Amid a contentious showdown with the legislature, Prime Minister Jacques Guy Lafontant tendered his resignation to President Jovenel Moïse this past Saturday. This announcement came as he appeared before the parliamentary commission that was to question him on issues of governance, but more importantly the five (5) new members appointed to his cabinet, who have not submitted their asset declaration form to be vetted by the legislature, as stipulated in the constitution. During the session, the Prime Minister, who appeared disappointed, abruptly announced his decision in an effort to thwart what would have been a heated exchange between the government and the opposition parliamentarians. The opposition also called for the Prime Minister to appear before the legislative body. Mr. Lafontant simply told the gathering he submitted his resignation to the President before coming to Parliament, and that the President accepted his (Prime Minister’s) decision to resign, given most of civil society and a broad section of society have been calling for his resignation. However, he did not submit a copy of his resignation letter to the legislature.
President Jovenel Moïse, in a televised address to the nation on the national tv, TNH late Saturday night announced that he had indeed received and accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Lafontant. The president added that he will be consulting with people from all walks of life in order to form an inclusive new government. Accordingly, the new government’s mission will be to assuage the suffering of the people, develop agriculture, energy and infrastructure in the country. The government must work to ensure the safety of the people and do all that is necessary to ensure stability in the nation. Furthermore, the new government will be taxed to encourage investment, both foreign and domestic, creating jobs and fostering an environment in which all Haitians can live harmoniously. Mr. Moise announced that he directed security authorities to take all measures to insure that people are secure, especially in these times when demonstrations and violence and damage to property portray a negative image of the country already maligned. The president also promised to work hard to satisfy the demands of the people after the violence that shook the nation on July 6 and 7, 2018.
The departure of the Prime Minister has been hailed as s good thing but still some sectors of the political life of the nation are not satisfied, at least with the way the resignation was announced. But for Clarens Remois, Edmonde Supplice Beauzile and Assad Volcy of UNIR, FUSION and Orientation Democratique parties respectively, the resignation came a bit late, and its far from a surprise, because it took a popular uprising over several days for the government to respond. Others thought the resignation satisfied one of the demands of vulnerable people who took to the streets. But for the spokesperson for the Collectif 4 décembre, the future of the nation is not clear because the departure and subsequent dissolution of the government will not solve the problems of the country. There needs to be a healing of wounds laid bare by the July 7-8 demonstrations that shook the country, following the government’s decision to adhere to the IMF’s advice and increase the price on petroleum and petroleum goods. Others still are calling for the resignation of the President himself.
In other news, five prisoners have been wounded during a jail break Sunday night as they tried to escape from the Gonaïves (Artibonite Department) government jail. Noting that their jail terms were too long, these prisoners fabricated sharp objects with which they planned their escape. In total, 13 prisoners attempted the escape, and all have been apprehended as 5 escapees were wounded and received medical care with non-life-threatening wounds.
Meanwhile, Radio Metropole and its journalists have been targeted by individuals who have taken not kindly to what they feel the radio is doing or not doing. During the last demonstrations, journalists covering the demonstrations have been harassed and verbally assaulted by unknown entities. They have been subjected to physical assault while covering the demonstrations.
After the problems and the loss of life following the announcement by the Haitian government to increase fuel prices, the IMF agreed that they are in favor of a gradual phasing out of the fuel subsidy following the riots last week, which resulted in the looting and destruction of many businesses across the country. The international monetary institution said to work closely with the authorities as they develop a revised reform strategy. Their explanation is that removing the fuel subsidy will free up necessary funds for the government to finance social programs for the poor and needy.