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Can Haiti Senators Halt Inauguration of President-elect Jovenel Moïse?

Samuel Maxime

Editor-in-Chief

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (sentinel.ht) – Four senators believe that among them and other members of the Grand Body, the numbers exist to infirm the quorum needed to swear in President-elect Jovenel Moïse and inaugurate a President of the Republic. The continuance of political instability, if Haiti were to fail to swear-in a Democratically elected Head of State on February 7, is dwarfed by the consequences if alleged financial crimes by the would be 58th president would be true, according to those lawmakers in the opposition.

Senator Youri Latortue (Artibonite/AAA), as President of the National Assembly, is unlikely to take the steps to halt the inauguration ceremony was was asked of him by senators Antonio “Don Kato” Cheramy (Ouest/Verite), Nenel Cassy (Nippes/Fanmi Lavalas), Ricard Pierre (Sud-Est/Pitit Dessalines) and Evaliere Beauplan (Nord-Ouest/PONT) in a letter Friday, January 13, 2017. But if a quorum for the National Assembly is not made, this would be the entire process of the inauguration that is at risk.

For Senator Latortue, who has scandals of his own on national and international record, failure to swear-in a president would impart significant power to him. A political “animal” in his own right, failing to inaugurate a president would put the status of the provisional administration of President Jocelerme Privert, under question of mandate. Here would be a matter of maintenance or the election of another interim-president. A political mess and crisis of significant magnitude.

The senators in opposition are calling for the completion of a criminal inquiry into the PHTK candidate for president, Jovenel Moise, who saw more than $5 million [USD] pass through his bank accounts prior to being a candidate for president. The transactions made by accounts owned by Mr. Moise show that he was a major figure within the Tet Kale sector long-before being tapped by former President Michel Martelly to be president.

Allegations of money-laundering have been lunged at Jovenel Moise, who was virtually unknown in Haiti before the former president made him the candidate for president for his party. Taking into account the Law against Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing, passed in 2015. It is a law that can be used as an instrument by international actors to charge, compel and sanction Haitians, the country and its financial institutions.

But the Central Unit of Financial Intelligence (UCREF), in its report that was forward to the district attorney of Port-au-Prince, no allegations of wrong doing have been made. Even as three other reports from the Unit Against Corruption (ULCC) have cited Mr. Moise in divergence of state funds, none have directly accused him of a crime.

The Senate, where support for the Tet Kale sector is in minority, it would be unprecedented for it to decide to stop inauguration procedures on alleged crimes that have not been proven or adjudicate. Yet, it would be incredibly critical if an inauguration were to proceed without quorum.

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About The Author

Samuel Maxime is a Haitian-born citizen living in the United States. He founded The Haiti Sentinel to bring Haitian issues to an English language audience.