Haiti’s Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant.
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PORT AU PRINCE – Haiti’s Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant, resigned on Saturday, just after days of violent protests against fuel price rises.
Lafontant, who faced a motion of no confidence following the protest that led to the death of at least seven people, told Haiti’s Chamber of Deputies that he had sent President Jovenel Moise his resignation letter.
The deputies had called on the prime minister to answer questions after riots erupted from July 6-8 to protest the government’s attempt to raise fuel prices by up to 51 per cent as part of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Earlier this year, the French speaking Caribbean nation signed an agreement with the IMF to carry out structural reforms to promote growth.
The IMF said that getting rid of the fuel subsidies would free up cash for other things like education, health and job creation.
However, on Thursday, the Washington based lending agency suggested “a more gradual approach” to ending fuel subsidies which were expected to generate around US$300 million.
Shortly after Lafontant resigned, President Jovenel Moise in an address to the nation said his administration is doing all it can to respond to the demands of the public.
“I did a lot of consultations, I consulted people who were victims, political parties, civil society, grassroots organisations and many other groups in society. I engaged in dialogue with international partners. I have listened to the demands of all people and sectors.”
“When the sectors speak, the leaders must listen to them, that is how democracy will become stronger, that is how the solidarity of the Haitians for one another will become better,” the president said.
He also urged Haitians to “cut bridges with old practices that are putting the country behind”.
“As Head of State, I have issued instructions to every official in the State, to every person in his or her own interest, to ensure the safety of the lives and property of people across the country.”
According to Moise, he will continue consultations in order to choose another Prime Minister “to lead the Government and gather all the forces in the Nation without wasting time, to form an inclusive Government whose mission will be to relieve the misery of the people, develop agriculture, energy and infrastructure in the country, take all measures and actions to maintain political and social stability, encourage investment to create wealth and conditions that will allow all Haitians live better in their country”.
“You have given me a five-year term, as you can see, we have started the work, I will continue, stability, economic and social progress must become a reality in the country of Haiti,” he said. (CMC)