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Haiti - FLASH : Seizure of weapons and ammunition imported under cover of the franchise of the Episcopal Church of Haiti
The search made it possible to discover and seize in a first container 18 assault rifles (AK-47, Galil and M4) a 12 gauge rifle, 4 pistols of 9 mm caliber, nearly 20,000 ammunition of different calibers and 120 magazines 1 viewfinder and counterfeit bills in the amount of 50 thousand dollars.
Me Jacques Lafontant, the Commissioner of the Government of Port-au-Prince who was on site, accompanied by a Justice of the Peace, specified that the inventory was partial and that there remained 3 other containers intended for the Episcopal Church of Haiti (according to what is written in the manifesto) which must be searched, which will be done on Friday or Saturday.
A person was arrested and search notices and prohibition to leave the territory were issued against several people including Mrs. Gina J.L Rolls the Customs Commissioner responsible for the reception and clearance of these containers...
Reacting to the mention of his name in this case, the Episcopal Church of Haiti reacted strongly in a press release.
"The Episcopal Church of Haiti denounces the unfounded rumors associating it with the importation of illegal weapons into the country and renews its faith in the pursuit of its spiritual and moralizing work in the country
The Episcopal Church of Haiti is saddened to learn, through rumors, that its name is associated with the duty-free import of containers containing illegal weapons and ammunition at Port-au-Prince customs.
The Episcopal Church of Haiti has no orders for containers and has not undertaken any container clearance procedures at Port-au-Prince customs and is not awaiting the arrival of any products from the foreigner for any of its diocesan institutions.
The Episcopal Church of Haiti, for the edification of all, believes it necessary to point out here the procedure established with the Haitian State for the duty-free customs clearance of products intended for its diocesan institutions:
1-the diocese receives a note from the shipping agency announcing that a container is being shipped in its name.
2- Recovery of these documents by a broker authorized by the diocese after payment of the related costs.
In the absence of the diocesan bishop, only the president of the permanent committee is currently authorized to request a tax exemption for the diocese. What he didn't do. If therefore individuals present themselves at customs to recover containers in the name of the Episcopal Church, it can only be false documents used by criminal networks.
The Episcopal Church therefore enjoins justice to undertake everything to identify, seek out the counterfeiters and submit them to repressive justice so that they answer for their crimes. It pledges its full cooperation to the authorities constituted for this purpose.
The Episcopal Church of Haiti, in accordance with the convention binding it to the Haitian State, renews its determination to continue its spiritual and moralizing work in the fields of education and health, arts and economic, social and cultural development of the Haitian population.
Port-au-Prince, July 14, 2022."