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News coming from the nations leaders last week offered some hope that things will soon begin to turn around for a nation desperately hungry for a change of direction, but it appears this hope is soon dashing away as the Council of Ministers and the signatories to the political agreement for a peaceful and orderly transition are at loggerheads. On Friday, April 12, the government published the decree creating the Presidential Transitional Council (CPT) in the official gazette, Le Moniteur, and soon thereafter, some of the people who signed the agreement reacted by denouncing what they claim to be the government’s introduction of major modifications which distort the consensual project of a two-headed executive. Analysis of the published decree is creating differing opinions across the political spectrum. For Saurel Jacinthe, of the December 21st Agreement group, the stakeholders of the agreement of April 3, 2024, do not reject the published decree, but that the publication simply shows that a step has been taken but in the wrong direction. He argued that they are demanding the publication of the draft decree that they proposed and are aware that the initiative for the decree lies with the government and know that points will be removed but could not accept that all the essential points be removed.

Some of the points of contention that set apart these group of actors are condition of membership of the council and the thorny issue of financial transparency regarding the financial discharge for those who have been public accountants or managers of public funds. Known to be close to Prime Minister Ariel Henry, the signing of the press note of April 13 according to Saurel Jacinthe is not a “low blow”, as some observers would have us believe. Moreover, the government made a commitment and showed itself by appointing a representative within the CPT.

According to Feland Jean, leader of the Engagés pour le développement (EDE) political party, the published text is a parody of a decree, which, distorts the April 3rd agreement. He argues that the signatories to the agreement were not seeking to circumvent article 135 of the Constitution, but rather taking the constitutional requirements on this point into account. He claims to denounce a false administrative and legal-political approach that the outgoing government is taking in order to pass the time. According to the EDE party leader, the members of the CPT have no problem submitting their documents and announces that this will be done once the “draft decree is published” in its initial version, at the same time inviting the government to publish the decrees appointing the members of the CPT and the political agreement for a peaceful and orderly transition. In the press release on Friday April 13, the signatories to the April 3rd agreement call for the connection of “bipartite transfer of powers commissions, which can work to resolve the dispute between the two camps. Asked about the relationship between the signatories of the agreement of April 3, 2024, and the government, Sorel Jacinthe suggested that it is not direct. All communication between the signatories and the government goes through Caricom, which serves as a mediator between the two camps. Meanwhile the EU has called on the government to work hard to sit the commission as soon as possible because the country urgently needs a Haitian solution to end the current political vacuum and address the long-standing political, security and humanitarian crisis. They call on all Haitian political forces to sincerely cooperate to achieve this objective.

In other news, gunshots could still be heard in certain parts of the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area today. Gunshots created panic near Drouillard on the National 1 highway, roads in Delmas and near the airport where an armored vehicle of the national police PNH, was seen.  Heavily armed individuals were reported in Clercine, in the commune of Tabarre. Bursts of automatic weapons, which lasted several hours, woke several residents in various areas, notably on Avenue Martin Luther King (commonly known as Nazon), on the road to Port-au-Prince international airport, in Delmas. Sounds of helicopters, which flew over several areas in Port-au-Prince, were also heard, early this Tuesday morning, by residents in several neighborhoods. Coordinated attacks by armed gangs have intensified since Thursday, February 29, 2024, in the metropolitan area, where citizens continue to be murdered or victims of stray bullets. Commercial activities are struggling to operate normally in areas occupied by armed gangs, particularly in downtown Port-au-Prince while many schools continue to keep their doors closed in these places infested with armed bandits. Police intelligence officers have intensified their operations in these dangerous zones across the capital city and yesterday a moped with three armed civilians on board wanted to avoid a security checkpoint by law enforcement agents. As they accelerated to avoid the cechkpoint, they ran into police officers hiding in the area. As a result, two of them were killed, and the other escaped. No information is yet available on the identity of these alleged bandits. The Delmas Town Hall kept its doors closed this Monday, April 15, due to threats from armed gangs.

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