71-year-old former neurosurgeon, Ariel Henry is the seventh and last prime minister appointed by the president Jovenel Moïse, who was assassinated by an armed commando on July 7. “One of my priority tasks will be to reassure the people that we will do everything possible to restore order and security. This is one of the main issues that the President of the Republic wanted me to tackle, because he understood that it was a necessary step if we wanted to succeed in his other subject of concern, which is the organization of ‘credible, honest, transparent and inclusive elections,’ said Ariel Henry.
The ceremony marking the installation of his government in Port-au-Prince was preceded by a solemn tribute to President Moïse, in the form of choreographies, speeches and musical orchestra performing on a stage surrounded by bouquets of white flowers, and surmounted by a giant portrait of the assassinated Head of State.
Five women ministers
The new government, whose composition was published Monday in the official journal of the Haitian Republic, is made up of 18 ministers, including five women. In addition to the post of Prime Minister, Ariel Henry will assume that of Minister of Social Affairs and Labor. Claude Joseph, who was interim Prime Minister during the assassination of the president and then showed inclinations to retain power, keeps the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship.
The showdown between Claude Joseph and Ariel Henry to take over the leadership of the executive finally came to an end during the weekend, after joint pressure exerted by the ambassadors of different countries, including France and the United States, as well as by emissaries from the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United Nations.
Ariel Henry, who has been minister several times, has promised to work for “consensus” in the Caribbean country plagued by poverty, insecurity and corruption, calling for national unity to curb what he called, in another speech the day before, of “race towards the abyss”.
“The solution to the Haitian crisis must come from the Haitians,” he hammered on Tuesday. “Everything is negotiable, except democracy, elections and the rule of law”.
“I ask the Haitian people to continue to demonstrate their political maturity by maintaining a calm and serene climate across the country,” he also asked in this inaugural speech.
Regarding the assassination of Jovenel Moïse, whose national funeral will be celebrated on Friday, Ariel Henry said he wanted “exemplary and dissuasive sentences” for the perpetrators, in a country where politics has often generated its share of violence. “Those who have returned to this barbaric practice will have to pay for their package. Yes, all the culprits, authors and sponsors, will have to be identified and brought before Haitian justice, ”said the new Prime Minister.
Ariel Henry finally thanked the international community for the anti-covid vaccines offered to the Haitian people, the first batches of which did not arrive until July 14, in a country with extremely precarious health infrastructures.
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