Haiti interim PM has agreed to resign, say Caribbean Member States

Ariel Henry, the interim prime minister of crisis-hit Haiti, has agreed to resign, according to the Caribbean community of states CARICOM.

A seven-member presidential council would be formed for the transition to elections in Haiti.

Appointment of a new interim prime minister, Guyana’s President Mohamed Irfaan Ali said late on Monday after a meeting of heads of government of Caribbean countries in Jamaica.

Powerful criminal gangs that control large parts of Haiti had demanded Henry’s resignation.

Henry took over as interim prime minister of Haiti on July 20, 2021, around two weeks after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.

Less than 36 hours before his death, Moïse had appointed him as the seventh prime minister of his term in office.

However, Henry had not yet taken office before Moïse’s assassination.

Under the aegis of the 74-year-old neurosurgeon, elections were then postponed several times due to the security situation and are still to be rescheduled.

The poor Caribbean state, is densely populated with around 11 million inhabitants, currently has no elected national officials neither a president nor a parliament.

According to the UN, criminal gangs controlled around 80 per cent of Port-au-Prince even before the current wave of violence began.

The situation has escalated dramatically since the end of February and a nationwide state of emergency is currently in force.

The two most powerful gangs joined forces and demanded Henry’s resignation otherwise there would be a civil war, threatened gang leader Jimmy Chérizier alias Barbecue.

Bandits paralyzed large parts of Haiti with their violence.

They have attacked police stations and airports, and flights to and from Haiti have been cancelled for more than a week.

More than 4,500 prisoners have also been forcibly released from prisons.

Diplomats from the EU and the U.S. have since left the country.

The most recent escalation of events coincided with a trip abroad by Henry, which took him first to Guyana and then in early March to Kenya the East African country.

He had agreed to lead a security mission in Haiti authorised by the UN Security Council.

He last flew to Puerto Rico on March 5 after the Dominican Republic, which borders Haiti, did not grant him permission to land.

Dominican President Luis Abinader declared Henry persona non grata for security reasons.

The U.S., which many Haitians and political experts accuse of having kept Henry in power until now, called on him to speed up the political transition towards elections.

On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken attended the CARICOM meeting in Kingston and said the current situation was untenable for Haitians.

Guyana’s Ali said the Presidential Council that is now to be established is to be made up of representatives from Haitian society and politics. (dpa/NAN)