Finally, Haiti Has a New Prime Minister

He 'has an arduous task ahead of him,' facing rampant gang violence, deep poverty, inflation
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 29, 2024 1:00 AM CDT
New Haiti Prime Minister Selected
A woman crosses a storm drain filled with trash in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, May 27, 2024.   (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

UN development specialist Garry Conille was named Haiti's new prime minister Tuesday evening, nearly a month after a coalition within a fractured transitional council sought to choose someone else for the position, the AP reports. The long-awaited move comes as gangs continue to terrorize the capital of Port-au-Prince, opening fire in once peaceful neighborhoods and using heavy machinery to demolish several police stations and prisons. Council member Louis Gérald Gilles told the Associated Press that six out of seven council members with voting power chose Conille earlier Tuesday. He said one member, Laurent St. Cyr, was not in Haiti and therefore did not vote.

  • Conille has been UNICEF's regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean since January 2023 and previously served as Haiti's prime minister from October 2011 to May 2012 under then President Michel Martelly. Conille studied medicine and public health and helped develop health care in impoverished communities in Haiti, where he helped coordinate reconstruction efforts after the devastating 2010 earthquake.
  • He replaces Michel Patrick Boisvert, who was named interim prime minister after Ariel Henry resigned via letter in late April. Henry was on an official trip to Kenya when a coalition of powerful gangs launched coordinated attacks Feb. 29, seizing control of police stations, shooting at Haiti's main international airport and storming the country's two biggest prisons, releasing more than 4,000 inmates. Henry was locked out of the country by the attacks, with the airport in the Port-au-Prince capital remaining shuttered for nearly three months.
  • The selection of Conille as prime minister comes just weeks after former Haitian sports minister Fritz Bélizaire was chosen for the post in late April by a four-member coalition within the nine-member transitional council in a surprise announcement that angered many. Critics said proper procedure was not followed as dictated by the framework that established the council, so a new process was started to choose a prime minister, with dozens of names submitted for the post. The drawn-out process has been criticized by many, including the Montana Accord, a Haitian civil society group that has a representative on the council.
  • Gang violence is still surging in parts of Haiti's capital and beyond as Conille takes over the helm of the troubled Caribbean country awaiting the UN-backed deployment of a police force from Kenya and other countries.
(More Haiti stories.)

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