Electing a Bishop Coadjutor for Haiti is hard work.

The Diocese of Haiti completed a first day of voting for a Bishop Coadjutor this last Thursday, May 17, 2018.  It has been a week since the convention of the diocese met and there has been no report that I could find on the net regarding the work of the convention. 

Yesterday I received a copy of the observation and notes concerning that day.written by The Venerable Canon Dr. J. Fritz Bazin, Archdeacon for Immigration and Social Justice in the Diocese of Southeast Florida.  They give a good sense of the day, of the issues and election process. I include it hear with Archdeacon Bazin's permission.

In particular I draw your attention to his closing comment, "The whole exercise was a step in the right direction, a positive practice in democracy, so necessary as an example to Haitian society." 

The convention will come back in session on June 2 to continue the election process. Please pray for the Diocese of Haiti and its leadership in this important period in its life.

"From: J.Fritz Bazin
Re: Episcopal Elections in Haiti on May 17, 2018

The 121st synod (Diocesan Convention) of the Episcopal Church of Haiti met in the City of Leogane for the election of the Bishop coadjutor.

In spite of some difficulties arising from some threats of demonstration to protest the holding of these elections, police security insured safe conditions on the premises of the Episcopal school of nursing.

We met in the school auditorium. Out of 89 clergy, present were 88 and from 116 lay delegates, 106 

Following prayers and singing of a hymn to the Holy Spirit, various interventions were made mostly by some who felt that the conditions were not favorable to the holding of these elections due to deep divisions within the family, there were expressed by a few members of the clergy including Bishop Beauvoir, there were some angry outbursts by some clergy persons and a couple of Lay delegates; they were not however in keeping with the rules of order.

At the head table were the Bishop Diocesan and the Chancellor among others and also present at another table were the members of the transition committee and the standing committee.

After some 20 minutes of back and forth questions and answers, voting started; delegates were called by name to cast their votes.

The voting went on until 5pm, with an almost identical result for 5 ballots: with candidates Joseph K. Delicat with 53 votes from the clergy; needed 45 and 51 from the laity number needed 54. Consequently there was not an election, as was announced by the election committee; therefore there will be a run off on June 2nd between 2 finalists Joseph K. Delicat and Noe Bennier. The 3rd candidate, Samuel St. Louis, received an average of one vote throughout the 5 ballots.

P.S - Five gatherings took place around the Diocese to introduce the 3 accepted candidates to the members of the church. It is reported that at the one held in Mirebalais, central part of Haiti there were some significant protests with signs of denouncing the elections programmed for May 17.

Following this, a press release signed by Joseph A. Auguste announcing a planned demonstration on the site of the elections, the Diocesan school of nursing.

In response, the organizing committee had police security at the entrance of the school, ensuring that all who enter would have a badge as delegates or observers.

Apparently such measures were taken to prevent violent clashes between the 2 camps, however it did look sad for a church election, especially when an officer, it is reported, had Bishop Beauvoir wait for 15 minutes before entering since he did not have a badge.

I did have to wait also for a call from the committee to be admitted as an observer; at this time near the gate there were some 2 dozen protesters with signs denouncing the holding of these elections.

No major incident took place after the start of voting.

Following the closing prayers most delegates, both clergy and lay went to the refectory for early dinner.

The whole exercise was a step in the right direction, a positive practice in democracy, so necessary as an example to Haitian society."

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