Haiti: PM forced out after four months in office

Haitian prime minister Garry Conille submitted a letter of resignation the morning of Feb. 24 as rumors grew of tension between him and President Michel Martelly (“Sweet Micky”). The prime minister was said to have become more and more isolated in the government; according to several sources no other government ministers appeared at a cabinet meeting he called the day before. Conille only served four months. After rejecting two previous choices, Parliament approved Conille’s appointment in October, and he took office on Oct. 18. At the time Martelly said that he and his prime minister were”a winning pair of dice.”

Conille is a longtime associate of former US president Bill Clinton (1993-2001), now the United Nations special envoy for Haiti and an influential figure in the country. The US embassy issued a statement on Oct. 24 praising Conille and calling for political stability and the rapid confirmation of a new prime minister who could organize the parliamentary and local elections scheduled for the spring. (AlterPresse, Haiti, Feb. 24; Haïti Libre, Haiti, Feb. 24)

Martelly can point to few accomplishments after nine months in office, and resentment may be growing. On Feb. 17 rocks were reportedly thrown at him when he and a group of supporters attempted to enter the Ethnology Faculty of the State University of Haiti (UEH), near the Champ de Mars park and the president’s official residence, the National Palace. According to a witness,”people who were not police” in the president’s group then forced their way into the Ethnology Faculty’s grounds, throwing rocks and beating students with clubs. Gunfire was also reported, possibly from police agents accompanying the president. According to an official communiqué, the president”was able to return safe and sound to the grounds of the National Palace.” (AlterPresse, Feb. 17)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Feb. 26.

See our last post on Haiti.