CARICOM's Eminent Persons Group submits a proposal to political players in Haiti

By Robenson Geffrard, Le Nouvelliste, Nov. 24, 2023

This new proposed Accord from the CARICOM Eminent Persons Group (EPG) calls for a transition of 18 months from the acceptance of the Accord. During this transition, Prime Minister Ariel Henry would remain in the Primature and the Transitional Council and "will be endowed with presidential powers to the extent possible."

According to the EPG, this proposal recommends ensuring a balance of power between the principal state officials. This reform involves expanding the Transitional Council, which already exists under the November 21 agreement.

Based on a copy of the proposal obtained by Le Nouvelliste,.the Transitional Council "will be endowed with presidential powers insofar as this is possible, in accordance with the standards and spirit of the Constitution. It will contribute to guaranteeing good governance by working in collaboration with the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers during the transition period to ensure the improvement of the socio-economic conditions of the population, the provision of security and basic services, the protection of human rights and the promotion of the rule of law and accountability, reforms and the creation of a political environment conducive to the organization and conduct of elections as soon as possible".

The Transitional Council, as proposed by the EPG, will be made up of seven members, including four from political parties, one from the private sector, one from the religious sector, and one from civil society.

The EPG's proposal also states that once formed, the Transitional Council will ensure "the existence of a bicameral executive in line with the standards and spirit of the Constitution. These executive powers will include: countersigning with the members of the government the decrees and orders as well as the agenda of the Council of Ministers; appointing a Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) in the spirit of article 289 of the Constitution and setting the date of the elections on the basis of the CEP's technical opinion, which will then be published in the Moniteur; presiding over the National Security Council; in collaboration with the Prime Minister, defining and establishing a government of national entente, with an emphasis on inclusion".

The Transitional Council "will function in a collegial manner under the leadership of a president appointed by its members. It will exercise control over the transitional government's strategic areas of priority action: good governance, the restoration of security, the holding of free, fair ,and inclusive elections, humanitarian aid, economic recovery and constitutional and institutional reform." This part of the proposed CARICOM Accord bears some resemblance to the presidential college proposed by the Montana Accord.

The EPG also proposes the formation of a Government Action Oversight Body (Organisme de Contrôle de l'Action Gouvernementale - OCAG) to "guarantee that administrative rules and procedures are strictly applied and that there is transparency in government decision-making and actions." It will be made up of 15 representatives of civil society organizations, socio-professional associations and regional associations representative of Haitian society, including women and young people, all appointed by the Transitional Council.

With regard to an agreement for a National Government, the EPG also proposes that the Prime Minister and the Transitional Council, in addition to the signatories of the December 21 Accord, the Kingston Joint Declaration, and civil society players will work together to set up this government.

According to the EPG proposal, "a Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) will be appointed by the Transitional Council in consultation with the Prime Minister, guided by the letter and spirit of the Constitution. There must be at least three women among the nine members selected, as well as a youth representative on the Council. The Council's main objective will be to draw up a detailed electoral roadmap for the organization of general elections aimed at renewing the government's political institutions".

The document also proposes the establishment of a National Security Council to strengthen citizen security; the formulation of a national security plan; the preparation of security cooperation conditions with regard to international security assistance for the Haitian National Police, monitoring of the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2699; and the creation of a coordination and oversight committee to monitor the conduct and operations of the Multinational Security Support Mission (MMSS)."

The EPG proposal also states that "the Transitional Council will appoint a Constitutional Reform Commission".

Humanitarian aid, an economic plan and institutional reform, among other things, are also included in the GEP proposal.

According to the EPG, the duration of the transition should not exceed 18 months after an agreement is reached. They believe that this proposal takes into account the position of the various parties involved in the country's political conflict. "Over the past five months, the CARICOM Eminent Persons Group, within a framework of mutual respect, has held intensive discussions with the Prime Minister of Haiti, representatives of the signatories of the National Consensus for an Inclusive Transition and Transparent Elections, representatives of the Kingston Joint Declaration, as well as representatives of civil society, including women, the private sector and the religious community," they stressed. 

During meetings with the Caricom emissaries, several opposition parties had demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry as a precondition for negotiations.

According to Le Nouvelliste, the cover letter accompanying the proposal states that the political players have two weeks to send their reactions to the EPG on the proposed Accord.

 

Translated by CHIP editors

 

Posted Dec. 8, 2023