President Jovenel Moise says he will soon begin the process of selecting a new prime minister for the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country even as Prime Minister Jean-Henry Céant says he does not recognise the decision to force him out of office on Monday following an overwhelming vote in the Lower Chamber of Deputies.
“I inform you that I will begin consultations with the Parliament as soon as possible on the selection of a new Prime Minister, in accordance with Article 137 of the 1987 Constitution as amended,” Moise wrote in a letter to the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Gary Bodeau.
Céant and his 21-member cabinet will remain in office as caretakers until a new prime minister is named.
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 six months ago following a series of street demonstrations over fuel increases.
But in recent weeks, President Moise has been 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.
In his letter, President Moise acknowledged receiving the information regarding “the decision of the Chamber of Deputies who dismissed Prime Minister Jean Henry Céant following a motion of censure voted by the Assembly of Deputies with ninety-three (93) votes “for”, six (6) “against” and three (3) “abstentions”.
But Prime Minister Céant, who was not present when the vote was taken on Monday, has refused to accept the position insisting that he is still heading a government in office.
He has described the vote as “illegal and unconstitutional” saying it goes against the Republican and parliamentary traditions, given that he was in the Senate and had informed the President of the Chamber of Deputies of his unavailability.
The Senate, citing the recent arrest of five armed Americans last month and their subsequent release with the help of the State Department, had summoned both Céant and his justice minister to its chamber on Monday. Continue reading