Guyana calls for transitional government in Haiti

Irfaan Ali

Guyana has called for a transitional government in Haiti as the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries grapples with a political and socio-economic situation that has led to increase gang warfare and the collapse of many of the democratic institutions in that country.

Haiti has been thrown into turmoil since the July 7, 2021 assassination of  President Jovenel Moïse, with the interim government of Prime Minister Dr Ariel Henry urging the international community to send in a multi-national force to maintain peace and security in the country.

“It is lamentable that Dr Henry’s administration has not been able to form such an encompassing transitional government representing a broad based consensus,” Guyana’s President Dr Irfaan Ali told the Protocolary Meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS).

Ali told the Council that Haiti has preoccupied the nations of this hemisphere for a long time.

“None of us should forget that the fundamental problems in Haiti arise from Haiti’s strong human desire to be free of enslavement and an equally strong desire to make profits from enslavement rooted in inherent racism”.

Ali told the hemispheric body that Haiti’s enforced obligation to compensate France for over a century “essentially paying for its freedom deprived its people of the chance to re-invest in the nation’s human and infrastructural development”.

He said the subsequent invasion and occupation of Haiti by the United States also contributed “to the fundamental problem of Haiti”.

“Rule by Haitian autocrats who plundered the country through a regime of corruption and oppression contributed significantly to the already calamitous situation in Haiti. That has now deteriorated alarmingly”.

Ali said that a recent mission by the CARICOM Eminent Persons Group (EPG) headed by former St Lucia prime minister Dr Kenny Anthony, to Haiti and intended to broker a solution among the stakeholders, “has expressed profound disappointment, citing the inability of various Haitian stakeholders to converge on common ground.

“The Group was, however, disappointed that the tone of the discussions had hardened and that the positions of some stakeholders had regressed significantly, reflected in the strident calls for the resignation of the Prime Minister. These developments coincided with the alarming deterioration of the security situation in Port-au-Prince in August and the deepening of the humanitarian crisis in the country,” the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat said in a statement last week.

Ali said ‘amidst this backdrop gangs have further entrenched their dominance subjecting the Haitian population to a terrifying regime of murders, rapes, brutality and pervasive fear”.

Ali said three issues are most pervasive in the Haitian situation, namely security, humanitarian aid and political stability.

“At the heart of these is the pressing need for a viable political situation. Without a transitional government, which enjoys the endorsement of the majority, effective governance and decision making remain untenable.”

Ali said only with a representative transition government in place “can Haiti credibly approach the United Nations Security Council for support in re-establishing law and order and its democratic institutions.

 “A pivotal step towards organising free, fair and internationally recognised elections tied intrinsically to these political and security challenges is the humanitarian crisis.”

“In unity with our CARICOM counterparts and with member states of the OAS, Guyana asserts its unwavering solidarity with the Haitian people. We commit to exploring every avenue in partnership with the global community to assist Haiti in its quest to revive democratic institutions, restore the rule of law and ensure the broader embrace of democracy.

“The Haitian people need it and they deserve it,” Ali told the OAS Council.