HAITI-Opposition parties call for two days of strike to force resignation of President Moise

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The Haitian government has called on the security agencies to arrest perpetrators of “acts of violence” as the Democratic and Popular Movement (DPM), an opposition grouping of 20 political parties, Monday called a two-day general strike to force President Jovenel Moise out of office.

“Instructions were passed to the police and the judiciary to put hands on the perpetrators of the acts of violence,” said Justice and Public Security Minister, Jean Roody Aly,  adding that all steps are being taken to facilitate the resumption of school activities on the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.

Prime Minister Jean-Henry Céant addressing the nation

The opposition parties have been staging street demonstrations in support of their calls for President Moise to step down, after accusing him of not investigating allegations of corruption in the previous government over PetroCaribe, an oil alliance of many Caribbean states with Venezuela to purchase oil on conditions of preferential payment.

But in a radio and television broadcast last week, Moise dismissed calls for his resignation.

“It is within the framework of the democracy that the Haitian people elected me president in elections free and honest as the wish the Constitution.

“During the five years of my presidency, no one, I mean nobody, whatever the pretext, cannot threaten the interests of the country or put the nation in danger. The strength of any democracy, it is the respect of the law,” Moise said.

The Secretary of State for Communications, Eddy Jackson Alexis, said the executive has already met several political actors in initiatives initiated by President Moïse to find a way out of the crisis.

“We are ready and already we are starting to sit down with all sectors to create a space that can lead to …freedom and well-being for the population,” he said.

In a weekend broadcast, Prime Minister Jean-Henry Céant, said after a difficult week of demonstrations, violence and paralysis of economic activities it was now time for all stakeholders to sit down together to develop the country.

Noting that Haiti is crossing “a difficult and dangerous crossroads,” Céant, said he was inviting all political forces to dialogue to “really solve the problems” and appealed to the private sector to work hand in hand to create wealth and prosperity.

“Haiti is our country…the moment has arrived so that together we can take it in hand,” Céant said, reiterating the government’s firm commitment to investigate allegations of irregularities in the management of PetroCaribe funds and assured that all those responsible will be prosecuted.

The investigating judge into the PetroCaribe probe, Ramoncite Accimé, said the investigations had been affected by the ongoing strike by lawyers of the Court of First Instance (TPI) who have protesting, since October 9,  the treatment meted out to them by the National Police of Haiti (PNH).

Several people have been killed and many others arrested since the demonstrations began earlier this month and last weekend Western countries and international organisations condemned the acts of violence occurring in Haiti and urged all stakeholders to “move the political dialogue forward in ways that advance the interests and aspirations of the Haitian people”.

The PDM said that said it met with diplomats and businessmen on the political crisis and according to its spokesman, André Michel, “we told them very clearly that the solution (involves) the resignation of President Jovenel Moïse, the main obstacle at the PetroCaribe trial”.

Meanwhile, the Senate has issued a statement condemning the acts of violence in the country.

It said it “vigorously condemns acts of violence that have resulted in material damage and deaths” including that of police officers and extends its sympathies to the parents and friends of the victims.

The Senate said it was calling on all stakeholders to be responsible and urged the executive “to continue and expand the social and political dialogue”.

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