HAITI: THE CHOICE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE TRANSITION
Judge Mecene JEAN LOUIS is MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY INCAPABLE TO SERVE AS TRANSITIONAL PRESIDENT TO REPLACE JOVENEL MOISE, THE FORMER HAITIAN PRESIDENT WHOSE TERM EXPIRED ON FEBRUARY 7, 2021 AND CONTINUES TO HOLD ON TO POWER IN HAITI.
Haiti – Judge Mecene Jean Louis – Judge Wendelle Coq Thelot – Jovenel Moise – Supreme Court – Haitian Constitution
By: Nathaniel Ballantyne
Article 149 of the 1987 Haitian Constitution stipulates as follows: in the event of a presidential vacancy, “the President of the Supreme Court or the Vice-President or the most senior judge by order of seniority, shall temporarily be appointed President of the Republic.”
The President and Vice-President of Haiti’s highest Court were appointed in 2019 by President Jovenel Moses, who told France 24 a French Television station that he had single-handedly appointed “50 corrupt judges” consequently none of the judges appointed by ex-president Moise can serve as transitional president.
The Supreme Court’s oldest judge is Mr. Mecene Jean Louis, who was appointed by a sector of the opposition. Judge Jean Louis’s physical and mental disabilities are well known. The most senior judge after him is Ms. Wendelle Coq THELOT, the only woman judge of the Court. In the absence of Judge Jean Louis, the next person to replace Moise is Judge Wendelle Coq THELOT. Judge Coq Thelot is incorruptible and cannot be purchased by the oligarchs and those who participated in the Petrocaribe fund’s embezzlement.
Moise’s attempt to retire three Supreme court judges, including Judge Coq Thelot is null ab initio. First, Moise was no longer legally president when he issued the order; second, even if he had issued the order prior to February 7, 2021, it would still be illegal because the Haitian constitution forbids a president explicitly from interfering in this manner in a co-equal branch of government.
Judge Jean Louis must publicly make it clear that based on his doctor’s advice, he is incapable of serving as president. He must immediately remove himself from the process so that the opposition can choose another Judge from the Supreme Court. This must be done as soon as possible for several reasons. First, Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, is removing the Trump administration’s left-overs. That will have an impact in clarifying American policy regarding dictators such as Jovenel Moise; second, the opposition must come together as a unifying force to ensure credibility. Third, the Haitian diaspora in the United States, Canada, and France are working together, lending their voices to this fight to restore democratic order in Haiti.
There is almost unanimous consent in the Haitian Diaspora that Judge Coq-Thelot is the right person to lead Haiti out of this mess. In 1990 another judge led Haiti out of a political impasse and organized the only credible, fraud-free presidential election in Haiti. This time, we need another capable woman to come forward, and Judge Coq Thelot has not only shown the willingness to serve, but she knows exactly what to do, and how to bring Haiti back to democracy.
This Newsblog has long supported and advocated for the appointment of Judge Coq Thelot as perhaps the only credible, respected official in Haiti who enjoys widespread support and, therefore, legitimacy to organize both legislative and presidential elections.