Province II Court of Review Releases Findings on Haiti Election

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From Episcopal News Service:

The Province II Court of Review has released its Report of Findings regarding the Contestation of the election of the bishop coadjutor of the Diocese of Haiti.

Following the June 2nd election of the Venerable Joseph Kerwin Delicat as bishop coadjutor of the Diocese of Haiti, a group of lay and clergy delegates to the Electing Convention filed written objections to the election process. Canon III.11.8 (a) outlines the process for contesting the election process.

The full 6-page report outlines the concerns with election tampering and possible misconduct on the part of the Bishop-Elect. The election itself was challenged shortly after it took place in early June by a number of clergy and laypeople within the Diocese of Haiti. Our friends at ENS previously reported that,

[Presiding Bishop Michael] Curry on July 17 officially asked the Province II Court of Review to convene as a fact-finding commission and prepare a report on allegations of what a group of Haitian Episcopalians called an “electoral coup d’état.” The group represents more than 20 percent of the clergy and lay electors of the June 2 convention that chose Delicat, dean of Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

The 16 priests and 26 laypeople say that Bishop Diocesan Jean Zaché Duracin and his supporters:

  • Violated a covenant that was agreed to just more than a year ago by Curry, Duracin, Haiti Bishop Suffragan Ogé Beauvoir and the diocesan Standing Committee to “address and resolve many of the issues of conflict that have been burdening the diocese.”
  • Manipulated ordinations to influence the election results.
  • Developed an illegitimate slate of candidates by eliminating those who did not support the bishop.
  • Violated election canons and the diocese’s bylaws governing elections.
  • Planned and implemented obstacles to voting that amounted to fraud.”

See the full text of the contestation here.

The summary findings of the Court of Review are that:

(a) There is credible evidence that the Covenant among the Presiding Bishop and Bishops Duracin and Beauvoir has been ignored and violated by both sides, specifically with respect to Provision 9 of the Covenant relating to the election of a successor to Bishop Duracin;

(b) The allegations regarding efforts to manipulate, control, or unduly influence the election of the Bishop Coadjutor are credible;

and (c) The accusation of moral failure brought against [Bishop-Elect Kerwin] Délicat is disproved.

The next steps in this process are not yet clear. The Court of Review made clear that fault for the election process itself lies with Bishop Duracin and the Standing Committee, and that they would be referring the matter to the Presiding Bishop for further action.

 

 

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Cynthia Katsarelis
Member

I'm not on any "side," but I am a witness to some of the awful damage that this conflict has wrought to our sisters and brothers in Christ in Haiti. I can't see how the Episcopal Church can mount a capital campaign to rebuild the cathedral and the Holy Trinity Elementary School and School of Music until the conflict is resolved, scoundrels retired, and governance and accounting best practices are in place. This marks a major change in my attitude, I was angry with the Episcopal Church for not rebuilding in Haiti right away. Now I know that the governance infrastructure isn't in place.

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