The Petro Caribe Challenge hashtag meant to express outrage at the Haitian government embezzling $2 billion in Petrocaribe funds.
The Petro Caribe Challenge Hashtag
The #PetroCaribeChallenge, a Hashtag meant to express outrage at the Haitian government embezzling $2 billion in PetroCaribe funds, is slowly evolving into full-fledged protests. On August 24, 2018, Haitians protest to call for an investigation into the alleged misuse of Venezuela-sponsored PetroCaribe funds by previous administrations, in Port-au-Prince. PetroCaribe was an agreement by Venezuela, with 13 Caribbean countries on July 29, 2005. The objective of PetroCaribe was to alleviate the burden of rising oil prices and its negative impact on Caribbean countries. The countries under the agreement were allowed to purchase 185,000 barrels of oil per day on preferential terms.
Additionally, these nations could settle their debt to Venezuela using goods and services. During the period of Haitian President Rene Preval it was decided as per the agreement that Haiti would buy oil from Venezuela, paying only 60% up-front with the remainder payable over twenty-five years at 1% interest. This oil support from Venezuela was the key in providing basic needs and services to 10 million Haitians, securing a guaranteed supply of oil at stable prices and a basis for relief from the dependence on oil from the U.S.
Since 2008, Venezuela has provided nearly $1.9 billion in petroleum products, with over $800 million being paid up-front. Following the earthquake, Venezuela cancelled some $400 million of PetroCaribe debt, yet with large disbursements since the earthquake, Haiti still owes some $580 million. While significant resources have already been spent, Haiti maintains a balance of $350 million in PetroCaribe funds.
The administrations that controlled the PetroCaribe fund are currently under an investigation for corruption. Also, the funds in question have grown to more than 4 million dollars. Consequently, the public has exploded in protest to the government decision in July to increase fuel prices by as much as 51 percent. A report detailed that $1.7 billion worth of no-bid contracts was given by the Haitian government between 2008 and 2016. The projects, which included government ministries, housing for the poor and a new parliament building, were all awarded using PetroCaribe money. Contracts were signed and paid, but many of the projects were never completed. A company named GTC Construction firm received $ 21 million or over 95 percent of the total cost of the project for performing only 8 km road or 44 percent of the work. Moreover, a new contract was signed by the MPCE with the same construction company for $ 45 million with also PetroCaribe funds.
Prime Minister appointed, Jean Henry Céant, deposited his documents in Parliament in accordance with Article 157 of the 1987 Constitution amandée, to facilitate the ratification of his policy.
On Friday, August 10, 2018, the new Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Henry Céant, submitted over 20 requisite documents in the parliament before the MPs and Senators to verify his eligibility for his new coveted appointment as the Prime Minister. The document Céant submitted to the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, include 13 passport booklets, his marriage certificate, birth certificate and those of his parents and grandparents, his certificate of nationality, and the copy of presidential decree appointing him as the Prime Minister. The submission was done in accordance with the Article 157 of the 1987 constitution amended to facilitate the ratification of his policy.
During the submission, he was accompanied by Guerdy Lissade and his brother Harry Céant. Céant announced that his ministerial cabinet has been formed. Those who have been selected in the cabinet will submit their documents for verification in due course of time. The Vice-President of the Senate, who received the originals of Jean-Henry Céant's documents, announced that a commission will be formed to analyze the conformity of these documents with the constitution and laws of the Republic of Haiti.
It was almost noon when Céant reached the Senate aboard a white Land Cruiser He was in a blue suit, a navy blue tie with purple stripes, a serene face escorted by his bodyguards. He was received by the vice president of the senate. In his selection as the prime Minister, he had two other contenders-- Bernard Gousse and Jean Max Bellerive.
However, when he attended the parliament as the new Prime Minister on Tuesday, September 4, 2018,, the senate got defensive, and demanded, a month has gone by already and there is no official list of ministers who will join Prime Minister Ceant's cabinet so that parliament can analyze them.
On Saturday, July 14, Haiti Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant declared in the lower house of Haiti's legislature: "I submitted my resignation to the president of the republic", who has "accepted my resignation". With this statement, the Prime Minister had managed to avoid a likely vote of no confidence to stepped down.
Mr. Lafontant took office less than one year and half ago, in February 2017. On Saturday, the Haitian parliament had been debating whether or not to give Lafontant a vote of confidence for more than three hours. With the resignation of the prime minister, Haiti now has no functioning government. President Jovenel Moise will need to dominate a new Prime Minister.
Haitian Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant resigned Saturday, on July 7, 2018, amid calls for him to step down over his handling of a failed plan to raise fuel prices. The announcement of the government's plan to raise fuel price set off a wave of deadly protests and took at least 7 lives. Lafontant resigned on second day of violent protests sparked by the now-abandoned plan to raise fuel prices. He submitted his resignation before the call of a no-confidence vote, which had the possibility to lead his removal. The prime minister is the second highest official in Haiti, after the president. While speaking in the lower house of Haiti's legislature on Saturday, he said, "Before coming here, I presented my resignation to the president of the republic."President Moise confirmed via Twitter that he had accepted Lafontant's resignation along with those of other Cabinet members.
Mr. Lafontant, a 57-year-old doctor, was relatively unknown until he was handpicked by President Jovenel Moïse 16 months ago. In this light, chamber president Gary Bodaeu wrote on his Twitter account that the legislature "is at a crossroads in history; it must assume its responsibilities."
Plan to hike the fuel price is a part of the plan to reduce subsidy under an agreement with the government with the IMF for granting a low interest loan amounting to $96 million under "Staff-Monitored Program (SMP). The opposition MPs in Congress warned that if the price increases were reinstated there would be more violence and protests on the streets. On Thursday, July 12, 2018, the IMF has suggested for a more gradual approach, a step-by-step withdrawal of subsidy which will ultimately generate the exchequer a fund totaling around $300 million (£226m). The IMF said scrapping the fuel subsidies would allow more money to be spent on key areas including health and education.
During the government of Fabre Nicolas Geffrard, he encouraged the immigration of African-American, specially Catholic farmers from Louisiana who had familiarity with Vodou.
Between 1859 and 1860, an estimated 500 black Louisianans immigrated to Haiti. Geffrard appointed James Redpath to attract immigrants to the island
Here is a picture of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse and his wife Martine Marie Etienne Joseph in Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami during his first visit as president - Friday, June 16, 2017.
According to President Jovenel Moise: "We know an extension will terminate the 22nd of January 2018. But we are already prepared to seek another 12 months," he said. "I'm telling everyone who has TPS, calm down; know that you have a president who is working for you today."
Here is copy of the note issued by the Haitian Parliament to announce that as of June 15, 2016, the Haitian Parliament is now in charge of the country and not Jocelerme Privert. The note was signed by Cholzer Chancy, President of the Chamber of Deputies Ronald Lareche, Vice-President of the Senate,
Haiti politicians and lawmakers are divided in opinions on whether Privert is still a Haiti's caretaker president. As per Emmanuel Jean Francois, the communications chief of the prime minister's office, there is no institutional vacuum until the lawmakers meet in a National Assembly and resolve the matter by deciding whether to elect a successor or extend Privert's term. Till that President Privert is Haiti's leader. However, as per Gary Bodeau, a lawmaker from the Lower House, Privert's term has unquestionably finished and Prime Minister Enex Jean-Charles has automatically become Haiti's top official by the midnight of Tuesday, June 14, 2016. It is illegal and unconstitutional for Privert to remain in the National Palace. Haitian historian Georges Michel said, as per Haitian tradition, only force can remove Privert from power before the election. However, as the country is passing through a peaceful phase, the chance of forceful expulsion is very rare. The Tet Kale political party of former President Michel Martelly called for a "popular mobilization" for Privert's expulsion while the Fanmi Lavalas faction demanded his stay. Earlier, Privert has repeatedly said that his future will be decided by the divided Parliament who put him into power.
Here is a picture of the new leadership team at the Haitian Senate with Ronald Larèche as Senate president, Steven Benoit as Vice President, Jean-Marie Salomon, second secretary and Francois Lucas Sainvil remaining first secretary.
On Wednesday, July 20, 2016, Ronald Larèche, the former vice president of the Senate, has been elected the president of the Haitian Senate. After the withdrawal of Andris Riché from the run he was the only candidate and elected as the president of the Upper House unanimously with 16- 0 votes. Since the former chief of the Senate Jocelerme Privert was installed as the Provisional President of Haiti, in last February, Haitian Senate has run without an elected president, the position was held by Larèche on an interim basis. Ronald Lareche is a former Senator of the North East; by profession, he is a lawyer and a member of the Parliamentary Group of the Renewal (GPR) Commissions and member of several high profile committees such as, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Worship and Haitians living abroad, Committee on Interior and Local government, Decentralization and Border Development. He is also a member of the Commission for Justice and Public Safety.
Here is a picture of former Haitian Prime Minister Marc Luis Bazin heading Haiti Defacto government.
While Bazin never won the presidency, he was briefly made Acting Prime Minister, under the rule of General Raoul Cedras. The public's reception of this move was not positive, and the problem that was creating such a palpable glass ceiling for Bazin was abundantly clear. Even though he was, like the masses, black, his apparent backing by the U.S. made him unfavorable. Despite his track record of not succombing to corruption, the American affiliation, and his public image as being in league with the bourgeoisie, would hold him back. Bazin settled into life as a popular journalist and commentator, but would continue again to run for president of the country.
here is a picture of the Six candidates who want to become the next Prime Minister of Haiti under Head of State, Jocelerme Privert
Mirlande Manigat, presented by the JISTIS platform
Edgard Leblanc Fils, proposed by the majority bloc in the Chamber of Deputies
Fritz Jean, proposed by the civil society and human rights organizations
Jacques Sampeur, proposed by the G30,
Joanas Gay, proposed by the platform Vérité
Simon Dieuseul Desras, presented by the platform Palmis
During his first press conference on February 19th, 2016, Jocelerme Privert, the provisional president of Haiti, announced the names of six probable contenders for the Prime Minister's seat. They were: Ms. Myrlande Manigat (representing JISTIS platform), economist Fritz Jean (proposed by the civil society and human rights organizations), former Senator Edgard Leblanc Fils (proposed by the majority bloc in the Chamber of Deputies and the minority bloc in the Senate of the Republic), Jacques Sampeur (proposed by the G30), former Senator Simon Dieuseul Desras (proposed by the platform Palmis) and former Minister Joanas Gay (proposed by the platform Vérité). However, after extensive discussions in the Parliament on Wednesday, February 24, that number reduced to three, Mirlande Manigat, Edgar Leblanc Fils and Fritz Jean. Finally, economist Fritz Jean was chosen by Haiti's provisional President Jocelerme Privert on late Thursday, on February 25, 2016.