Tisha Thompson reports from Port-au-Prince with video by Evan Raymond-King
Haiti’s Senate President, Michael Joseph, held a press conference Wednesday afternoon in Port-au-Prince to condemn the government for signing the bill to suspend three of Haiti’s main Constitutional guarantees. Those are: freedom of expression, independent judiciary and right to medical treatment. He said that by doing so, it would “open a major reservoir of constitutional (violations), instigate chaos.”
The government has refused to comment on the controversy and his statements were met with scorn.
“I want to ask, who is there in Haiti to understand what our President is trying to say? Who knows what our President is trying to say? Who is there? Who does he think he is fooling?” charged one Haitian political analyst. “We do not want anymore than our Constitution, for our rights to remain intact. We believe in it, we fought to have it and we never gave it up.”
“If President Jovenel Moise does not want to go as Prime Minister, in which case the President has to then replace him, as was the case with former Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, this is also the case with Mr. Jovenel Moise,” Joseph added.
CNN has reached out to PM Moise’s office for comment, but they have not responded to our messages.
President Jovenel Moise said on Friday that the three articles in question were taken from the Access to Information Law, and signed into law by the Prime Minister, Jude Celestin.
Although Celestin has issued a press release from the prime minister’s office in which he is quoted as saying, that he does not intend to violate the rule of law. However, according to some, former Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, who resigned last October to run for president, has taken the side of the opposition, with which he worked closely in the government. Former President Michel Martelly has already left the country.
Legislators have filed a motion of no confidence against the Prime Minister, demanding that the president recall the member of his government who signed the bill. However, Haitian legislation stipulates that as the Vice President, Gaston Latortue, is also a member of the opposition, the constitution allows Moise to sign the bill without the Vice President’s agreement.
Democratic Platform member, Albert Lopez, said Wednesday that the bill was not inclusive. “It does not constitute an approval because it does not include the right of free speech, doesn’t represent the right of people to go to the justice system, and does not represent the fundamental rights of access to medical health,” Lopez said. “This allows the government to do whatever it wants. The bill says ‘we will not discriminate, discriminate, discriminate’ and I disagree with that. I think this is a total disregard of the bill of rights.”