PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, Feb 18, CMC – Prime Minister Jean-Henry Céant has “strongly condemned” the burning of the United States flag by demonstrators over the last weekend, as Washington urged all “political actors” in the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country to “protect their democracy”.
“We condemn the dishonest act done on the flag of our American friends. We also condemn attacks on embassies of friendly countries such as Peru and Italy. These acts are not good at all and do not honour the pride of the nation,” Céant said in a statement.
Opposition political parties have been staging street demonstrations in support of their calls for President Jovenel 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.
Over the last weekend, nearly 200 demonstrators burnt an American flag in Port-au-Prince, calling on Russia to assist Haiti to resolve the crisis.
The protesters accused Washington of being responsible for the situation in Haiti, having “put President Jovenel Moïse in power”. Rejecting US interference and the occupation of Haiti, protesters shouted loudly “Down Americans, Long Live Putin”.
The opposition parties have claimed that at least 10 people have died and more than 150 injured since the new round of demonstrations began on February 7.
Over the weekend, US National Security Advisor, John Bolton, said he met with Haiti’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Bocchit Edmond, “to express the constant support of the United States and his friendship with Haiti.
“We urge all Haitian political actors to respect and protect their democracy, to engage in dialogue and to end political violence,” he added.
On Saturday night, Prime Minister Jean-Henry Céant outlined a series of measures, including a decrease in the price of basic commodities, in a bid to end the street protests.
In a 20 minute television broadcast, Céant said there would be a 30 per cent cut in the national budget allocation to the office of the Prime Minister and that he is also suggesting that the Presidency and the Parliament do the same.
Céant said since he became head of the government, he had received the first preliminary report on the PetroCaribe probe and in a bid to accelerate and allow the country to recover the lost funds, he had announced the appointment of a new director of the Central Financial Intelligence Unit (UCREF) and a new director of the Anti-Corruption Unit (ULCC).
He said that the Government Commissioner will take faster action on the report of the Superior Court of Accounts and that the Superior Council of the Judiciary (CSPJ) will put more judges to work on the PetroCaribe file.