Haiti in turmoil

Haiti in turmoil

Opposition names “transitional government” as President Moïse vows to stay on

Saturday, October 12, 2019

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (CMC) — An opposition group has named members to a “commission of transfer of power” even as a senior advisor to President Jovenel Moïse said the head of state will not resign.

At the same time, opposition parties yesterday indicated that they had no intention of participating in a national dialogue on the political situation facing the French-speaking Caribbean Community country.

The opposition parties say they intend to “seek the letter of resignation of President Moïse” as they announced a new wave of street protests and other initiatives to force him to resign.
But Charles Faustin, an advisor to President Moïse, who came to power in 2017, said the head of State was sticking to his agenda of holding the national dialogue and had already named a seven-member commission, headed by former Prime Minister Evans Paul, to participate in the dialogue.

Faustin insisted that there would be no “preconditions” for participating in the talks, and that the commission intends to meet all the stakeholders.

“There will be no taboo subjects,” he said, adding that “it is around the table that the methodology, the rules of behaviour and the agenda of discussions will be defined”.

Faustin said that Moïse has no intention of adhering to the calls by the opposition parties for him to step down, and has been very critical of the opposition leaders who are turning Haiti into a second Somalia.

However, André Michel, one of the spokesmen for the opposition ‘Democratic and Popular’ parties, said that “the Democratic and Popular sector rejects this deadly presidential commission of dialogue.

“This commission has no credibility, (and) the solution to the crisis is the resignation of Jovenel Moïse.”

Opposition Senator Antonio Cheramy was also critical of the commission, saying “this commission proves that Jovenel Moïse does not hear the cry of the people who swear only by his resignation”.

Another opposition legislator, Youri Latortue, said that the head of State “is ridiculing the people,” adding, “we will seek the letter of resignation of the president”.

The opposition group ’Alternative Consensual for the Refoundation of Haiti’ has since announced that it had installed nine members to its “commission of transfer of power” mission.

It said that the commission, will, among other tasks, plan the “immediate and orderly departure of Jovenel Moïse; propose a list of three judges of the Court of Cassation, one of whom will be designated to be the temporary president of Haiti and will have to take a “decree” for his installation within 30 days”.

It will also advise the opposition on the choice of the prime minister of the transitional government, and submit a list of the names of people from different sectors of national life for the formation of the transitional government.

Earlier this week, the president of the Senate and the National Assembly, Carl Murat Cantave, in a message to the nation, urged Moïse to take the steps “to start immediately and without delay the dialogue in which you have incessantly engaged the national and international community for more than six months”.

Cantave said President Moïse should put his proposals on the table and urged all stakeholders, including legislators and members of the judiciary to put aside their differences.

The opposition parties have been staging street demonstrations in support of their calls for Moïse to step down amid allegations of corruption.

There have been reports of violence during the protests and on Thursday a bus carrying 49 passengers was intercepted in the dangerous slum Village de Dieu by heavily armed men who forced the driver off the road.

The bandits later robbed the passengers and seized their luggage before demanding a large sum of money, while threatening to kill the hostages.

But after hours of negotiations, the passengers were released, according to Jean Renel Dorcéna, a member of the National Disarmament Commission that participated in the negotiations.

Meanwhile, Eddy Jackson Alexis, the secretary of state for communication, has condemned the political environment in the country.

“If the law and the constitution give people the right to conduct political activities [then] violence against individuals, attacks on private residences, businesses and police stations are not part of the law. There is no legitimacy in the mode of violence that accompanies these movements,” he said.

He said these acts of violence are the result of speeches and threats to the lives and property of many in the public sphere, adding “threatening or violent speech offers the opportunity to do all kinds of acts that do not fit the spirit or to the practice of democracy, acts which give no possibility of having a political space respectful of the expression of contradictory ideas”.

Alexis said he was condemning “violence in all its forms and offers condolences to the families of those who have been killed, to the victims of violence and to all those who have lost their property or their businesses in recent days”.

He said he was inviting all stakeholders to change their methods and welcomes the initiative of President Moïse to establish the commission to lead the discussions on the way forward.
“At the Governmental level…we work tirelessly to deal with the crisis in various forms. The  Government will not fail in its mission,” he added.

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