By Catherine Charlemagne, Haiti Liberté, Feb. 15, 2023
According to one of the instigators of the December 21 Agreement, Charles Tardieu, the entire international community would be delighted by this "consensus among Haitians". During the December 29 press conference of the Montana Accord, leaders clarified their positions on the recent creation of the High Council of the Transition (HCT). Many Montana Accord leaders spoke at the press conference. It was the president-elect of the Montana Accord who delivered the strongest rebukes against the Karibe Accord and Ariel Henry.
Fritz Alphonse Jean seems to be more and more confident in himself and is establishing himself as the real leader of Montana. He impressed the audience and even his comrades with a diatribe of rare aggression.
He attacked all the sectors that endorsed Henry's “Consensus for an inclusive transition and transparent elections” document. "Faced with the magnitude of the crisis raging in the country where the population is waiting for a consensus that can bring the country out of the impasse, Montana was flabbergasted to learn that the officials in government, along with certain members of the private sector affairs, political parties, civil society organizations have decided to come together to confirm and endorse the catastrophic results of the Prime Minister in office as well as his government. To congratulate him, they extended the service of his unicameral government for at least 14 months. This maneuver aims to organize bogus elections to put puppets at the head of the state in order to be able to continue to enjoy certain privileges in institutions such as Customs, the General Directorate of Taxes, the National Office of Old Age Insurance , among others. We were amazed to see certain organizations whose members were sanctioned by the international community initialing the December 21 consensus. People, probably, who are afraid of sanctions or who claim that sanctions will come, have signed to ask for mercy in advance, " he said.
For Patrick Joseph, spokesperson for the National Transitional Council (CNT), an administrative body of the Montana Accord, "the Agreement signed by the Government will not contribute to resolving the crisis, since it is an agreement reached between allies for a sharing of power to the detriment of the underprivileged masses. Montana will not condone such a sham, which is just an amended 9/11 Accord [Musseaux Accord]. The document has nothing to do with a national compromise and it is doomed to failure, because political parties that are essential did not take part in the discussions,” he explained. If, on the one hand, the leaders of the Montana Accord shout loudly about the Karibe Accord, independently of Montana, political organizations and civil society linked to the August 30 Accord also criticize the December 21 Accord".
On January 3, 2023, one of the spokespersons of the Organization for the People (OPL), Danio Syriac, did not hesitate to distance himself from Henry's Accord. “The OPL, as a political party that shows respect for the actors, cannot be a signatory of the December 21 Agreement, which is the expression of the cynicism of the head of government and his team. We do not recognize the December 21 Agreement. Officially, the Prime Minister has acknowledged that the Haitian crisis is multidimensional."
Such a crisis cannot be resolved with a facade of consensus. To resolve a political crisis, the first reflex is to involve the representative political parties. The ruling team prioritizes a political approach based on bilateral discussions. Unfortunately ,this approach does not address the multidimensional crisis in the country. The consensus for an inclusive Transition and transparent elections is an exercise in political manipulation that aims to comfort Ariel Henry so that he can stay in power come what may. The December 21 Agreement is an attempt to resurrect the September 11 Agreement, which some politicians consider insufficient,” Danio Syriac argued.
Other socio-political structures that are not members of any existing Accord also unequivocally reject the December 21 Accord.
They believe that this was a political maneuver by Ariel Henry and his allies to consolidate power. This is the case of a small group called: Kri Nasyonal led by Léonard Jean-Renal-Nau. In a speech made on the occasion of the new year, he calls on the population to chase Ariel Henry from power, He has no confidence in everything that is going on with this new agreement. Léonard Jean-Renal-Nau calls for popular and general mobilization against the head of government, stressing that the document called "Consensus for an inclusive transition and transparent elections" signed between different sectors of civil society and Ariel Henry only targets 'to protect power and its supporters'. He opposes any organization that is created just to obstruct any solution to end the crisis.
In addition to political parties, former parliamentarians also spoke. For the most part, they also do not believe that the organizations that have been created will be able to do better to get out of the crisis.
Others like the former senator from the West, Jean Renel Sénatus, believe that the High Council of the Transition will have no leeway against the all-powerful Prime Minister. He fears conflicts of authority between the HCT and the Prime Minister. Sénatus believes Henry will not take orders from the members of the High Council of the Transition. "The mission of the HCT will be to reflect on the strategic axes of development and will give directives. For me, there will be a conflict between the HCT and the government. In Henry's opinion, the decisions of the HCT must be validated by the Council of Ministers. In the event that a decision is not ratified, there is no structure that can decide. That said, the HCT will have no real power. The HCT cannot make any decisions. The Prime Minister is afraid of being replaced by the HCT,” Sénatus explained.
Nor can we forget the party led by former journalist Clarens Renois, UNIR/INI AYITI.
The leadership of this party, suggested political manipulation behind the rumor that they had signed the Agreement of 21 December. "UNIR believes that this Agreement does not meet what is essential to stabilize the country: an inclusive compromise and a broad consensus, in favor of which UNIR has worked for the past four months during long discussion sessions with political groups of all tendencies. The High Council of the Transition (HCT) is mainly entrusted to civil society and the private sector, voluntarily leaving aside the political parties. Faced with the acute crisis that Haiti is experiencing in which dishonest and corrupt political and economic actors have maintained it, UNIR continues to plead for a Consensus that can bring together the majority of the living forces of the country. This is the weakness of the Agreement of December 21, 2022. In addition, UNIR considers that the signing of an Agreement must be favorable to the country and not to the signatories who are promised positions in the government and in the Administration. Once again, the Haitian people will not benefit from such an Agreement.
Haiti is forgotten,” said UNIR/INI AYITI party leadership.
Finally, let's end with the radical position taken by certain very influential players in the private or business sector after the appointment of Laurent Saint-Cyr as representative of this sector on the HCT. Indeed, at least four Chambers of Commerce and Industry in the country spoke out against the Agreement of December 21, 2022. In a note published on December 28, the Presidents of the Chambers of Commerce and Northwest Industry, Jordan Hérard Verdule; from the North-East, Albert Pierre Paul; of the South, Jean Nathan Letang and that of the North, Steve A. Mathieu, declared that they do not want to give their support to the "Consensus for an inclusive transition and transparent elections". These four Presidents of the Regional Chambers of Commerce and Industry argue that they do not want to give any support to approaches which, according to them: "...encourage bad practices by the signatories who reinforce them by excluding, once again, regional employers' associations. Further reinforcing this claim to impose a certain supremacy of decision-makers and investors in the capital over those in the provinces.”
In a way, these provincial businessmen reproach their counterparts in Port-au-Prince for deciding for them without asking their opinion. This is related to their economic and political influence in the capital. This outing by the four leaders of the Provincial Employers' Association is directly aimed at Laurent Saint-Cyr, President of the Western Chamber of Commerce and Industry, one of the three members of the High Council of Transition presenting himself on behalf of the Business sector, perhaps without even consulting them.
Here is a complete description of this new so-called December 21 Agreement which seemed to some to be a sort of way out of the crisis. A master plan placing the current regime on a positive trajectory to a transition to democracy that will never end. For the others - the opposition, it is a kind of political shield created around the de facto Prime Minister in order to extend, on the one hand, his mandate at the head of the country and, on the other, to create the political infrastructures necessary to allow the realization of elections for the benefit of his supporters.
In short, the creation of this High Council for the Transition (HCT) and of the Body for the Control of Government Action (OCAG) seems to be part of a collection of institutions whose lifespan depends on the political situation in which they were negotiated. In a word, the future of this December 21 Accord seems compromised like all the others before it.
After the Agreement of December 21 became official once the "National consensus for an inclusive transition and transparent elections" was published in Le Moniteur, the official journal of the Republic dated January 3, 2023 and the installation of the HCT in office on Monday, February 6, 2023, the three members of this organization, Mirlande H. Manigat, Laurent Saint-Cyr and Pastor Calixte Fleuridor, had the honor of participating or attending their first Council of Ministers under the presidency of Ariel Henry at the National Palace on Wednesday February 8, 2023. A presence that gives them the feeling of belonging to the regime.
Translated by CHIP editors
Posted March 7, 2023