Jean Michel Lapin
Jean Michel Lapin

This article was contributed to and signed by Mr. Level Francois, Attorney-At-Law, Member of the Mirebalais Bar, Member of Confederated Bar of Lawyers’ Association of Haiti.

As the Haitian people have waited curiously on their president, Mr. Jovenel Moise, to form a new government after the demise of the first fleeting two during Moise’s first two years in office, the task seems to be a daunting one. While Moise seems to be cautious in picking new cabinet members, he has, indeed, made significant strides.

After a suspenseful examination of a short list of three names as possible choices for the first minister’s post, Moise has finally chosen Mr. Jean Michel Lapin to be his first minister of the third government he will form since he has taken office just two years ago. In the interim, several names have floated around as potential choices for other key cabinet posts, like Mr. Jeantel Joseph recommended by many political organizations close to Moise for the Ministry of Interior and Territorial Collectivities. If anything, these careful steps towards forming a new government reflect a president who’s now prudent in selecting cabinet ministers who have a track record for success and who are certain to bring peace, tranquillity and, hence, set the tone for lasting security and finally the rebuilding of the country, in hope of a prosperous future for the People of Haiti.

While Moise’s final choices for most key cabinet positions are still unknown to the Haitian population both in the diaspora and in Haiti, it is worth noting some key characteristics on the few names that have surfaced thus far.

Lapin, the president’s final choice for the first minister’s post, seems to have a successful past in government. Though not at the national level, Lapin has travelled a hierarchic path of leadership. He slated as a simple government employee and promoted himself to general directorship until he became minister of culture and then was designated temporarily to fill the first minister’s post. He has now earned the nomination to become the permanent first minister in the third administration that Moise will soon establish. During his brief temporary tenure as first minister, if nothing else, Lapin and a coalition of political parties close to Moise, known as FNE (National Front of the Engaged) led by Joseph, have been credited with quelling a mass protest planned by the opposition parties on March 29th this year.

On the other hand, Joseph whose name came up strong as a potential man to run the Ministry of Interior and Territorial Collectivities has an interesting political background. He has indeed made great success in at least two governmental agencies he headed within the past two years. Joseph has presided over several political parties and organizations in Haiti during the past twenty years. A secondary school teacher by trade, during his political career, Joseph capitalized on his social skills to muster many key allies in the Haitian political arena. He is generally liked and accepted in the Haitian political community. It is also interesting to note that many of those political parties that are allies to Moise have strongly recommended Joseph to run the Ministry of Interior Department.

Joseph was first nominated by Moise as public security secretary in 2017. His brief stay at that post seems to be the most peaceful period that the Moise’s presidency has known during its existence. Joseph was later transferred to the post of director of ANAP (National Agency for Protected zones). As the first director of that agency, Joseph has implemented several administrative measures to protect the Haiti environment, including “BSAP”, which is set to maintain the Haiti forest, environmental structure, and the marine life of the country in good health.  It is worth noting also that with the direct assistance and partnership of BID (Inter American Developmental Bank), ONU-Environment, Cooperation Swiss, Cooperation Allemande, just to name a few, Joseph has established several environmental protection programs, specifically, Foret Des Pins, Park des Trois Baies, Macaya, etc.

Other men worth noting in the Moise’s cabinet formation pathway is Mr. Reynold Georges. A prominent attorney in Haiti, Georges is a former senator of the Department of Centre; He is also one of the Assembly men who convened and came up with the 1987 Constitution establishing Democracy in Haiti. A current political and legal advisor to Moise, Georges is well-placed for the potential minister of justice post.

Other floating names include, of course, former House Member Harry Massant of the OPL political party and Luckner Desir, a prominent journalist in Haiti.

While one cannot discern Moise’s definite and strategic choices in the formation of his new government, according to sources we can rely on, the president is determined to bring competence to his administration and, in the coming hours, we will see names of impressive and highly competent and well known elements as other potential cabinet members. With the latest names in circulation for certain key posts in his new administration, we now seem to contemplate a president who has learned some hard lessons in the past months of his presidency and who now aims at choosing capable people to head the administrative agencies and bring new and good results for his country during his remaining time in office.

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