Haiti’s prime minister said on Tuesday he plans to hold a referendum to amend the country’s constitution by February, and hopes to hold presidential and legislative elections early next year.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Ariel Henry dismissed opponents who accused her of staying in power, saying that distrust is one of the biggest challenges she faces.
Henry stated that the referendum is a priority because the current constitution has been rejected by most political figures and civil society leaders. He also said that an electoral council that would be responsible for setting the dates has not yet been named after the previous provisional council was dissolved.
“Elections should be held as soon as possible,” he said, adding that he lamented the lack of trust among Haitians. “People don’t believe what is being said.”
After being postponed several times this year, the constitutional referendum as well as the presidential and legislative elections were due on 7 November. But the assassination of President Jovenel Mosse in his private home on July 7 fueled those plans.
Henry also criticized how the US government recently treated Haitian migrants at the US-Mexico border, where it expelled more than 2,300. He said the action was not “appropriate”.
“We don’t understand how our compatriots were treated,” he said.
Henry’s remarks come hours before the arrival in Port-au-Prince of Latin America’s top US diplomat, Assistant Secretary of State Brian Nichols, who is seeking to stem the fallout of the US special envoy in Haiti’s sudden resignation last week. .
Daniel Foote, a career diplomat, left a high-profile post on border deportation, saying it was inhumane to return migrants, many of whom fled the island after the devastating 2010 earthquake, in a country plagued by mass violence. , a collapsed economy and political turmoil.
Foote, in his resignation letter, also called for America to stand with a “corrupt government with gang alliances” rather than embracing a broad-based coalition of civil society groups that had come up with their own blueprint to stabilize the country. criticized.
Henry declined to comment on Foote’s resignation, saying it was a foreign matter, but said he did not think the situation would affect relations between the US and Haiti, which he said would continue and deepen.
Henry said the government was working on a draft of a possible program to help the thousands of migrants who have been expelled. He said one proposal is to give migrants access to credit so they can start their own small business.
“We’re trying to do it immediately,” he said.
Another priority is to find the mastermind behind Moose’s murder. Henry said he did not know why the president was assassinated. He also dismissed allegations made by a chief prosecutor – whom he fired – that there were two phone calls between him and a prime suspect just hours after the murder.
Henry said he has no recollection of speaking with Joseph Badio, who was fired from the government’s anti-corruption unit in May and remains a fugitive, according to police, who seek him on charges including murder.
“If that conversation had happened, I don’t remember it,” he said. “For me, that conversation never happened.”
Henry said he sacked Port-au-Prince’s chief prosecutor, Bed-Ford Claude, and former Justice Minister Rockefeller Vincent, because they did not respect the law and tried to politicize the situation.
“They have no morals, and they are not credible,” he said.
Coto reported from San Juan, Puerto Rico Goodman reported from Washington.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk / Haiti