by Yves Pierre-Louis & Daniel Tercier, Haiti Liberté, March 30, 2016
After over a year of de facto government headed by former Prime Minister Evans Paul and one week after the Chamber of Deputies rejected economist Fritz Alphonse Jean as Prime Minister, a new government was sworn in and installed on Mar. 28.
The new interim government is led by Prime Minister Enex Jean-Charles, who received the blessing of Parliament, during an expedited session, on Thu., Mar. 24, 2016. Mr. Jean-Charles is known as a university professor and a functionary in previous Haitian administrations, but he is little known on the Haitian political scene.
As a functionary, he worked in public service for decades in almost every administration, one after another. He was secretary-general of the Prime Minister under Jean-Max Bellerive, President René Préval’s PM, and held the same post early in the government of President Michel Martelly. He was also secretary of the Cabinet under Mr. Martelly, before being appointed Minister of Planning and External Cooperation. After the Chamber of Deputies refused to accept Fritz Jean’s general policy statement, President Jocelerme Privert set is sights on Mr. Jean-Charles for Prime Minister, but the government ministers remain largely unchanged.
The new cabinet is composed of 18 ministries run by 15 ministers, according to a decree read at Mr. Jean-Charles’ inauguration at the National Palace.
Aviol Fleurant, a lawyer and university professor, was appointed Minister of Planning and External Cooperation.
Camille Edouard Junior, a lawyer and head of the Center for Diplomatic and International Studies (CEDI), was appointed Minister of Justice and Public Safety.
Yves Romain Bastien, a U.S.-trained economist, was appointed Minister of Economy and Finance.
Daphne Benoit Delsoin was appointed Minister of Public Health and Population.
Pierre Edouard Laurore was appointed Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development.
Pierrot Délienne was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and Religious Affairs, and Minister of the Interior and Local Authorities.
Evelt Eveillard was appointed Minister of Public Works, Transport and Communications.
René Jean Antoine Nicolas was appointed Minister of Social Affairs and Labor.
Jean Beauvois Dorsonne was appointed Minister of National Education and Vocational Training.
Jessy C. Petit-Frère was appointed Minister of Trade and Industry and Minister of Haitians Living Abroad.
Guy Didier Hyppolite, a lawyer and historical park manager, was appointed Minister of Tourism.
Simon Dieuseul Desras, former Senate president and presidential candidate, was appointed Minister of the Environment and Minister of National Defense.
Abel Nazaire was appointed Minister of Youth, Sports and Civic Action.
Marie Denise Claude was appointed Minister for Women and Women's Rights.
Marcus Aurelius Garcia, a journalist and owner of Haïti En Marche and Radio Mélodie FM, was appointed Minister of Culture and Communication.
In a ceremony attended by Haiti’s judiciary, legislature, religious sector, foreign diplomats, and outgoing Prime Minister Evans Paul (who failed in his primary mission to organize free elections), interim President Jocelerme Privert reiterated the crucial mission of this new government: the formation of a new Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) after the independent evaluation and verification of the Aug. 9 and Oct. 25 elections, as well as the efficient and effective management of the public administration.
On Tue., Mar. 29, the 29th anniversary of Haiti’s 1987 Constitution, Mr. Privert met with the Council of Ministers at the Primature (Prime Minister’s office) to accelerate the process of forming a new CEP and seeing how to proceed after the Jan. 24 third round of Haiti’s disputed elections was aborted on Jan. 22 in the face of massive demonstrations.
Meanwhile, several political parties and popular organizations are calling for a new accord to replace the Feb. 5 agreement signed with the outgoing Martelly government. Its time-line clearly cannot be met, and a verification commission may well result in the disqualification of many fraudulently elected members of the current Parliament.
Mr. Privert once again informed the public of the dire situation of Haiti’s finances, after the corruption and wasteful spending under President Martelly, and his Prime Ministers Laurent Lamothe and Evans Paul. All economic and financial indicators are in the red. The debt Haiti owes to Venezuela for its PetroCaribe-provided oil, already eight months in arrears, continues to grow. International lenders are not giving a dime in an effort to pressure the interim government to rush forward with elections, which they would like to see held on Apr. 24. Clearly, that timetable is impossible.
The installation ceremony at the Primature on Mar. 28 was disrupted by militants chanting “Down with KP [for Konpè Plim, Mr. Paul’s nickname]! KP is a thief! KP give back the PetroCaribe money!” The disturbance made it impossible for Mr. Paul to speak.
A short time later, three young men began chanting “Down with Privert!” This also created a commotion, which the police had to intervene to calm. There was a great deal of tension in the crowd outside the installation ceremony as well.
Meanwhile Prime Minister Jean-Charles will have his plate full with a fight against growing crime, deepening hunger, rising prices, and spreading corruption in the limbo left after 2015's controversial elections.
More generally, the Haitian people remain focused on reclaiming their sovereignty after 12 years of foreign military occupation and establishing a genuine democracy, free from the interference and pressure of foreign powers. The first steps of the new government toward these goals must be to form independent commissions to verify the 2015 elections and to audit the disastrous financial wreckage left by Mr. Martelly and Mr. Paul.
Posted on March 31, 2016