Impeachment proceedings against Haitian president Jovenel Moïse were started by the lower house of the legislature. However, several protesters occupied the house of parliament to demand that the deputies vote to impeach the president for high crimes and treason. The first attempt at conducting impeachment proceedings last week were aborted by the speaker of the House, Gary Bodeau, due to security concerns, as Mr. Bodeau complained that there was no serenity in the chambers to allow for a peaceful and meaningful debate on the issue. Protesters clashed with security forces deployed to the premises to keep order, with the police resorting to tear gas to disperse the protesters. The protesters then resorted to throwing stones at the security forces and in the process breaking windshields of cars parked in the premises. These actions compelled the Speaker to consult with the three top political party leaders before suspending the proceedings. On Monday, August 12, 2019 the legislative session began under heavy security with opposition protesters once again occupying the premises to pressure lawmakers for a vote to impeach the president. Preliminary tallies show that there are so far only 54 deputies out of 119 elected deputies were present, and since a quorum could not be reached, the session could not take place.
Meanwhile, President Jovenel Moïse refrained from commenting on the issues on the impeachment proceedings, instead, he is focusing on what he considered priority issues facing the country, such as the formation of a new government to tackle the economic issues at hand. Mr. Moïse is particularly happy about the newly formed special commission charged to analyze documents submitted for the hearing for nominated new Prime Minister Fritz William Michel, and his appointed cabinet and policy positions. The special commission has shown that an encouraging step towards the approval of the cabinet and policies in general, leading to the formation of a functioning government. Speaking at the graduation ceremony 30th convocation of the police academy, the President spoke on the need to find solutions to the insecurity that has engulfed the nation to the point of anarchy, which threatens to derail the nascent democracy that is needed to get the country back on track. While congratulation the police and thanking the other security forces for all their dedication and hard work, Mr. Moïse added that the people are expecting to see concrete results from their fight to provide a safe and secure country in which they can thrive.
Police Commissioner, Michel Ange Gédéon has promised that his men will rein in armed gangs that are sowing terror across the nation. But the police are not only focusing on the armed gangs alone but also on those who are financing them. In recent weeks, the police were able to determine that a senator is implicated in the case of the gang leader from the Village de Dieu, Arnel Joseph. The police spokesman, Gary Desrosiers confirmed that they are following some solid leads., without providing any further details. Speaking at the graduation ceremony at which the President also spoke, the Police Commissioner took the opportunity to call on the authorities to provide adequate resources to the security forces in the execution of their duties and also asked for supplemental resources to help stem crime and gang activity in the most populous neighborhoods in the city such as La Saline, Village de Dieu and Bicentennaire. He reiterated the police department’s commitment to fight crime and assures that the police will not remain inactive in the face of growing criminality and will also respect the rule of law and human rights. He called on the 656 recruits to become role models and avoid drug dealers and all those whose actions help to destroy the fabric of the nation.
In other news, a total of 126 Rwandan police officers who were a part of the MINUJUSTH peacekeeping forces left Haiti on Saturday, August 3rd the last contingent in the gradual withdrawal of the UN peacekeeping mission in the country. These forces, deployed in Jérémie and Miragoâne came to Haiti in 2018 and are now part of the last of three gradual grouping of forces that will leave the country by October 2019. This departure will mark the final withdrawal of police forces in the country for the past 8 years, and the final step to the end of 15 years of foreign peacekeeping forces in the country.
While this is going on, the group Nou p ap dòmi, which started the PetroCaribeChallenge movement is organizing a sit-in on August 14, 2019 in commemoration of the first anniversary of the movement. The sit-in is expected to take place at Champs-de-Mars and the group is calling on the population to come out in great numbers to express support for social justice and dislike for corruption, assassinations and the impunity that has crippled the most populous neighborhoods in the capital. The challenge was started by the Haitian cinematographer, Gilbert Mirambeau Jr., with the slogan “Kote Kòb Petwokaribe a?” (Where’s the PetroCaribe Funds?) and it was taken up by the rapper
Valckensy Dessin, popularly known as K-libr, and has gone viral ever since.
Finally, the son of former President Jean Claude Duvalier, Nicolas, is increasingly becoming active and vocal on the political stage in the country. At a meeting of the youth of Renmen Haïti party over the weekend, Mr. Duvalier made his views on current political developments in the country known. He called for a change in methodology as the past 30 years have been used less for addressing the issues facing the nation, but rather personal interests, and he strongly denounce the egoism of the main political actors in the country. In a veiled jab at the current government, Mr. Duvalier called on the need to define clear policy proposals for governance instead of improvising and muddling along the way. However, he failed to confirm whether he will be a candidate in the upcoming presidential elections.