Edgard Leblanc Fils

Overview:

After Edgard Gardy Leblanc Fils was selected as president of the transitional council, Haitians deplored the waste of time and urged the TPC to act swiftly to restore security and stability to the country.

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Calls have continued to fill the ears of the Transitional Presidential Council (TPC) members, urging them to act urgently and swiftly to restore order and security in Haiti. After the selection of former Senator Edgard Gardy Leblanc Fils to run the council as president and the nomination of former Sports Minister Fritz Bélizaire as prime minister on Tuesday, the newly-installed TPC has tackled part of its monumental task of establishing a stable new government in the Caribbean country amid escalating gang violence.

Elections by the seven voting members to vote for a council president should have been held on March 25 but finally took place after 36 days. Long discussions among interest groups within the political structure hindered consensus despite the severity of Haiti’s crisis. Some members even boycotted the votes.

The deadlock seemed broken when four of the seven voting members decided to form a majority within the presidential council. That new coalition within the TPC comprises representatives of the political parties and coalitions Pitit Desalin, Emmanuel Vétilaire, December 21 Accord, Louis Gérald Gilles, EDE/RD Compromis Historique, Smith Augustin and Collective January 30, Edgar Gardy Leblanc Fils.

Critics, particularly in Port-au-Prince, where rampant gang violence has put the population on its knees since February 29, have denounced the council’s actions up to now, which have been mired in controversies. They have deplored the situation where council members continue to waste time while the country’s multidimensional crisis deteriorates.

Calls for a sense of urgency and agency

“Presidential councilors must put aside their personal interests and give priority to the interests of the Haitian population,” said Point Final Political Movement representatives. “The personal interests of each Haitian authority must also reside in the general interest of the country.”

In a press release on Tuesday, the human rights organization Sant Karl Lévêque (SKL) lamented that the presidential councilors had not sent a serious signal toward progress, even though more than 72 hours had passed since they took office.

“It seems that the notion of emergency has escaped the new leaders while the people are dying,” said SKL in the press release, demanding that the councilors act urgently and put aside their pettiness.

“Expectations are numerous and high, but we particularly insist on [quelling] insecurity and [decreasing] the cost of living. A rapid response must be given to these two scourges because the population can’t take it anymore,” added Sant Karl Lévêque.

Leaders of the Nou Pap Konplis (We Won’t Be Accomplices) political structure echoed the same sentiment. They emphasized that the members of the Presidential Council must fully grasp the gravity of the situation.

“The council members must prioritize harmonization and understanding among themselves, as it is crucial to convey a message of national unity to the Haitian people, who eagerly await progress,” concluded Nou Pap Konplis.

 “Expectations are numerous and high but we particularly insist on insecurity and the cost of living. A rapid response must be given to these two scourges because the population can’t take it anymore.”

Human rights organization, Sant Karl Lévêque

Each step prolongs the council’s ability to act expeditiously to establish peace and security in the country. Many express frustration because the TPC has vaguely addressed major disagreements between its members and other stakeholders from the Caricom-led consensus leading to its formation to installation.

The political actors took 15 days from March 11, when the political agreement was finally reached under Caricom’s leadership, to finalize the designation of the presidential council members. 36 days have passed between March 11 and April 16 for the resigning government Ariel Henry to publish in the official state newspaper the decree appointing the members of the council.

Some are optimistic as TPC completes a workday with Haitian police and army

However, some Haitians think the TPC members sent a good signal on April 29 when they met with the Haitian National Police (PNH) and the Haitian Armed Forces (FAD’H) at the National Palace for a day of work. One of the presidential advisers, Leslie Voltaire, said on X— formerly Twitter that this meeting was part of the presidential council’s commitment “to restore national security and ensure the protection of citizens and property throughout the territory.”

After this meeting, the police installed security barriers around the National Palace, the seat of the presidential council, as outlined in the document creating the Council. This marked the presidential transition council's first contact with law enforcement leaders after their installation.

Fritz Alphonse Jean, the representative of the Montana Agreement on the presidential council, reiterated his commitment to restoring security in Haiti. However, concerns persist about the duration of each council action, especially as the gangs show no signs of halting their criminal activities. In his X-Twitter post, the former governor of Haiti Central Bank (BRH) seemed to recognize the obligation of the council to adopt emergency measures to relieve the population of current social violence.

After selecting the council’s president, all eyes turn to the nomination of a prime minister tasked to lead a new government. This process is traditionally complicated and expected to be lengthy due to the anticipated challenges and power struggles.

However, pending an official announcement, the media have reported that the new majority voting block within the TPC has chosen former Sports Minister Fritz Bélizaire to take on the role.

I am Juhakenson Blaise, a journalist based in the city of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. I cover the news that develops in this city and deals with other subjects related to the experience of Haitians for the Haitian Times newspaper. I am also a lover of poetry.

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