronald Richemond.

Oremil explains to AyiboPost that he was threatened by the Commissioner. The latter could not be reached by telephone before publication.

The demonstration on October 14, 2023 focused on the persistent electricity problem in the town of Camp-Perrin. Since theAugust 14, 2021 earthquake, the Saut-Mathurine hydroelectric plant which supplies the area has stopped operating.

Read also: Photos témoins de la fureur du séisme du 14 août dans le grand Sud

Very early on October 14, protesters blocked the national road which connects the South and Grand’Anse with tree trunks.

The blockade created a long line of cars, in a single file line, waiting for a possible reopening of the road.

After the news of Odne’s death, two demonstrators arrested by the police were quickly released, without any form of trial.

Around six o’clock, the police backup dubbed « Dos à dos » by the population appeared with hooded police officers, according to Jameson Cherestal, a protester present on the scene. 

“Without saying anything, the police threw tear gas and used their weapons,” Cherestal continued.

This intervention led to the dispersal of protesters through cars, buses, trucks, and vans.

Returning from his feverish father’s bedside that day, Bernard Odne was heading towards his small lottery bank (bank borlette) called « Excellence » when the stampede began, his mother and another witness told AyiboPost.

The small lottery sales bank of Odne

“The crowd dissipated, the police officers asked Odne to unblock the road,” testifies Delice Mardoché, another protester, who witnessed the scene and was arrested the same day by the police.

According to Mordoché, Odne told the police that he could not lift the large stones and tree trunks alone. “They hit him several times and he started running,” the protester continues.

It was at this moment that the police fired in the direction of the young man, declared Mardoché, who was, according to him, “caught by the collar, slapped and severely beaten” by the police.

According to six witnesses, Odne, aged 32, was hit by a rubber bullet in the back, while another, quite real, passed through his liver.

These facts pushed the population to block the stretch of road for several days, declares Geffrard Yvon, a community development agent, who was also hit by a rubber projectile on October 14.

Since then, technicians mandated by the State have been working to restart the hydroelectric plant, which has helped to calm the situation in Camp-Perrin.

Inaugurated in 1983 with a capacity of 1.6 megawatts, the plant is equipped with three turbines, but only one is in working order.

For their part, Bernard Odne’s family continues to cry for help. He was “my arm”, Emmanuel Sainte-Hélène tells AyiboPost, from his house made entirely of sheet metal which is crumbling under rust. He “was everything to us,” continues Sainte-Hélène, lamenting between sobs: “I lost everything.“

The house of Odne’s mother.

By Jabin Phontus

English translation by Sarah Jean.

Cover Image : PNH agents hard at work, dedicated to securing carnival-goers at Champs-de-Mars on February 12, 2024. | © Jean Feguens Regala/AyiboPost

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Basé aux Cayes, Jabin Phontus est contributeur à AyiboPost depuis octobre 2023.