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On Monday, CARICOM mediators designated to address the crisis in the nation began their consultations, first with a meeting with Interim PM Ariel Henry, and members of the transition council, Haute Conseil the la Transition (HCT), with the goal of facilitating an agreement among the various parties involved. Various sources confirmed that there is a potential for a possible political agreement, as the mediators are reported to have submitted a draft document to all stakeholders outlining key elements designed to put an end to the long-lasting political stalemate and put in place the structures for a new transitional unity government. The first element in the accord is governance, which encompasses a balance of power between the Executive, inclusion, and accountability, especially with the transitional council, the OCAG, a national unity government, security, and the operations of the Council of Ministers, as it relates to signing laws, as well as institutional and judicial reforms.

Though there seem to be an agreement, in the first element it appears that not all parties have bought into the agreement According to the EDE party, which is a signatory to the Kingston Joint Declaration, and which leadership was invited to meet with the CARICOM delegation yesterday, they have sent out a statement stating their apprehension with the discussions. The party, led by Claude Joseph said it may not attend the meeting with the CARICOM delegation because the invitation came too late, all the while calling for the resignation of the prime minister to facilitate a solution to the crisis. The EDE group stated that faced with the insecurity and troubling daily violence, the government of Ariel Henry which bears the primary responsibility for protecting Haitians, stood out for its inaction, indifference, incompetence, and cynicism. Mr. Henry has also sadly distinguished himself by his desire to remain in power at all costs while the political, economic, humanitarian, and social crisis currently prevailing in the country has become more acute. Faced with this acknowledgment of failure, the EDE Political Party can only reiterate its position by calling and demanding the resignation of Ariel Henry as well as that of his government. EDE believes that this resignation, which must be understood as the direct political consequence of Mr. Ariel Henry’s incompetence and recklessness, has the potential to create the political atmosphere necessary for the establishment of a government of national unity with a view to rebuilding interim governance. While in favor of a bi-cephalous executive, the party proposes to transform the transitional council into a Presidential council of the transition, headed by a president exercising presidential prerogatives.

For his part, Liné Balthazar, president of PHTK, Tet kale, who spoke on the behalf of the Collectif du 30 Janvier, at the previous mediation by the CARICOM said it wasn’t sure they’ll be honoring the invitation to meet with the mediators today. Mr. Balthazar reiterated that if they do meet with the mediators on a different date, they will task for the resignation of the prime minister, because his leadership, or his inaction shows that the government does not control anything and incapable of protecting the people, as such, it is part of the problem rather than the solution. 

Jorchemy Jean Baptiste, president of Mouvement national pour la transparence (MNT-Toutouni) which is a signatory to the December 21 agreement, called for both sides to bury their differences and petty squabbles to resolve the crisis. According to Mr. Jean Baptiste, his group has read the draft document and are in favor of it. Previously, they agreed to a revision of the missions of the HCT, a government of national unity and the formation of a CEP. They hope that others will show good faith, flexibility, and self-transcendence, for the benefit of the nation. He feels those demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister Henry simply do not want a solution to the crisis and continues to take unrealistic positions. He said to know many partners in the opposition who are driven by good faith and hope they will manifest these good intentions to reach a broader consensus.

André Michel, government spokesperson and a signatory of the December 21 agreement, couldn’t agree more. He indicated that his allies are approaching this round of negotiations in a spirit of compromise and openness, by being ready to make the necessary concessions and compromises to build the climate of social and political appeasement necessary for the success of this interim period. From September 11, 2021, to date, the government has already made a lot of concessions by their willingness to expand the HCT, review its powers, give it more leeway, set up a consensual CEP, initiate discussions for a government of national unity under the leadership of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, and so on. However, he warned those adamant about the Prime Minister’s resignation that, he has a mission to lead the country in a free and honest electoral process to hand power over to elected officials chosen by the people. He will accomplish this mission, and the fact that he agreed to compromise does not make him a coward, because compromise does not mean weakness in politics. He called on the detractors once again to take the path of dialogue in good faith.

Finally, the road to reach the US for most of us now goes through Nicaragua, where recent fellow citizens are going through to reach the Mexican border with the ultimate goal of reaching the US. The travel is organized through travel agents and by air making the Toussaint Louverture International Airport a heavily trafficked area as most young people, especially men are flocking to catch a flight to Nicaragua from where they’ll continue their 5000-mile journey through Honduras and Guatemala to reach the Mexican border. The cost of this trek can be quite expensive. According to a credible source, US$3,500.00 paid to the travel agent who processes the administrative formalities for adults, US$2,000.00 for minors and another US$700.00 for expenses when they arrive in Nicaragua, where the agent’s partners there will get them on a bus headed to the Mexican border. Besides the travel costs, the only requirement is a yellow fever vaccination, which the agents can also procure for you at a cost between US$30 to US$60.

The PNH received 40 patrol cars as part to increase their patrol efforts on the ground. Through the International narcotics and law enforcement affairs (INL), the US government made the donation which was handed over to the police at their headquarters in Clercine on August 30, 2023.

Dela Harlley

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