It has been a bit over two months since the government of Haiti fell. What do you mean the government fell, say you? Isn’t Rene Preval still President of Haiti? Yes, indeed. Mr. Preval is still the head of state. And yes, the government fell, but this time just as contemplated by the Constitution that was ratified back in 1987, but implemented haltingly during the last 20 years.
Haitian Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis got the boot when the Haitian Parliament, seized by the urgency of destructive and destabilizing food riots delivered a vote of no confidence. As a result he and his cabinet serve as caretakers while the President and Parliament settle on a new Prime Minister. So far, they have not been able to. This is progress, no?
Perhaps in recognition of the need for enlightened management of the economy, President Preval nominated Haiti’s representative to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) as the next Prime Minister. The Senate approved of the nomination of Ericq Pierre, but the House rejected it, claiming that he could not prove that he was in fact a red-blooded Haitian. Go figure!
During the haggling over Ericq Pierre or Pierre Ericq Pierre’s Haitian bona fides, concern about brutal and apparently unchecked wave of kidnappings took the spotlight away from concerns about belly aches. So… President Preval nominated his consiglieri Robert Manuel as the architect/poet turned crime buster who could deal with criminals with an iron fist. Last week, the House once again turned down the President’s nominee on the basis that he had not met the basic residency requirements. Manuel had returned from a self-imposed exile in 2005 to manage Preval’s campaign for a second presidential term. Haiti’s Constitution requires at least a 5-year continuous residency.
It’s back to the drawing board for the President and the Parliament. But as we wait for the third act, I wonder whether talking past each other is not in fact the real problem that Haitians face in Haiti and in the Diaspora.To use a cliche, why can’t Haitians all get along? Maybe you have the answer to this simple query. If you do, I invite you to share your thoughts by posting a comment below.