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Haiti’s newsreel : Spotlight on Jovenel’s assassination

Events in the country in the past week have once again focused the entire world’s attention on Haiti and not in a necessarily positive way. As the quickly developing events change at such a rate that by press time, everything we are about to print will be old news. That being said, it is unfortunate that President Jovenel Moïse would lose his life in the way and manner in which it happened. At this critical juncture, we must move forward in a more decisive and clear way lest we fall further into chaos, leaving the famished majority further into desperation, instability, and insecurity. But it appears that for the first time in memory, the American government is encouraging Haitians themselves to find a suitable solution to move the country out of the crisis. An official delegation comprised of representatives from the Justice department, Interior department, National Security and State departments were on the ground in Haiti as of July 11, 2021 to encourage the various political factions and civil society to work together and agree to free and fair elections. The delegation met with the interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, and Prime Minister designate; Ariel Henry during a joint meeting with Senate President Joseph Lambert to encourage open and constructive dialogue that will lead to achieving the dual goals of organizing fair and transparent elections, and getting the country out of the crisis in which it had plunged itself well for quite some time. According to the spokesperson for the delegation, the National Security spokesperson, Emily Horne, discussions centered on the security of critical infrastructure and of government officials. There were also meetings with the national police, PNH, who are leading the investigation into the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. The interagency delegation affirms its support for the Haitian government in the quest for justice for this assassination and asserts the US people’s solidarity with the Haitian people in these difficult times.

Senate president, Joseph Lambert confirmed meeting with the US delegation and stated that together, they agreed on the senate’s decision to appoint him the provisionary president, in a statement he posted on tweeter. Suffice to note that on Friday July 9, 2021, eight (8) of the ten (10) senators still in office adopted a resolution to name Lambert as the interim President of the republic, until a new parliament is in place by the second Monday in January 2022 and a newly elected president takes office on February 7, 2022. The resolution also foresees the nomination of the Prime Minister designate, Ariel Henry, who was nominated but had not taken office before the assassination, as the interim Prime Minister to ensure a smooth transition. While most political organizations concur with this arrangement, other civil society groups have opted for a political conference to determine the right formula to get the country out of the crisis.

Meanwhile soon after the assassination of President Moïse, Prime Minister Claude Henry took the reins of government to assure a rattled nation that the fundamentals of the state apparatus are safe and that the country is under control. Besides the two weeks state of emergency declared, The Prime Minister signed a decree which appeared in the official gazette, Le Moniteur on Monday, July 12, 2021, forming a funeral committee to organize the funeral of President Moïse, assassinated in his home in the Pelerin 5 neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. The committee is tasked to organize a fitting funeral for the president, in accordance with instructions from the Council of Ministers. The committee includes the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Religious Affairs, the Minister of Culture and Communication, the Minister of the Interior, the Minister of Defense, the Director of the President’s Cabinet, the Secretary General of the Presidency and the Director General of the Haitian National Pantheon Museum (MUPANAH). In addition, the public works administration is ordered to collaborate with the committee, and to make the necessary means available to it as proscribed by law.

 

Furthermore, Ariel Henry, who was named to the post of interim Prime Minister, barely 24 hours to the death of the one who nominated him, insists that he is the legitimate head of government and that in spite of the unfortunate circumstances in which the country is thrown; Claude Joseph, is in essence working for him. While praising his predecessor for a job well done, Mr. Henry stated said he had  been legally appointed and had begun to assemble his cabinet before the fateful assassination, but he intends to move ahead, albeit in consultation with other stakeholders and the senate currently in place. Since Claude Joseph is no longer Prime Minister, he moves on to his previous position as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

 

The Bar Association of Port-of-Prince sent out a communique in which they lay the death of President Jovenel Moïse on the level of planned collapse of the state itself. It shows a sign of the decay of state institutions that are incapable of ensuring their state mission, including that of guaranteeing the constitutional right to life. The Bar Association a reliable investigation into the circumstances that led to the president losing his life in the way he did, and to allow justice to prevail and the perpetrators of this heinous crime face the full wrath of the law.

 

Finally, the Diaspora is making its voice heard this time around as they want to be an integral part of any decisions to move the nation forward. In an editorial piece in the Haitian Times, the paper responding to Prime Minister Claude Joseph’s request for the UN and US to intervene, called on the Diaspora to “squash this dangerous idea before it takes root” by forcing the international community and Haitian politicians who go to the same well to pull their “idea” of a perfect solution for the nation, to write a new page into the playbook which must feature the Diaspora prominently in the solution. Accusing the Diaspora as complicit in the country’s deterioration by their petty alliances and class divisions, they call on the governing group to act swiftly to create new sustainable solutions that require transparency and accountability.  Citing their importance to the Haitian economy, with remittances equaling US3.8bn or a third of the GDP in 2020, the paper came up with a 10 point plan, similar to the Haitian community priorities developed during the 2020 US presidential elections, that it believe  will go a long way to address most of the issues facing the nation.

Dela Harlley

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