Transition government for Haiti proposed

Fritz Jean

A group concerned about Haiti’s future is calling for a provisional government in the Caribbean country to bolster its security and ensure free elections in two years.

The group, called Montana Accord, is proposing its 65-year-old leader and economist Fritz Jean to take the helm of the two-year transition government of Haiti⁠—replacing Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

The group’s name takes after the Montana hotel in Port-au-Prince where they have been meeting.

The proposed transition government comes as the current leadership faces a crisis of legitimacy.

“We’re close to a situation of chaos,” said Jean in a Zoom interview from his residence in Port-au-Prince, emphasizing that voters in the 11-million strong Caribbean nation cannot simply participate because of the country’s security problems.

The Montana Accord includes “civic leaders, former politicians, journalists, economists and entrepreneurs who have met for nearly a year to discuss a common political platform,” Reuters wrote.

Haiti, the poorest in the Western hemisphere, has been in a political vacuum since the murder of President Jovenel Moïse’s in July 2021. With the gang violence becoming rampant by the day, authorities and politicians are worried Haiti is in no condition to hold elections.

In broad daylight, gangs in Haiti have increasingly carried out kidnappings and entire neighborhoods are under gang control. Because of gun battles between the police and the gang, a number of state events have been cancelled by the government.

Haiti’s current prime minister, Henry, is backed by the United States and major foreign powers. Just recently, Henry has tweeted that if there must be a next government, it should be decided via elections.

When Reuters asked about the Montana Accord, the prime minister’s office referred a January speech by Henry “in which he said there was no legal or constitutional way to choose a legitimate interim president.”

“We cannot talk about elections in times of such violence in the country. If you cannot have participation, what credibility can these elections have?” Jean explained, adding that holding election may mean giving more leverage and control to these gangs.

Jean also noted that the government “does not control half of Port-au-Prince” and that “the capital is inaccessible by road due to gang presence.”

On Monday, Moïse’s term in office expires, “leaving Henry, a neurosurgeon appointed prime minister by Moïse shortly before the assassination, with no official mandate,” Reuters reported. Legislators have similarly seen their terms expire.