Two killed as protests continue against budget proposals
PORT AU PRINCE – At least two people were killed and 12 people arrested as protests action continued in this French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country over the new budget presented by the Jovenel Moise administration.
The National Police of Haiti (PNH) also confirmed that at least four vehicles had been burnt during the protest while dismissing reports that an arrest warrant had been issued for former Senator Moïse Jean-Charles, in connection with the anti-governmental demonstrations.
Haitian motorcyclist rides past burning debris
“The PNH has no arrest order against former Senator of the North,” said the PNH spokesman Frantz Lerebours, saying that the police were engaged in a routine check after a warning issued against the driver of a vehicle, which turned out to be that of the former legislator.
Meanwhile, Jean Charles has announced four days of demonstrations here starting on Monday to protest the fiscal measures contained in the budget.
He described the meeting between President Moise and leaders of some political parties here as “a huge joke” adding that “Moïse is deaf to the demands of the population”.
The organisers said that transport workers have already signalled their intention to support the demonstrations.
President of the Association of Haitian Owners and Drivers (APCH), Mehu Changeux, said that a national strike has also been planned for Monday to force President Moïse to recall the budget that was ratified by both Houses of Parliament last week.
Several trade unions have already confirmed their support for the strike criticising the government for not taking any measures to improve the living conditions of the population, but on the contrary to increase the tax burden on the most disadvantaged strata of the population.
Secretary General of the Council of Ministers Reynald Lubérice confirmed that the Executive would publish the budget 2017-2018 in the official newspaper “Le Moniteur” and that street demonstrations will not change anything.
The authorities have also denied an increase in the cost of obtaining a Haitian passport, saying it still remains valid for 10 years.
On Thursday, President Moise, accompanied by Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant met with political leaders at the National Palace, on various issues including the financing of political parties in Haiti.
President of the Fusion of the Haitian Social Democrats (FUSION) Edmonde Supplice Beauzile, said he believes it is not the right time to talk about financing of political parties, while the government’s draft budget is the subject of street demonstrations.
In the meeting Moise stressed the difficulties faced by political parties in Haiti.
“In some countries, political life is organized and stabilized around two or three major poles. The choice of voters is facilitated because the political offer is reduced inviting the political parties to exert a leadership by their capacity to grasp the stakes for the Haitian society.”
He said that he expects various obstacles to complete such an undertaking.
“This system of institutionalized parties because funded properly will not happen without sacrifices. But such an initiative is worthwhile in terms of the expected results for the democratic health of our country,” he added. (CMC)