What Lies Behind the Arrest of Martelly-Confidant Jojo Lorquet?

Was he previously involved in money laundering with Martelly? Is this
the beginning of a larger round-up and more revelations?
by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)
Outlandish television host Joseph
“Jojo” Lorquet is one of the Haitian president’s closest friends and was a New
York promoter who booked “Sweet Micky,” the chief of state’s former musical
stage persona, in cities around the U.S. for almost two decades.
is closer to Michel Martelly than Jojo Lorquet,” Lorquet told Haïti Liberté in a Brooklyn restaurant
in December, shortly before he returned to Haiti to work in the Haitian First
Lady Sofia St. Rémy Martelly’s Aba
program, a supposed anti-hunger campaign. “Anything he’s going to
do, I’m the first to know.”
today Lorquet sits in a jail cell in the Canapé Vert police station in
Port-au-Prince, charged with selling forged Haitian government badges for as
much as $1,500 each. Also implicated in the falsified ID scam is another
Haitian media figure, journalist and radio host Konpè Mòlòskòt (Ernest
Laventure Edouard), who was posing as the General Coordinator of the Customs
and distributing fake badges to supposed employees, according to Radio Kiskeya.
However, Government Prosecutor Lucman Délille told Kiskeya that Mòlòskòt was no
longer employed by the Customs, his contract as a Communication Advisor for the
agency having not been renewed when it expired on Sep. 30, 2012. It is unclear
from conflicting reports whether Mòlòskòt is in police custody. Police sources
reached by Haïti Liberté also did not
investigating judge arrested Lorquet on Jun. 29, according to a family member.
According to Scoop FM’s Gary Pierre-Paul Charles, the police also arrested
President Martelly’s chauffeur.
to a source close to the Martelly family who wants to remain anonymous, Lorquet
and Martelly both worked as “mules” in the early 1990s carrying money for
Charles “Bébé” St. Rémy, Martelly’s father-in-law, who allegedly worked with
convicted drug kingpin Jean Eliobert Jasmé, also known as ED-1 or Eddy One.
and Martelly, according to the source, would allegedly take the money obtained
from cocaine sales to the home of Marjory Pierre-Louis, Eliobert’s girlfriend,
who had a house on Summit Boulevard in West Palm Beach in Florida. (The source
claimed not to know if Lorquet or Martelly had any role in smuggling or selling
the drugs.) At Marjory Pierre-Louis’ house, the money would be wrapped in
aluminum foil (to thwart x-rays) and then transported in suitcases back to
Haiti by Marjory’s brother, Mozart Pierre-Louis.
Lorquet and Michel Martelly would bring money to the house on Summit Boulevard,
and then Mozart would wrap it in aluminum foil and carry it to Haiti in a suitcase,”
the source told Haïti Liberté, which
has been unable to contact Marjory Pierre-Louis, despite repeated attempts, to
confirm the story.
relationship between Lorquet and Martelly became so close, both in konpa music and possibly in money-laundering,
that Lorquet says his child even called Martelly “Uncle Micky.” But the two had
a very public falling-out after Martelly became president in a controversial
and illegal election on Mar. 20, 2011.
his cable television program, Exit Entertainment, Lorquet called Martelly the
“first Judas” who had “gone on the radio to lie about me.” As he became more
and more agitated, Lorquet called Martelly “a true scoundrel, a true thief, a
liar, a shameless person.”
are a ‘has-been’,” Lorquet declared to Martelly. “That’s your life:
manipulating people.”
the two apparently had a reconciliation at some point during 2012. In a
September 2012 television show, Lorquet heavily praised Sofia Martelly’s Aba Grangou (Down with Hunger) program,
paid for with money from the sale of Venezuelan oil under the PetroCaribe plan,
as “a program which is helping to develop Haiti.”
said the program “gives people food to make sure that they eat each day and it
sells them potable water.” He declared that “we are not political, but we deal
with our dear Haiti where work is being done. We must applaud that work.” Many
criticize Aba Grangou as a purely
demagogic and token program, laced with corruption. Senator Moïse Jean-Charles
claims the agency doesn’t even have an office or an address.
months later, Lorquet was working for Aba
, distributing food in Cité Soleil and other Port-au-Prince slums.
would see him at noon giving food out of a car to a line of people near the
airport,” said Giroboam “Geronimo” Raphael, a New York-based Haitian record
producer who helped make “Sweet Micky” a popular act. “I was at the president’s
house about two months ago, and I saw Jojo there. I don’t know what his title
was. He may have just been there as a friend, but he was there all day, from 11
am to 6 pm. I kept asking myself how did he get to that level of access?”
it seems that Lorquet was pretending to have more power than he actually did,
or abusing what he had. He is now charged with “usurping a title” and with
forging official badges and trafficking in arms.
was in Haiti two months ago and heard rumblings of some things that Lorquet was
up to,” wrote Garry Pierre-Pierre of the Haitian Times this week. “I was
troubled on many fronts because of his close relationship with the president…
Some unsavory characters are part of the entourage, but in most cases, these
people are kept at a long distance from the center of power so that the
president can honestly deny anything untoward that happens.”
the Jojo Lorquet case, that will be difficult,” Pierre-Pierre continues. “All
you have to do is look in the background of President Martelly’s entourage, and
you see some of these people. They hold no official position but they’re driven
around with security details made up of police officers. Since his inauguration
two years ago, Martelly has yet to meet with Obama during his trips to the UN
[General] Assembly and other hemispheric heads of state conferences. Martelly
has not received an invitation to Washington for a sit-down with his American
counterpart as had his predecessors. We need to ask ourselves why.”
seems likely that Washington is aware of Martelly’s checkered past and question
whether it is really behind him.
was visiting the States a couple of weeks ago, but was warned by Gamal
Augustin, Assistant Director of RTNH, not to return to Haiti because he would
get arrested,” reported the website Haitianbeatz.com. “Jojo ignored this
warning and was detained upon his arrival at the airport in Haiti.”
news of Lorquet’s arrest began to spread, Haitian radios also began to report
on Jul. 2 that Investigating Judge Maximin Pierre arrested a man named Sherlton
Sanon as the would-be triggerman in a plot to assassinate Deputies  Levaillant Louis Jeune and Sorel Jacinthe.
The author of the plot? Former Senator Joseph Lambert, a close advisor to
President Martelly. Lambert is now also under investigation and risks arrest.
his arrest, Sanon denounced “a network of criminals composed of businessmen and
policemen, current judges and parliamentarians specializing in
drug-trafficking, kidnapping, and murder,” reported ToutHaiti.com. “He above
all singled out Senator Edwin Zenny (Edo Zenny),” who is another very close
associate of President Michel Martelly.

thing is sure: there is no solidarity among thieves. If Martelly chooses not to
intervene to get Lorquet off the hook, it is likely Lorquet will once again
view him as the “first Judas” again. Revelations about their past history, both
20 years ago and more recently, are likely to ensue.