PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (sentinel.ht) – Scenes of public discontent, demonstrations, protests and mobilizations, have abound in Haiti since the Senate passed the Finance Law of 2017-2018 as drafted by the Jovenel Moise and Jack Guy Lafontant administration. Citizens in Haiti and in the Diaspora are fighting this unprecedented wave of new taxes and hikes, putting Haiti on the edge of total disorder.
The Senate passed the bill on Friday, September 8, 2017, and since, the Fanmi Lavalas political party of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, has called for demonstrations against it. A major mobilization took place on Monday, September 11, that was in part to commemorate the September 11, 1993 assassination of Antoine Izméry and the massacre at the Church of Saint John Bosco, which took place on September 11, 1988. Former senator and candidate for the presidency for the Pitit Dessalines political party, Jean Charles Moise, also announced a demonstration for the following day, Tuesday, September 12 against the aforementioned budget.
Both movements brought tens of thousands into the streets. There were scenes of violence during the protests, with property and buildings being vandalized.
Efforts by the administration to quell public displeasure went unheeded. On Monday, the 11th, for example, two of the four National Palace press secretaries, Tamara Orion and Martine Denis Chandler, held a press conference to express the government’s satisfaction with the passage of the budget but also call for calm by having listeners believe that this law, as written and voted, “would allow the executive to open a series of major projects in the country so that all citizens can benefit from the services to which they are entitled.”
Unfortunately, these promises have fallen on deaf ears. It has not been able to stop the discontent from amassing in protest and planning series of other protests.