Aristide ally chosen as Haiti interim president to fill power vacuum

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Haiti’s lawmakers selected an opposition senator who served as interior minister under former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide as interim president on Sunday, in a move aimed at filling a power vacuum threatening stability in the Caribbean nation.

Senate chief Jocelerme Privert, 63, was sworn in on Sunday as the provisional president. His main task will be to quickly organize fresh elections.

Digicel given the green light to sue over cloned Sim cards

DIGICEL, the Caribbean mobile phone company owned by billionaire Denis O’Brien, has been given the go-ahead by a US court to sue an American company for an alleged multimillion-dollar fraud.

O’Brien’s company filed a lawsuit last year against UPM Telecom, based in Oregon, claiming UPM was buying Digicel Sim cards in bulk in Haiti, shipping them to the US and “cloning” them to allow people in the US to call Haiti at local rates. Digicel claimed that more than 3.2m minutes of international call time had been diverted away from its network, resulting in the loss of millions of dollars, and that the activity was ongoing.

UPM has denied the claims and had asked the court in Oregon to dismiss Digicel’s claims.

Antigua-Barbuda ambassador reports on OAS special mission to Haiti

WASHINGTON, USA — The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) held a special meeting on Friday at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC, to receive a report on the special mission to Haiti, headed by Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador Sir Ronald Sanders, chair of the Permanent Council.

On January 27, 2016, a special session of the Council was convened following a request made by the then president of Haiti Michel Martelly through OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro for a special mission to be sent to Haiti.

Below are key findings from his report:

President Martelly was demitting office in seven days with no elected successor, and no agreed mechanism for how the country would be governed.

• Political actors were jockeying for power, making agreement on a mechanism for an interim government extremely difficult.

• There was tension, uncertainty and simmering conflict.

• Haiti faced – in very stark and real terms – a situation of potential chaos.

• There is no provision in the existing amended 1987 Constitution for a transitional government.

• There is even doubt about whether the present Constitution is valid.

Sanders noted that several things became obvious as they engaged each of the stakeholders.

• The crisis that faced Haiti – and that continues to linger today – is above all a crisis of trust, exacerbated by weak institutions.

• The acute distrust amongst stakeholders translates into a highly polarized environment and a propensity for a “zero-sum game” type of politics.

• Institutions suffer from a credibility deficit, even the ones enshrined in the Constitution as independent.

• Haiti was faced with an exceptional situation that required an exceptional solution.

• This solution had to be political, rather than legal.

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