Arrest of Brandt for kidnapping explodes myths

Police Chief Orélus seeks to remove “bad seeds” on force
by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)
On Oct. 22, the Haitian National
Police (PNH) arrested Clifford Brandt, the scion of a prominent Haitian
bourgeois family, on charges of leading a kidnapping ring which includes other
wealthy Haitians as well as policemen and former policemen. The ring allegedly
kidnapped Coralie and Nicolas Moscoso, aged 23 and 24 respectively, the
children of another bourgeois family, for a ransom of $2.5 million. Brandt led
the police to the two bound and blindfolded abductees in a house in the Pernier
section of the capital. The Moscoso kids were then freed.

welcomed the news of Brandt’s arrest as vindication that poor Haitians are not
behind the country’s frequent kidnappings, as the media and officialdom often
state or intimate. Brandt’s ring suggests the culprits are more likely rich and
powerful Haitians.
week, Haïti Liberté published a cover
picture of Clifford Brandt, sharply dressed in a white shirt and blue blazer,
staring at his handcuffs. The issue sold out within a day in more than one
is now reported that Brandt, who owned and ran a struggling car dealership in
Delmas 2, has given Haitian authorities the names of over 20 Haitian police
officers who were a part of his kidnapping ring.
            Haïti Liberté asked the PNH’s Director
General Godson Orélus about police involvement in Haiti’s kidnappings in an
interview in September (see the first installment of the interview in this
week’s Kreyòl section).
can tell you there are false policemen,” Orélus responded. “It is a tactic they
use. They pretend to be policemen, but they are not policemen.”
did admit, however, that sometimes “when we investigate, we find there is
complicity” with Haitian policemen. “But when we find a case of that, there is
zero tolerance because we don’t permit that in the police,” Orélus added. “We
have a program to continue removing the bad seeds [from the police], because
there is no family without bad seeds.”
the policemen now being held as accomplices of Brandt are Thébée “Febe”
Marc-Arthur, the commander of the Presidential Security’s CAT (anti-ambush)
Team, Jacques Darly, an officer with the PNH’s Criminal Affairs Brigade, and
Frantz Aristil, Chief of the Port-au-Prince police station.
is a former police inspector, Edner Comé, who is presently being sought,” said
Reginald Delva, the state secretary for Public Security. “I allow myself to
give his name because he is an extremely dangerous individual.”
have sealed four houses and seized two vehicles, 13 firearms (including six
automatic weapons), and a large quantity of ammunition and police supplies.
They also have arrested nine people, put four police officers in isolation, and
are pursuing many other suspects.
don’t tolerate it,” Orélus added. “When we find an officer involved in those
activities, we arrest him the same as we arrest the bandits, and we put them
all in the same jail.”
Director Orélus may also have been working under the assumption that the
kidnappers were from the poorer classes rather than the richer.
the population does not trust you,” Orélus told Haïti Liberté in September, “you will not get any information” on
kidnappers because “the kidnappers live in the midst of the population, among
the people.”
arrest of the Brandt ring seems to belie this notion of kidnappers living
“among the people.” Haiti’s bourgeoisie lives in splendid walled mansions built
in the cool mountains heights above the capital city of Port-au-Prince. They
generally do not mix with or live among the other 99% of the Haitian people.

Clifford Brandt, a wealthy car dealer, is charged with leading a
kidnapping ring made up of policemen, ex-policemen, and other members of
Haiti’s tiny bourgeoisie.

Police found Nicolas (front) and Coralie Moscoso bound and blindfolded
in a house in Pernier, where they were being held for a ransom of $2.5 million.