Haiti protests rage on, President Moise hints at cabinet reshuffle

Written by By Staff Writer

It’s been a difficult week for President Jovenel Moise, who saw his cabinet shuffle attempt fail due to opposition from the opposition.

Last week the president fired the interior minister, Kevin Oullier, and his deputy Andre Tibet, citing violations of human rights and drug policy.

In return, the opposition called for both men to be reinstated, citing what they alleged was a failure to respect the constitution and the Haitian constitution.

In an interview with CNN, Moise assured that a cabinet reshuffle would happen soon, saying on November 1: “The reshuffle is going to happen in the next two to three days. You will see a new ministerial team.”

He also addressed the massive anti-government protests and violence that erupted across the country following news of the ministerial reshuffle.

Thousands protested in October over the cabinet shakeup and gas shortages.

Moise called on leaders of the protest movement to stop their agitation.

“I would like to ask everyone to stop the demonstrations because we have been there for almost a month already,” Moise said. “I’m not a guy who can hurt and hurt and hurt.”

What the President said about gas shortage

Gasoline shortages began on August 31, a few days after Moise’s approval of a 75% gas tax by the National Assembly. The tax, which the government says is necessary for the construction of petroleum, heating oil and lubricants, was initially criticized by President Moise and the country’s opposition.

However, the carpooling and use of public transport by several Haitian groups brought widespread protests to the streets, demanding that the gas tax be temporarily withdrawn and to be reconsidered.

Moise: Political opposition won’t stop government’s reforms

In addition to the gas tax, inflation reached 21.5% in August — including gas. The Haitian government vowed to hold a referendum next year to repeal or modify the new fuel tax.

The non-elected president of the Senate, Jocelerme Privert, broke from with his party to declare that Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant should resign.

Privert claimed that Lafontant’s absence from Haiti has contributed to the plight of Haiti in recent months.

Privert appealed to Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant to submit his resignation to help overcome the country’s problems.

Privert also pointed to the continuous protests taking place in the country and blamed Prime Minister Lafontant’s failures.

“Prime Minister Lafontant does not want to do his job,” he said. “When everyone says ‘I am his decision,’ even if he is not Prime Minister, he knows he has to do the job. The problem in this country is that the Prime Minister does not want to do his job.”

The protests that began on October 26 led to Haiti being designated as a “de facto state,” the International Relations Minister Jocelyn Jean-Baptiste told CNN.

The commissioner for the French overseas department of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon and three other French nationals were arrested after the protests.

Privert strongly criticized the French government over the arrests, saying that France was making use of Haitian resources to police the country.

“At the French Republic, we can’t expect a role in the internal security of Haiti. It is to our shame,” Privert said.

“France wants to promote its interests in the Caribbean and Central America — we all know the work the United States has done to overthrow the leftist government of Venezuela.”

Privert, who previously served as president of the Chamber of Deputies, is the former leader of Haiti’s Fanmi Lavalas political party — which was ousted in 2010 elections following a disputed election.

Protests across the country have continued sporadically this week, as the government grapples with the challenges.

According to Laurent Lestaint, an independent political consultant in Haiti, his sources say the gas tax was immediately passed following the approval of a US $800 million loan by the World Bank.

He attributes the rise of fuel prices to Haiti’s ambitious capital spending program and a perceived need to finish work on essential infrastructures.

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