The hunt for the assassins of President Jovenel Moïse continued, Thursday, July 8, in Port-au-Prince. At least six people have been arrested by Haitian police, announced Mathias Pierre, the minister responsible for electoral matters. The minister clarified to the Washington Post and to the Associated Press that at least two American citizens of Haitian origin were among them.
Speaking at a televised press briefing, police chief Léon Charles said law enforcement was still tracking down those who ordered the assassination, which took place on the night of July 6-7. He also called on the population to cooperate with the authorities and not to cause disturbances, while hundreds of people had gathered in front of the police headquarters, where the suspects were being held, to demand that the latter be “Burnt”. A vehicle considered to belong to the assassins of the head of state was set on fire, according to images broadcast by the local press.
Many “Possible authors” of the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse “Found refuge in two buildings” in Port-au-Prince “And are surrounded by the police”, for his part declared the UN envoy to this country, Helen La Lime. “Four members of the group who entered the presidential residence were killed by the police, while six others are now detained by the police”, she said from the Haitian capital, during a press videoconference with journalists in New York. According to her, the number of suspects surrounded by police is more than six.
Two prime ministers
The assassination of Jovenel Moïse further destabilizes the poorest country in the Americas and, to the questions on the hunt for the perpetrators of the attack, are added those on the future of the country, starting with its governance.
Two men currently claim to lead the nation of 11 million people, more than half of whom are under 20. One of the last political gestures of Mr. Moïse had in fact been to appoint a new prime minister, Ariel Henry, on Monday. He had not yet taken office. But, a few hours after his assassination, it was the interim Prime Minister, Claude Joseph, who declared a state of siege, granting reinforced powers to the executive. The measure is supposed to last two weeks.
Speaking after an emergency closed-door Security Council meeting requested by the United States and Mexico which lasted barely an hour, Helen La Lime said that Mr. Joseph, represented the responsible authority in Haiti until the new prime minister, Ariel Henry, was sworn in. She referred to article 149 of the Haitian Constitution on this subject. Ariel Henry challenges the power claimed by Claude Joseph.
“If there is indeed a change in this procedure, it should be the result of a political agreement between the parties concerned”, estimated Helen La Lime, adding that Claude Joseph had declared to be “Open to dialogue”.
She finally let it be known that during an interview with the latter on Wednesday, Claude Joseph had assured her not to question the electoral calendar, with a first round of the presidential ballot on September 26 and a second round in November.
“When the Prime Minister met with us yesterday, he said he was trying to keep this schedule”, said the UN envoy. “It is now up to the government of Haiti and the people to work so that these elections can take place and that the Haitian people are able to choose their leaders”, she argued.