Hilaire Prophete, Spokesman for Pa Ka Tann Operation (OPK), reiterates the demands for the reinstatement of former public administration employees, thousands of who were laid off for political reasons by the Interim government of Gerald Latortue (2004-2006).
The Latortue government worked closely with IMF and World Bank bureaucrats to lay off workers hired under the Aristide government, which drastically hurt the ability of the Haitian state to provide the limited services it had prior. Many of the laid off workers supported the constitutional government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide (2001-2004) and were placed on arbitrary police wanted lists following the foreign financed overthrow of democracy in Haiti (Feb 29, 2004). Numerous of these workers and trade unionists remain in jail today without being charged. In recent weeks numerous persecuted civil servants have mounted protests and marches in Haiti.
Prophete reminds listeners that the Pa Ka tann Operation stands for peace and calls for the return of exiles, for actions to be taken to deal with the high cost of living, and the reintegration of former Lavalas employees into the public administration.
Prophete in a recent radio interview in Haiti explained, "We want [Prime Minister Alexis] to know that this government is our government. We are not opponents of the government, but we have specific demands on issues concerning the dismissed Lavalas employees, political exiles, the high cost of living and the issue concerning all former Lavalas employees...[OPK] is a completely peaceful structure. And this is the reason why we condemn all the reprehensible acts and criminal acts that are being committed against the people in the West Department. We want to say again, the OPK is a peaceful and non-violent movement...."
Prophete goes on to explain that "all former employees of Teleco [Telecommunications of Haiti], the International Airport, and ONA [National Old Age Insurance Company] are not asking the government for any favor. This government is our government. We want to make it clear that we were the ones who fought to establish this government. We have clear and specific demands. We want the reinstatement of all former Lavalas state employees in public administration, because they are mothers and fathers with families and responsibilities...First, we want the reinstatement of all former Lavalas employees. Second, we want the release of all political prisoners in general. Third, the return of all political exiles, especially Jean-Bertrand Aristide..."