Haitian PM appoints new government amid turmoil
Port au Prince — Prime Minister Ariel Henry was sworn in by his new government on Wednesday, more than four months after taking over the leadership of Haiti following the assassination of President Jovenel Moise.
The appointments come as Haiti grapples with escalating violence, kidnappings and an ongoing fuel shortage blamed on powerful gangs shutting down gas stations.
“I accepted this under difficult circumstances,” Henry told his new cabinet.
He appointed nine ministers to various positions including foreign affairs, economy, justice, education, and health.
Among those appointed is Jean-Victor Genos, who will replace Claude Joseph as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship. Joseph served briefly as acting prime minister after Moyes was murdered in his private home in the pre-dawn hours of July 7.
Henry warned that difficult decisions lie ahead in the complex situation in Haiti, and said his administration is doing everything possible to ensure public safety with the resources it has.
“We are doing everything we can with the funds at our disposal to restore the authority of the state and to abandon those that must be disposed of,” he said. “One of the main responsibilities of this government is to create a safe and stable environment.”
Henry condemned the ongoing violence and called on criminals to lay down their arms, or otherwise: “They will be neutralized and will end up in prison or risk losing their lives.”
Haiti is grappling with a surge in gang-related kidnappings, including the Oct. 16 kidnapping of 17 missionaries linked to an Ohio-based religious organization. Two of them were released on Sunday, although no further details were provided.
“While we rejoice over the two hostages who were released over the weekend, we continue to pray for the fifteen who remain in captivity,” the Christian Aid Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
Henry also spoke of fuel shortages and price hikes, saying the government has invested tens of thousands of dollars to subsidize gas but it can’t stand this situation any longer. He said he would address this issue in the near future.
In addition, Henry urged the new health secretary to launch a campaign and encourage more people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
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