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As the presidential transitional council, Conseil présidentiel de transition (CPT) struggles to see if it can begin to exert itself and move the country from the impasse, one of the main stakeholders in the political survival of the nation decided to dampen the prospects of the council. In a letter addressed to the leader of the transitional council, Édgard Leblanc Fils, the January 30th Collective, one of the groups that supported the process initiated by the CARICOM, said they’re deeply opposed to the resolution signed by the members of the council establishing a rotating presidency around four advisors and increasing the decision-making majority from 4 votes out of 7 to 5 out of 7. The letter, which was written on Monday, May, 13, 2024 expressed the Collective’s deep concern for the dissemination of the document entitled “Resolution relating to the making of major decisions” and cited six (6) reasons why this resolution, tainted with substantive and formal defects, endangers the existence and viability of the Presidential Council. “The legal status of State Organ conferred on the Transitional Presidential Council by the decree of April 12, 2024, Special Monitor No. 14, cannot be called into question by a resolution, an act which in essence has no binding nature, the letter asserted.

The Collective recalls that the April 12, 2024, agreement stipulates in its article 3 that “The Presidential Transitional Council is chaired by one of its members chosen by consensus or by a majority of them”. In this case it is Mr. Edgard Leblanc Fils supported by a majority of 4 out of 7 voting Councilors as publicly announced by the Observer Councilor Frisnel on April 30, 2024.  The Agreement of April 3, 2024, signed between the stakeholders does not make any reference to a qualified majority and a rotating presidency, while Article 4-1 of the Agreement clearly states that “The Presidential Council is coordinated by one of its members serving as President of the Council and chosen/elected in accordance with the Document relating to the organization and functioning of the Presidential Council.”  Furthermore, paragraph 4 of the document signed by Édgard Leblanc, violates the spirit and letter of the Agreement of April 3, appears to be a subtle attempt to subordinate the Council with particular and partisan interests. The paragraph unduly implicates the Presidential Council in management and execution acts incompatible with its mission which is to guarantee the stability and continuity of the State. Because these executive acts will increase the risks of conflicts of competence and authority with the Prime Minister who directs government policy. 

Elsewhere, the CPT is taking a hard stand against the gangs by warning them to lay down their arms and surrender to the police, following an attack on the Gressier police station on May 10, 2024. To the CPT, the attack demonstrates, once again, the absolute urgency of eradicating banditry across the country, and restoring security. Citizens cannot wait any longer, and the council has the responsibility to guarantee the security of the entire population. The Haitian National Police (PNH) declared on May 13 that they had regained control of the police station in the commune of Gressier, where a vehicle parked in the courtyard was set on fire by thugs, according to the images circulating on social media. Many families were thus forced to leave the town of Gressier to seek refuge elsewhere. The Pnh is hard at work in Gressier, where security measures have been reinforced, in order to restore order and peace, following this attack. The Council tries to ensure that in the near future, gangs will stop laying down law over bodies, residences, neighborhoods, cities and the country. It salutes the loyal police officers and conveys its sympathies to the victims while affirming that it will play his role in providing a “response” to the situation. The council further shares its steps to quickly establish the National Security Council, provided for in the April 3, agreement, which will coordinate relations between the police, the army and the International Security Mission, expected in Haiti. The attack by armed gangs against the police station in Gressier brings to more than 25 the number of police stations destroyed since the beginning of 2024 by armed gangs in Haiti. Criticizing the passivity of the police high command, the police union, Spnh17 demands in-depth changes within the institution, including the interim director general Frantz Elbé. These changes should make it possible to organize operations in the strongholds of armed gangs, to recover stolen equipment from the police.

In other news, court clerks and bailiffs at the the Gonaïves Public Prosecutor’s Office staged a work stoppage action on Monday, effectively paralyzing court activities for the day to demand salary increase and better social services and benefits such as granting of debit cards… The General Administration of Customs, L’Administration générale des Douanes (AGD) condemns the threats of unidentified individuals against employees of the Cap-Haïtien customs office and members of a commission responsible for strengthening the control capacities of the agency. These individuals closed the Cap-Haitien customs office to express their discontent with the decision to send this commission to the city, following the significant seizure of firearms and ammunition by Cap-Haitien customs on April 4. According to Roger Sodjinou, head of the UNICEF nutrition program in Haiti, quick action needs to be taken now to prevent and treat malnutrition among children in the country. In times of crisis, nutrition is more important than ever and every second counts because malnutrition is deadly. According to the economist, Kesner Pharel, private transfers reached US$1.8 billion for the first half of 2024, representing an increase of 13.04% from last year. Without these private transfers, the balance of payment deficit would have been much higher, causing a sharp increase in the exchange rate, according to him. At the same time, exports decreased significantly during the same period, reaching US$368.04 million, while imports also decreased but remained high, reaching nearly US$2.04 billion.  Despite the tense atmosphere, several schools are resuming their activities. Hundreds of students, dressed in uniforms or in civilian clothes, take to the streets to attend classes while parents, faced with complex dilemmas, seek to reconcile the safety of their children with their education. However, instability and insecurity seriously compromise children’s ability to learn effectively.

Finally, Haitian cinema will be represented this year at the fifth edition of the Pavillon Afriques festival which is held in parallel with the Cannes International Film Festival, in France. From 6 p.m. this Wednesday, May 15, the documentary L’Afrique berceau de l’humanité et des civilisations modernes” will be shown in the presence of its director Benita Jacques. This 108-minute film is produced in French with English and Spanish subtitles. According to its director, the documentary is intended to be a historical narrative, a concentrate of anecdotes and reports of events on the history of the continent, archive images and interviews with historians, sociologists, politicians and philosophers. This documentary film aims to place Africa in its rightful place in the history of humanity. In a world in search of unity, the film Africa, cradle of humanity and modern civilizations presents itself as an exciting unifier. This cinematic journey transcends stereotypes and offers an innovative approach based on mutual respect and dialogue between people. An irresistible invitation to discover the ancestral landmarks of Africa and to understand that its heritage belongs to everyone, beyond borders and origins,” according to the press release from Pavillon Afriques. The Africa Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival this year welcomes fifteen countries from the continent. The pavilion provides a common venue for film trade and promotion that highlights the diversity and plurality of African and African-origin film and television content. The Africa Pavilion wants to become a promotional place where actors from the film industry meet, discuss, trade, make agreements and benefit from the unique atmosphere of the Cannes Film Festival”, indicate the officials who want to “present and promote the organizations of the African film industry to provide a remarkable insight into the potential for growth on the continent and within the diaspora.”

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