Cablegate: Haitian National Police - Status Report and Action Request

Published: Sat 6 Feb 2010 09:57 PM
DE RUEHPU #0132/01 0372158
O R 062157Z FEB 10
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Haitian National Police - Status Report and Action Request
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Three weeks after the devastating January
12 earthquake, and despite the loss of its headquarters building,
commissariats, personnel, and equipment, the Haitian National
Police (HNP) remains the most visible government institution in
Haiti, and continues to provide a reassuring presence on the
streets of Port-au-Prince. The HNP have still not accounted for
471 officers, have confirmed 71 are dead, and are unable to account
for numbers injured. Distribution of HNP pay checks for January
began on February 4, but has only reached a small fraction of
personnel to date. In order to meet strategic HNP
institution-building goals, NAS requests assistance for repairs to
the National Police Academy; see paragraph 14. END SUMMARY.
2. (SBU) NAS met with HNP Director General Mario Andresol and
a number of his key staff on February 3 to discuss the current
operational status of the HNP. As of February 4, 471 HNP officers
remain missing and 71 are confirmed dead (64 HNP and 7 corrections
officers). An unknown number of officers are also injured.
Despite this, a post-earthquake record of 4,235 police officers
reported to duty in Port-au-Prince on February 3. Andresol
identified the payment of salaries and the provision of food,
water, and shelter as key to ensuring that the HNP retains policing
capability. NAS would add fuel for generators and vehicles to this
list, and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti
(MINUSTAH) has coordinated donors for these necessities.
Food, Water, and Shelter
3. (U) NAS began daily delivery on January 21 of 5,000 Meals
Ready to Eat (MREs), donated to the HNP on a non-reimbursable basis
by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) under their humanitarian
assistance mission. Until January 29, DOD also donated 1,000
bottles of water per day. NAS is working with the HNP to source
water trucks to provide bulk water.
4. (SBU) Shelter for displaced families of HNP personnel
remains an ongoing concern. An additional 600 tents are required
to house HNP officers and their families. MINUSTAH informed NAS on
February 4 that it has a written commitment from a donor to provide
the required number of tents, but has not yet confirmed the
delivery date. Andresol noted that many HNP officers and families
in the hard-hit southern cities of Leogane, Petit Goave, Grand
Goave, and the Southwest Department remain without shelter. Should
MINUSTAH fail to deliver the required tents, NAS may need to assist
the HNP with shelter before the rainy season begins in March.
Salary Payments
5. (SBU) Andresol told NAS that the HNP received payroll
checks from the Government of Haiti (GOH) on February 2. The
distribution of paychecks began on the evening of February 4, but
checks have only been issued to a limited number of personnel to
date. Andresol stated that distribution is being carefully
coordinated, and will serve to create a final tally of the numbers
of HNP still active, deceased, missing, and injured.
6. (SBU) Rumors that the GOH lacks sufficient funds for the
payroll have begun circulating among the HNP rank-and-file,
particularly given the delay between the February 2 delivery of the
checks and the failure to distribute the checks in a rapid and
timely manner. However, as of February 5, there are no confirmed
reports that any HNP personnel have been unable to cash their
checks. In addition, the GOH has confirmed to post that it has
sufficient funds to cover the January payroll, but it remains
unclear whether the GOH has sufficient funds to pay salaries for
February and subsequent months. NAS will continue to monitor the
salary payments in close coordination with the HNP and the Ministry
of Justice.
Communications Network
7. (SBU) The HNP's main communications control center was
destroyed in the collapse of the Presidential Palace. The HNP is
currently working to locate space to replace the control center.
In addition, the HNP's two main communications relay stations were
damaged in the earthquake. The relay point on Boutilier mountain
was repaired soon after the earthquake by a Motorola technical
team. During a January 30 mission supported by the U.S. Coast
Guard (USCG) to the other main relay station, on Ile de la Gonave,
technicians from the HNP and the US Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) discovered that the power supply to the relay
station was not operational.
8. (SBU) On February 5, USCG volunteered rotary airlift to
move equipment (generators and other power supply equipment) and
fuel out to La Gonave island. The plan to restore the la Gonave
relay point was carefully coordinated with the HNP's communications
technicians, a NAS PAE IT contract technician, the FCC, Motorola,
local telecommunications companies, and the USCG. The mission
successfully restored power to this key relay point to seven
Departments, including those in the Southern Claw. NAS is working
closely with the HNP as they continue to identify individual
stations or other points in the network in need of repairs.
9. (SBU) NAS has an ongoing HNP communications project to
expand the HNP network. Prior to the earthquake, seventy-eight
rural commissaries were outfitted with low-maintenance
communications equipment geared for Haiti's limited infrastructure.
NAS has provided solar power systems, base station radios,
repeaters, Marine radios, and hand-held radios. Following the
earthquake the HNP relied, and are still relying, on radio
communications as both the cell and land line networks were not
functional. (NOTE: NAS is aware that many other donors have plans
to help the HNP with its communications network, but cautions that
uncoordinated donations will result in a network that might have
compatibility issues or equipment that the HNP may not be able to
maintain. END NOTE.)
National Police Academy
10. (U) According to Andresol, the resumption of new recruit
training at the National Police Academy remains one of the HNP's
top priorities. By bringing in new recruits, the HNP will be able
to project a sense of institutional stability and normalcy, both to
HNP personnel and to the general population. Andresol's goal is to
bring in the next class of recruits by the end of February. This
will help ensure that the HNP stays on track to meet its goal, as
agreed upon with the United Nations, of 14,000 police officers by
2011. HNP's goal is to bring in a class of 800-1000 recruits for
its 22nd class. Andresol confirmed that some 300 of these will
become corrections officers. The HNP held a roll call on February
5 in order to determine how many recruits from the 1,046 person
list established before the earthquake are still available. While
the HNP is still verifying the list, over 800 were reconfirmed and
deemed eligible to date. (NOTE: In December the HNP did not have
sufficient funds for a new class, as their budget had been
straight-lined for 2010. It is unclear how they intend to pay the
salaries of these new police. END NOTE.)
11. (U) Before training can resume, significant structural
repairs are required at the National Police Academy's facilities.
The Academy's exterior wall sustained severe damage in the
earthquake. NAS is exploring several options to repair the wall,
as well as structural damage to the Academy's main gathering
pavilion and chapel. As of February 5, it appears the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers will be unable to assist the HNP with these
repairs, as its mission is strictly limited to humanitarian
12. (SBU) According to MINUSTAH, three HNP Academy instructors
were killed in the earthquake, and 18 were injured, leaving 60 of
the original 81 instructors available for the next training class.
MINUSTAH also reminded NAS of the need to complete remaining work
on the PAE-constructed barracks.
13. (SBU) Both Andresol and MINUSTAH continue to cite the lack of
weapons, ammunition, and firearms training as a major capability
gap. Due to a lack of firearms and ammunition, the 1,200 graduates
from the last two Academy classes did not receive firearms training
and were not issued a firearm upon graduation. The HNP plans to
begin firearms training with these officers on February 8, using
weapons and ammunition both purchased by the GOH and donated by
14. (U) ACTION REQUESTS: NAS requests as a high priority that INL
add task orders to the PAE contract for the National Police
Academy, both to complete the instructors' barracks, and to
complete engineering assessments and a scope of work in order to
rebuild/repair the wall, main gathering pavilion, and chapel. In
addition, NAS requests that INL prepare for expedited procurement
of uniforms, personal training gear, and other training items for
the 22nd class as soon as the names and numbers of students are
known. NAS also requests INL and L's final determination as to
whether FY10 INCLE funds may now be used for the procurement of
weapons and ammunition, given the folding of certain ACP
authorities and exemptions into INCLE with the merger of the two
15. (SBU) COMMENT: Regular access to food, water, and shelter
remain critical to maintaining the HNP's policing capability. NAS
assesses that HNP personnel will continue to report for duty as
long as these basic life support functions are maintained.
However, the HNP rank-and-file may soon become restive if the GOH
is unable to distribute pay checks for coming months in a timely
fashion. In addition, should there be insufficient funds for
future salary payments, the loyalty of the police to current
commanders could erode. END COMMENT.
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