New Prime Minister, Jean Henry Céant, officially took the oath of office at the National Palace in the presence of President Jovenel Moïse, the outgoing Prime Minister, Jack Guy Lafontant, the new cabinet and a cross section of civil society and the diplomatic corps. President Moïse welcomed his new Prime Minister stating that the country needs Mr. Céant and pledged to work with him to address the various problems facing the nation. The Prime Minister thanked the legislature for their vote of confidence and stressed his commitment to act decisively to get the concerned institutions hear the cry of the people. Mr. Céant further added that he will make good governance, the fight against corruption and unfair smuggling, the cardinal values of his administration. After the inaugural ceremony at the national palace, Mr. Céant and his cabinet were installed at the Prime Minister’s office.
On Monday, President Jovenel Moïse appeared on a television talk show, Le Point, to speak on a variety of pressing topics. The President stated that he is ready to work with the incoming Prime Minister, even though the latter is from a “radical opposition group”, and that he is also ready to listen to his people and any ideas that will help move the country forward. He further expressed his support for the establishment of an international commission of independent experts to investigate the PetroCaribe Funds mismanagement, as demanded by a large segment of the Haitian population. Though he stated his agreement to this effect, he warned that the issue does not play into the hands of those itching to politicize it. He recognized the fact that he has power to authorize this investigation but recognized that there are other parties who must also participate in the process.
Mr. Moïse also spoke about his policy goal to stem out corruption and formally deny accusations levelled against him by reminding the people that he has never received a per diem during his many travels into the departments, since he came to power. In fact, he has worked to reduce government spending but insists that there should be enough money budgeted for the Executive branch, so it can at least function. He also denied accusations that he has worked to protect his relatives mentioned in the Senate report that was handed over to the litigation court, Cour supérieure des Comptes et du Contentieux administratif (CSC/CA). He has since warned those implicated in the pillaging of the country that they will have sleepless nights until all light is shed on what and where the funds have gone to. Once the funds can be traced, then we will look for who the culprits are and then deal with them as the law allows.
Prime Minister Céant on the other hand handed the legislature a laundry list of projects to undertake that makes the idea of improving and moving the country forward a dream. Among his policies are reforming the civil service, fighting corruption, consolidating the financial management and the improving of the socio-economic situation. However, the areas with the most emphasis for improvement and development are education and culture. He plans for an in-depth reform of the educational system that will ensure that civil education begins in early childhood, and that children are able to read, understand mathematics and master science and technology, ambitious goals that can be achieved through setting up of ten academies of excellence to welcome the best performing students from each department. He also stressed going back to teaching arts and music in the schools and building youth centers where the youth can take part in artistic works as a way of preserving the cultural heritage of the country. This also included renovating the forts and other historic sites. While these ideas are not new, but variation of ideas that have been talked about in recent years, the challenge will be how all these projects and ideas will be financed.
Despite these policy statements and intent to work to ameliorate the socio-economic condition of the people, some lawmakers still hold out to warn to the new Prime Minister and his policies. Senator Jean Marie Salomon, who abstained from voting for the Prime Minister hoped that the new one does not follow the footsteps of his predecessor. Senator Dieupie Chérubin believes that the new government can work if it accomplishes the policies it set out to tackle or roll out. The senator who voted for the Prime Minister believes that the new Minister looks and speaks like one who will bring the country back together. The Senate President on the other hand was delighted that the lawmakers were able to debate and eventually voted in favor of the nominee. But for Deputy Sinal Bertrand, the way the legislature went about the debate without allowing contentious discourse leaves much to be desired. Accordingly, the parliamentarians have shown their inability to thoroughly engage in controversial and contradictory debates, Mr. Bertrand wanted an in-depth inquiry into the financial status of the newly nominated cabinet. A clear vindication would the exclusion of the appointed Minister of the Environment, Osner Richard, who finally dropped out of contention for having a double nationality.
Finally, many passengers, including a police officer were hurt Sunday afternoon after the car in which they were travelling came under gunfire from individuals armed with guns riding on motorcycles. The sad event occurred on Boulevard Harry Truman (Bicentenaire) in downtown Port-au-Prince. The information was confirmed by the police department head for the area, Berson Soljour who also confirmed that there were no casualties. Also, in Morne Tapion (Petit-Goâve, West Department) located at 68km south of Port-au-Prince, masked gangs stole money and foodstuff and fruits from “Madan Sara” in the area, while the former Haitian footballer, Rosemond Pierre also passed away under suspicious circumstances.