Ariel Henry
Screenshot of Prime Minister Ariel Henry during an address to the nation on Oct. 5, 2022.

PORT-AU-PRINCE — In an address to the nation on Oct. 5, Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry said the country’s current lockdown that’s drawn thousands to the streets to demand his resignation is the work of politicians and corrupt business owners. As a result, he won’t give in to demands to reduce the rise in fuel prices he announced last month.

“Some people have problems with the decisions of the government working to put more money in the state coffers,” Henry said. “Because we have asked everyone without straight passes to pay the customs and the DGI (taxes), because we want to change the management of the finances of the State for the new Haiti that we want.”

Consequently, the government intends to maintain its decision to increase the prices of fuel even though residents have been protesting for more than 15 days. 

He also explained the abolition of subsidies for fuel, saying the 50 to 60 million gourdes, or USD $400 to USD $ 500 thousand, will be used for the execution of social programs.

“Without the elimination of these subsidies, the government will not be able to support parents or public servants in the context of returning to school,” Henry said.

Henry also said that he is not prepared to go back on the measures taken to strengthen customs structures in order to increase tax revenue.

He also called on residents to counter the actions of armed groups that blocked access to terminals, preventing the distribution of fuel in the country.

Socio-political unrest is engineered by crooked politicians and businessmen, Henry added, urging residents to wake up.

“The blocking of the roads, the closing of schools and hospitals, the lack of drinking water and the increase in the cost of living are not in your interests,” Henry said.

Furthermore, with the resurgence of cholera, Henry said, an unprecedented humanitarian crisis is threatening the country and could cost the lives of many residents.

To curb it, he asked for help from the international community and added that the country has great needs, particularly in terms of security and medicines.

Murdith Joseph is a social worker and journalist. She studied at the State University of Haiti and Maurice Communication. She first worked as a journalist presenter and reporter for Radio Sans Fin (RSF) then as a journalist reporter for Radio tele pacific and writting for the daily Le National. Today she joined the Haitian Times team and covers the news in Port-Au-Prince-Haiti.

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