Haiti Gov’t Falls, P.M. Resigns, Prez Urged to do Same, Protests Continue

Author  Edited from CMC.

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti – Six months after he was sworn into office, the government of Prime Minister Jean-Henry Céant was forced out last month after the Lower Chamber of Deputies voted overwhelming to remove it from office.

haiti3The move came as Céant had gone to the Senate for a meeting only to find 13 senators present. The Senate, citing the recent arrest of five armed Americans last month and their subsequent release with the help of the United States Department of State, had summoned both Céant and his justice minister to its chamber on Mar. 18.

CENSURE

 Senate President Carl Murat Cantave tweeted that due to the lack of a quorum, the prime minister’s session was being rescheduled for Mar. 20. However, in the Lower Chamber of Deputies, where 104 Deputies, were present, they voted by a wide margin to censure the prime minister.

The agenda of the session was adopted by 88 deputies, 12 against and four abstentions and without the prime minister present, the speaker of the Chamber of Deputies announced the continuation of the interpellation.

In the vote to remove the government, 93 law makers voted in favor of the motion, six against and three abstained.

A letter was expected to be sent to President Jovenel Moise regarding the appointment of a new prime minister. However, not all backed the move to oust Céant.

“It was illegal,” said Deputy Sinal Betrand, who was among the six who voted against the government’s censure. “It was unconstitutional.”

Political observers said in the absence of a quorum in the Senate on Mar. 18, Céant could not benefit from a six month stay by way of a vote of confidence. Céant later told the Miami Herald newspaper “the decision is illegal and was outside of the constitution, It is unacceptable.” He said the justice system needs to shed light.

The Senate was, up to press time, trying to fight Céant’s ouster.

LAW

Under Haitian law, a caretaker prime minister and government can only oversee the country’s day-to-day affairs, and cannot enter into any new contracts.

Céant, a lawyer, had replaced Jack Guy Lafontant, as prime minister following a series of street demonstrations over fuel increases.

In recent weeks Moise was under pressure from Opposition parties to step down over his handling of domestic affairs, as well as the use of funds under the PetroCaribe an oil alliance of many Caribbean states with Venezuela to purchase oil on conditions of preferential payment.

Moise has indicated that he does not intend to step down.

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