Caribbean, Daily News Update

THE FIGHT FOR POWER IN HAITI ACCELERATES AS PM ARIEL HENRY RESHUFFLES HIS CABINET

November 25, 2021

TRUENEWSBLOG

By: Nathaniel BALLANTYNE

TRUENEWSBLOG: Haiti’s current prime minister Ariel Henry has no legitimacy with the people of Haiti. He was neither elected nor legally appointed. He was nominated prime minister by the late president Jovenel Moise a few days before Moise got assassinated. Although he was not sworn in, nevertheless, with the support of the U.S. State Department, he continues to govern.  

Even though most of the population has been calling for his resignation, the U.S. government continues to support him at least until February 7, 2022, when Moise’s constitutional presidential term of office would have ended.  

As the situation in Haiti becomes more chaotic, with criminal gangs taking control of a large part of the country, the international community insists that the solution to Haiti’s problem must come from Haitians. But the only way such a solution would be possible is if all the parties could come set aside their personal interests and look at what is good for Haiti. 

Currently, five main groups have offered different solutions to resolve the political stand-off. ( MONTANA ACCORD, PEN ACCORD, CESOC, ACCORD LARI A, and ARIEL ACCORD known as the September 11 Accord). 

The way to resolve the stand-off is to merge all the Accords together so that the parties can agree on one solution. But instead of moving towards such an effort, ARIEL HENRY is defying logic by launching a full-scale cabinet reshuffle in an attempt to achieve political stability. 

Henry agreed last September with just one opposition group to work together to guarantee political stability, and Wednesday’s appointments are said to stem from that Accord. But the problem is the Accord does not include the majority of civil society who has been calling for his resignation. 

Jean-Victor Géneus is to replace Claude Joseph as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Joseph played the role of acting Prime Minister in the hours following Moïse’s killing by a multinational commando at his Port-au Prince residence on July 7 and was reported as a suspect in the murder of Moise.

The appointments come as Haiti struggles with increasing violence, kidnappings, and ongoing fuel shortages attributed to powerful gangs that have blocked gas distribution terminals.

“You accepted this under difficult conditions,” Henry told his new cabinet. He appointed nine ministers to various positions, including foreign affairs, economics, justice, education, and health.

Upon announcing his new team, Henry condemned the ongoing violence and called on the criminals to lay down their arms, or else: “they will be neutralized.”

Moïse’s murder has worsened the country’s socio-political and economic crisis. However, Henry said his administration is doing the best it can to ensure public safety with the resources it has. “We are doing the maximum with the funds that we have available to restore the authority of the state and put away the ones that need to be put away,” he said. “One of the main responsibilities of this government is to create a safe and stable environment.”

A safe and stable environment is not possible with a government that has no legitimacy, and the majority of the Haitian population does not trust or respect it. Therefore, the only way forward is a government of national consensus that could establish order and prepare the country for elections.

The Prime Minister warned that criminals “will end up in prison or they risk losing their lives.” However, intelligence reports suggest that the prime minister and his office have had ongoing communication with gang leaders who support him. 

Haiti is struggling with a spike in gang-related kidnappings, including the October 16 abduction of 17 missionaries with ties to an Ohio-based religious organization. Two of them were released on Sunday, although no further details were provided. “As we rejoice about the two hostages who were released over the weekend, we continue to pray for the 15 who are still in captivity,” Christian Aid Ministries said in a statement on Wednesday.

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