PORT-AU-PRINCE – Despite mounting criticism from the international community, a group of senators is going ahead with a session today in which they will seek to remove Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis.
The motion to recall the Prime Minister came on October 22, after saying nothing publicly, a number of foreign diplomats expressed their support for the Prime Minister on the eve of her expected recall.
“We’ve expressed our views to the Haitian government and the perception of instability could be very damaging to Haiti at this time,” said US embassy press officer Mari Tolliver.
Those views were echoed by representatives of the Organization of American States and the European Union.
At the Organization of American Sates’ Group of Friends of Haiti meeting in Washington on Wednesday, Group Chair and OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin, highlighted the need for continued political stability in light of the renewed economic opportunities being created in Haiti.
Meanwhile the European Union’s representative in Haiti said now was not the time to replace the government. “In a few days, we will have to justify $40 million dollars in budgetary aid to Haiti,” said Francesco Gosetti di Sturmeck. “A lot things are ready to go…I need the ministers with whom we set up these projects.”
But the six senators who are leading the charge against the Prime Minister remained adamant. They say the policies of Pierre-Louis’ government have been incoherent and ineffective. They also charge that the government mismanaged $197 million in emergency funds following a series of violent storms that hit the country last year.
On Wednesday, Senator Joseph Lambert compared the Prime Minister’s fate to that of an animal on its way to the slaughterhouse and said that if Pierre-Louis didn’t quit, he would resign.
Four of the six senators pressing for Pierre-Louis’ dismissal are from President Rene Preval’s Lespwa party which holds 18 of 29 seats in the upper chamber. A simple majority of senate votes are enough to remove a government.
But a number of deputies and senators have denounced the campaign to remove the Prime Minister.
Senator Andrice Riche said it was “crazy” to topple the government ahead of upcoming elections and at a time when the international community was showing unprecedented interest in Haiti. The Senator echoed the widely held view that the Prime Minister’s ouster was being orchestrated by President Rene Preval in a bid to consolidate his hold on power ahead of next year’s elections.
President Preval has said nothing about the push to replace the government.
For her part, Pierre-Louis defended her government’s record in a recorded address to the nation on Tuesday.
While she noted that the State had a long way to in providing basic services to the Haitian people, she said her government had put the country on the path toward a better future. Pierre-Louis highlighted her government’s achievements over the past year citing
the cancellation of most of Haiti’s foreign debt, the donors conference in April which pledged over $300 million in aid to Haiti, and a recent visit by 200 foreign investors to the country led by UN special envoy Bill Clinton.
With regards to the spending of $197 million in post-hurricane relief money, Pierre-Louis called for three separate audits. She said the investigations would put an end to wild accusations.
The Prime Minister was said to be trying to avoid today’s meeting with the Senate. But on Wednesday in a letter to the President of the chamber, Kelly Bastien, the Prime Minister asked for the list of questions she would be asked by senators as well as the minutes of the October 22 session of the Senate in which her dismissal was put forth.
Her request was denied.