HAITI | Dr. Ariel Henry to take over as Prime Minister of Haiti from Claude Joseph

 Dr. Ariel Henry to take over as Prime Minister of Haiti from Claude Joseph

PORT-AU-PRINCE,  Haiti, July 19, 2021 - The Washington post is reporting that Haiti’s acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph, who led the  the nation in the immediate aftermath of President Moise’s assassination on July 7 is to step down in favour of  Dr. Ariel Henry, who was appointed as prime minister by Moïse two days before his assassination. 

Its understood that Dr. Ariel Henry, who was yet to be sworn in as prime minister prior to the assassination and who was recently recognised as the “designated prime minister” by the international community, will take over as early as Tuesday.

Joseph told the Washington Post that he and Dr. Henry had met privately over the past week, adding that he agreed to step down on Sunday “for the good of the nation”.

At the time of President Moïse’s assassination, Joseph who was the Foreign Affairs Minister, was acting as prime minister before Dr. Henry’s appointment.

It is not immediately clear how quickly Joseph would step down, however, according to Al Jazeera, foreign ministry senior official Israel Jacky Cantave said Joseph could hand power to Henry possibly as soon as Tuesday, the Reuters news agency reported.

“Negotiations are still in course,” Haiti Elections Minister Mathias Pierre said, according to the Associated Press, adding that Joseph would go back to being the minister of foreign affairs.

On Saturday a group of international diplomats called for the creation of “a consensual and inclusive government.” The core group’s statement “strongly encourages the designated Prime Minister Ariel Henry to continue the mission entrusted to him to form such a government,” the statement from the Core Group said.

The Core Group comprises ambassadors from Germany, Brazil, Canada, Spain, the US, France, the European Union and representatives from the United Nations and the Organization of American States.

In an audio statement on  Monday,  Dr. Henry said he would soon announce the members of what he called a provisional consensus government that would lead the country until elections are held.

“I present my compliments to the Haitian people who have shown political maturity in the face of what can be considered a coup,” Henry said. “Our Haitian brothers gave peace a chance, while leaving the possibility that the truth could one day be restored,” Henry said.

“Now it is up to all the national leaders to walk together in unity, towards the same goal, to show that they are responsible.”

The new government -- due to take over on Tuesday - will not have a president, and will be tasked with organizing fresh elections "as soon as possible," said the government official, who is close to the prime minister's office.

Moïse’s wife, Martine, arrived in Haiti on Saturday on board a private jet clad in black and wearing a bulletproof vest. She has not issued a statement or spoken publicly since her return to Haiti as the government prepares for the July 23 funeral that will be held in the northern city of Cap-Haitien. Other events to honor Moise are planned this week in the capital of Port-au-Prince ahead of the funeral.

As funeral preparations continue, so does the investigation into Moise's slaying. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation is aiding local police.

So far, more than 20 people, many of them retired Colombian military personnel, have been arrested in connection with the killing, but the motive remains murky.

Haitian police have accused a 63-year-old Haitian doctor with strong ties to Florida, Christian Emmanuel Sanon, of being a mastermind of the plot and having "political objectives."

Colombia's police chief Jorge Vargas has said that a former Haitian justice ministry official, Joseph Felix Badio, gave two of the Colombian mercenaries the order to kill the president. But it is not clear if Badio in turn was following orders from someone else.

This story was written with source assistance from Al Jazeera and the Associated Press.

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