Council to nominate new Haitian leaders as gang violence sweeps country

  • Eight members have been nominated to the committee that will select the interim successor to Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry.
  • After Henry was banned from re-entering the country after traveling abroad, Haiti found itself under effective gang control.
  • Criminal gangs set fire to police stations, threatened international airports and released more than 4,000 prisoners from state prisons.

caribbean leaders All but one of the groups and parties said on Tuesday they had submitted nominees to the Transitional Presidential Council, which is tasked with choosing an interim prime minister for Haiti, a country still mired in gang violence.

The original nine-member commission was cut to eight members after former senator and presidential candidate Jean-Charles Moïse’s Petit Dessalines party declined a seat last week. Moïse is allied with former policeman and rebel leader Guy Philippe, who is serving a prison sentence in the United States after pleading guilty to money laundering.

Organized on December 21, with Prime Minister Ariel Henryis one of the last holdouts, submitting its name to a regional trade group called Caricom on Monday. Its nomination was delayed by infighting as group leaders squabbled over potential candidates.

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Henry, who remains excluded from Haiti due to ongoing gang violence that forced the closure of the country’s main international airport, has pledged to resign once a transitional council is formed. He was on an official visit to Kenya on February 29 to push for the deployment of a police force from the East African country with United Nations support to combat gangs in Haiti. Militants launched an attack on February 29 in the capital, Port-au-Prince. Still in progress. Deployment has been postponed.

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“Kenya is concerned about the composition of the local government,” deputy U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters on Tuesday.

“We certainly hope they can deploy as soon as possible,” he said. “But they have their concerns. And for our part, we want to make sure that the transitional government arrangements are implemented.”

On March 1, 2024, Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry attended a public lecture held at the American International University in Nairobi, Kenya. (AP Photo/Andrew Kasuku, File)

Criminal gangs set fire to police stations, opened fire on the main international airport and attacked two of Haiti’s largest prisons, freeing more than 4,000 inmates. On Monday, they attacked and looted homes in two upscale neighborhoods that had previously remained peaceful, killing at least a dozen people in riots.

Haque said the U.N. humanitarian office reported that the situation in Port-au-Prince “remains tense and unstable,” with attacks on schools, hospitals and government buildings and restrictions on the movement of many institutions.

He added that the health sector continues to struggle due to a lack of medical supplies, medical staff and blood.

The attacks left dozens dead and about 17,000 people homeless, most of whom fled to Haiti’s calmer southern regions, according to the group. United Nations Office Coordination of humanitarian affairs.

“We are very concerned about the violence,” said Guyana President Irfaan Ali, who also chairs CARICOM.

He told reporters on Monday night that time was of the essence given the current situation, adding that officials remained hopeful of progress.

“We have been meeting back-to-back almost every night because Haitians have to get the presidential council in place,” he said. “Progress has been made.”

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In addition to selecting the interim prime minister, the committee will also be responsible for appointing the Council of Ministers, the Provisional Electoral Commission and the National Security Council. All members of the Transitional Council must also support the deployment of foreign armed forces.

Receiving seats on the council are EDE/RED, the party led by former Prime Minister Claude Joseph; Montana Accord, a group of civil society leaders, political parties and others; Fanmi Lavalas, former President Jean – Bertrand Aristide’s party; the Jan. 30 Collective, which represents parties including that of former president Michel Martelly; and the private sector.

Of the two remaining non-voting positions, one will be held by a representative of Haitian civil society and the other by a representative of Haiti’s religious community.

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CARICOM officials have yet to announce the full list of council nominees.

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By Ali Raza

I am a dedicated and skilled News Content Writer with a passion for delivering accurate and engaging stories to a diverse audience. With a solid background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I bring a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape.

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