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Saturday, March 25, 2023

Can Haiti Finally Have its Prime Minister?

By Hudes DesrameauxCSMS Magazine Staff writerBy the time you read this article, the Haitian senate may have already moved, if nothing else interferes, to vote on president’s Rene Preval’s Prime minister designate, Michele Pierre- Louis.Michele Pierre-Louis is a 61 year-old economist and for more than a decade has been running FOKAL, a cultural organization whose noteworthy accomplishment has been the building of more than 40 libraries in remote regions of Haiti. Michele since 1986 has been a key figure in the popular democratic sector in Haiti.If, between this Sunday and next Tuesday the day of the scheduled vote, President Preval doesn’t broker any agreement with the newly formed coalition in the senate, Michele Pierre Louis will, in all probability, meet the same fate as the two previously rejected prime minister designates – economist Erick Pierre and security expert Robert Manuel. Needless to say that the last two have been excellent choices to lead the country.It has been about a month since Rene Preval tapped Ms. Pierre-Louis to replace Jacques Edouard Alexis, who was voted out of the “primature” more than three months ago. So, Haiti has been without a functioning government, unable to deal with the International Monetary Fund and other officials for the disbursement of needed funds for life-improving programs in the country.In a country beset with all types of problems, the search for a new prime minister has been – unsurprisingly – anything but smooth and uncomplicated, with a parliament basically holding the country hostage and swearing, no kidding, that Haiti’s problems can wait until their pocketbook issues are resolved.Poor Haiti!The 1987 constitution puts forth in no uncertain terms the process to select a new prime minister if the president doesn’t hold a majority in the Parliament. He needs to “consult” with the president of both chambers and then submit his choice for the prime minister position.As soon as the name is announced, each chamber is called to form a committee to review the nominee’s “papers” as specified by article 157-4 of the constitution: he or she must be at least 30 years old, has lived in the country for five consecutive years, owns a property or exercises some type of function and never renounces the Haitian nationality. Then the “ratified” prime minister has to appear separately before both chambers to propose his or her plan for the country.(As one can see, these rules have been codified to exclude competent individuals on some silly technical grounds that have noting to do with successfully assuming the duties and responsibilities of the position). Alas, that’s Haiti’s history, with a ruling class vey high on upholding its selfish interests – the country be damned.Michele easily meets all these requirements but for some reasons that have everything to do with the Parliament’s propensity for ignoring Haiti’s crucial issues, Michele’s sexual orientation has been the major debate with church officials decreeing that Michele is barred from occupying such a prestigious position.Beyond looking for its own selfish ends, the Haitian parliament has completely misread the 1987 constitution over the selection of a prime minister. It assertively, albeit maladroitly, seeks to infringe on the president’s rights to nominate his prime minister who, together with the former, has to choose the members of the cabinet.And the role of the Haitian parliament is to ensure that the prime minister performs based on his/her general sociopolitical program for the country, which it wields so well (or so badly) when it chose to get rid of the Jacques Edouard government more than three months ago.Rene Preval is not without his problems. He should have been more forthright in denouncing the parliament for its obstructionist ways. Well, that’s not his leadership style as his government seems to have lost its credibility for not having been able for two long years to improve the lives of the poorest among the poor.I would like to believe that the senate, after the successful ratification in the lower chamber, moves to give its ok to Michele. The country needs to desperately move forward.You know what? I am not going to hold my breadth, though. If Michele, and Haiti, is denied this opportunity, that would be brutally ironic as she is someone who has given so much to this country and then rebuffed for wanting to give much more to our beloved Haiti.Also see: Robert Manuel’s rejection: A second blow to René Préval A vote 51-35 derailed Preval’s effort to install new Prime Minister High Noon for René Préval in HaitiRene Prevsl takes office  Haiti: the lies will never endWill Haiti Ever Regain Its Sanity?Will Haiti ever achieve responsible governance?

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