Haitian Leaders Grapple for Position. What This Means for the Bahamas
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Since the death of Haitian President Jovenel Moise, the poorest country in the Americas is fighting to appoint a new leader, amid an already fragile economic, political and social situation.
Uncertainty among its leadership has the potential to further plunge Haiti into unrest as it grapples to maintain law and order after years of chaos in its streets, widespread gang violence, and inflation.
Claude Joseph has stepped forward as the Interim Prime Minister since the death of Jovenel. He appears to be leading the country through its most trying time in its history, giving updates on the assassination as newly-appointed prime minister Ariel Henry stands in the background.
President Jovenel appointed Joseph as a temporary leader and one day before his death, nominated Henry to replace Joseph.
Joseph told the Associated Press that he had spoken to Henry three times and both agreed that he would be in charge for now.
Joseph said of Henry, “He was actually designated but never took office.
“I was the one who was a prime minister, who was in office. This is what the law and the constitution say.”
However, Henry who was waiting to be sworn in, said in a separate interview with AP, “It’s an exceptional situation. There is a bit of confusion.”
“I am the prime minister in office.”
The Supreme Court’s chief justice, who would have brought stability to leadership in a time like this, recently died of COVID-19.
Where the Bahamas stands
The killing of the Haitian president has the potential to increase mass migration to the Bahamas, which already has a migration problem from the land of more than 11 million people.
After the assassination, the Dominican Republic which shares a border with Haiti, immediately closed its border.
Bahamas Foreign Affairs Minister Darren Henfield said the Bahamas has strengthened its borders in response to the act, as well.
Haitians, in time past, have reported that they leave the troubled island-nation to escape the extreme poverty and widespread violence, and leave for the Bahamas, which is considered peaceful with a more stable political, social and economic sphere.
It is feared that the assassination and a power struggle among its leaders could leave Haitians scared and result in large numbers fleeing to the Bahamas.
Haitian government must show strong leadership so that the people can feel safe and remain at home.