Haiti’s government has resigned and a new prime minister has been appointed, President Jovenel Moise announced on Wednesday, saying the change was aimed at tackling insecurity in the country.
“The resignation of the government, which I accepted, will make it possible to address the glaring problem of insecurity and continue discussions with a view to reaching the consensus necessary for the political and institutional stability of our country. Minister Claude Joseph has been appointed PM,” Moise tweeted
Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, is plagued by poverty, insecurity and natural disaster.
Kidnappings for ransom have surged in recent months in Port-au-Prince and other provinces, reflecting the growing influence of armed gangs in the Caribbean nation.
France has opened an investigation into the kidnapping and the case has been entrusted to the Central Office for the Fight against Organised Crime (OCLCO), which has jurisdiction over crimes committed against French citizens abroad.
On Monday Haiti’s Catholic Church slammed the government’s failure to act over the unrest, with stinging comments decrying Haiti’s “descent into hell”.
‘Descent into hell’
Anger has been piqued by the abductions on Sunday of 10 people in Croix-des-Bouquets, a town northeast of the capital Port-au-Prince.
They include seven Catholic clergy – five of them Haitian, as well as two French citizens, a priest and a nun.
Gang violence, political stand-off
The rise in gang violence and political instability have recently drawn protesters onto the streets of Port-au-Prince.
A week ago, hundreds of women protesters rallied in the city against the growing power of gangs, which has led to a spike in kidnappings for ransom.
The US has warned of the risk of kidnappings as it reissued advice to citizens to avoid all travel to Haiti.
The unrest comes as the government remains mired in a political stand-off.
Moise maintains that his term of office runs until February 7, 2022, but others claim it ended on February 7, 2021.
The disagreement stems from the fact that Moise was elected in a vote that was cancelled for fraud, and then re-elected a year later.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)