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The recent arrest and extradition to the United States of the Senator-elect Guy Phillipe over numerous charges of drug trafficking and money laundering has left Haiti in a constitutional crisis.

The arrest and deportation of the man who was due to take office in three days has reveal a dangerous loophole in Haitian laws that needs to be remediated as soon as possible, either by the parliament or the Haitian Supreme Court. A loophole if left unchanged could have catastrophic impact on future governments.

What is the loophole and why is it a constitutional crisis?

Haitian laws grant immunity to lawmakers. They can only be arrested after such immunity has been lifted.  How about high ranking elected officials waiting to take office, in Guy Philipe's case, an elected Senator, could they be the subject of an arrest or worse a deportation without the revision of any court of law whatsoever? The Haitian constitution is silence on that. Does the constitution grants the Minister of Justice the power to deport an elected Senator? How about an elected President?  The unique fact that we have these questions and not the answers makes the case of Guy Phillipe a constitutional crisis.

The natural question that should follow seems to be: As Senator-elect should Guy Phillipe had been arrested and deported? But if that's what you thought, then you're wrong. The question that the Haitian Parliament or a Supreme court must answer in fixing this loophole rather is: Should Guy Phillipe had been allowed to run for a senate seat when he had an open international arrest warrant against him on serious criminal charges.

We cannot have it both ways and the Haitian Constitution is very clear on that. 
According to Paragraph 3 of Article 96 of the Haitian Constitution: To be elected to the Senate, a person must:

"- Enjoys civil and political rights and never have been sentenced to death, personal restraint or penal servitude or the loss of civil rights for a crime of ordinary law;"

So according to the Haitian Constitution Guy Phillipe was not allowed to run for a seat in the Senate in the first place, as he was arrested numerous times and was subject of an ongoing warrant.

The Provisional Electoral Council of Haiti (CEP) should have denied Guy Phillipe's candidacy for the Grande Anse's Senate's seat and instructed him to resolve his international arrest warrant before he could run for office. But since it did not do that, we are left with these fundamental questions that cannot remain unanswered. Otherwise any future elected Haitian officials could be arrested and deported to other countries, for crimes that they may or may have not committed.

There is no question that Guy Phillipe was a violent criminal who should have been behind bars long ago, but the way highest Haitian officials, meaning the president of Haiti, Jocelerme Privert and the Minister of Justice has allowed it to happen has set a very dangerous precedent for Haiti.