Thursday, March 23, 2023


Haiti Gets New Prime Minister

Ariel Henry was officially sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Haiti, following the assassination of President Jovenel Moise, nearly two weeks.

Henry’s official appointment comes as a power struggle intensified in the Caribbean nation and its government hastened to front strong leadership after Moise was killed.

Ariel Henry at his swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday. Claude Joseph is seen in the top left photo.

Though an interim Prime Minister, Henry replaces Claude Joseph, who became the face of the Haitian government after Moise’s death.

Henry is backed by the Core Group which is comprised of ambassadors from Canada, the United States, Germany, France, Brazil, Spain, France, the European Union and representatives from the United Nations and the Organization of American States.

The 71-year-old neurosurgeon and former cabinet minister stated at his swearing-in ceremony, “One of my priority tasks will be to reassure the people that we will do everything to restore order and security,” according to AFP news agency.

Why it matters

Joseph, the country’s foreign affairs minister, held the post of interim prime minister while Jovenel served as President.

One day before Jovenel died, he appointed Henry to the position to replace Joseph. But Henry was never sworn in.

After the assassination, Joseph asserted himself as leader causing a power vacuum.

However, on Sunday, Joseph said he would step down “for the good of the nation.”

“Everyone who knows me knows that I am not interested in this battle, or in any kind of power grab,” Joseph said.

“The president was a friend to me. I am just interested in seeing justice for him.”

The big picture

Moise was killed by assassins at his home in the early morning hours. His wife was injured during the attack, received medical care in the United States and this week returned to the troubled island nation.

Nearly 28 foreign mercenaries were arrested after the attack, including two US citizens of Haitian descent and 26 Columbians which included ex-military men.

State of play

Moise’s funeral is scheduled for Friday.

Haiti’s election is expected in September.

Haitian Leaders Grapple for Position. What This Means for the Bahamas

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.

We Fly Haiti’s Flag to Honor Late President Moïse

The Bahamas joins other CARICOM nations in flying the Haitian flag after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in the early morning hours of Wednesday.

Cabinet Office released a statement on Wednesday evening saying it will observe Moïse’s death as a member state of CARICOM.

Haiti’s flag will be flown along with the CARICOM flag at half-mast on Thursday, Friday and the day of his funeral.

After his death, CARICOM heads of government met and issued a statement condemning “this abhorrent and reprehensible act that comes at a time of deep turmoil and institutional weakness in the country.”

Caricom Heads of Government call for calm in HaitiCaricom leaders have called for the assassins to be “apprehended and brought to justice, and for law and order to prevail,” in the island-nation.

The statement goes on to say, “In accordance with its values, as expressed in its Charter of Civil Society, the Caribbean Community does not settle its differences by violence which undermines democracy and the rule of law, but peacefully through dialogue and recourse to democratic institutions.”

The big story

Gunmen killed President Moïse and critically wounded his wife Martine who is receiving treatment at the Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.

Police said they have arrested two suspects and killed four others responsible for Moise’s death at around six in the afternoon. It is not known if others were involved in the plot to kill the late president.

Haiti has since been placed on lockdown for two weeks since the events unfolded, as the country grapples to maintain control and security.

Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas and is usually beset by gang violence, rising inflation, and protests by opposition supporters.