Haiti PM Shuffles Cabinet After Ultimatum

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Haitian President Jovenel Moise (C-R) and Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant (C-L), at Lafontant's investiture in March 2017 (AFP Photo/HECTOR RETAMAL) More

Port-au-Prince (AFP) – Haitian Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant, a political novice just over a year into governing the impoverished Caribbean country, has made his first cabinet shuffle after pressure from legislators.

Following his appointment in February 2017, Lafontant, a doctor by profession, nominated his first cabinet of 18 ministers overnight Monday, including five women.

They lack political experience except for a few technocrats.

On Thursday, a lawmaker who backs President Jovenel Moise — a banana exporter who is also a newcomer to politics — issued a 72-hour ultimatum for him to make ministerial changes.

The demand came after more than a month of pressure from lawmakers who publicly support the president.

Moise’s spokesman had said Friday that the president was not acting “under either pressure or threat from another power,” but in the end a shuffle took place.

State television overnight broadcast a recorded message from Lafontant announcing the cabinet changes, but there was no official explanation as to why the reshuffle occurred.

The changes are:

– Jean-Marie Reynaldo Brunet named minister of interior and territorial community. Until 2016, he was an acting mayor appointed by former president Michel Martelly in the absence of local elections.

– Jean Roody Aly appointed justice minister. He was previously the ministry’s director general.

– Joubert Angrand, who was coordinator of the national coffee institute, became agriculture minister.

– Guy Andre Junior Francois was named minister responsible for Haitians abroad. He is a former consul in Miami, which is home to most of the diaspora.

– Guyler C. Delva, a journalist, will head the Ministry of Culture and Communication, where he served as secretary of state for communication between 2012 and 2013.

Haiti is still recovering from Hurricane Matthew, which struck in 2016, and almost 40,000 people remain in makeshift camps eight years after an earthquake killed more than 200,000 people.

Since 2010, about 10,000 people have died from a cholera epidemic in Haiti.

By: AFP.com | April 24, 2018

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