Skip to content
Home » Haiti’s Prime Minister Resigns As Law And Order Collapses

Haiti’s Prime Minister Resigns As Law And Order Collapses

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption, Ariel Henry

Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry has agreed to resign, the chair of the Caribbean group of countries has said, following weeks of mounting pressure and increasing violence in the country.

It comes after regional leaders met in Jamaica on Monday to discuss a political transition in Haiti.

Mr Henry is currently stranded in Puerto Rico after being prevented by armed gangs from returning home.

He had led the country since the former president’s assassination in July 2021.

Speaking following the meeting in Kingston, Caribbean community chair and Guyana President Irfaan Ali said: “We acknowledge his resignation upon the establishment of a transitional presidential council and naming of an interim prime minister.”

Heavily armed gangs have controlled the streets of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince in recent days, demanding the resignation of the unelected prime minister.

Port-au-Prince and the surrounding region is under a month-long state of emergency, while a curfew has been extended.

Mr Henry had been in Kenya to sign a deal on the deployment of an international security force to help tackle violence when a coalition of gangs attacked police stations and stormed two of Haiti’s largest prisons.

A plane carrying Mr Henry was stopped from landing following sustained attacks at Haiti’s international airport.

He has expressed a wish to return to Haiti but the security situation has to improve before he is able to do so, according to the US which was at the talks in Kingston on Monday.

A senior US official said Mr Henry first made the decision to step down on Friday but he had waited for an official announcement so talks could take place.

US Secretary of State Blinken committed a further $100m (£78m) to the 1,000-strong UN-backed security force Kenya is expected to lead in Haiti.

The proposed US contribution to the security force now stands at $300m following Mr Blinken’s announcement, with a further $33m allocated for humanitarian aid.

The Caricom group of Caribbean leaders, alongside the US and representatives from Haiti, also discussed the framework of the political transition.

President Ali said the transitional presidential council would have two observers and seven voting members, including representatives from several coalitions, the private sector and civil society, and one religious leader.

The council has been mandated to “swiftly” appoint an interim prime minister, he said, adding that anyone intending to run in Haiti’s next elections will not be able to participate.

It is hoped the council will pave the way for the first elections in Haiti since 2016. Mr Henry, in power since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, had repeatedly postponed elections, saying security must be restored first.

Haiti: The basics

The Caribbean country shares a border with the Dominican Republic and has an estimated population of 11.5 millionIt has a land area of 27,800 sq km, which is slightly smaller than Belgium and about the same size as the US state of MarylandChronic instability, dictatorships and natural disasters in recent decades have left Haiti the poorest nation in the Americas An earthquake in 2010 killed more than 200,000 people and caused extensive damage to infrastructure and the economyA UN peacekeeping force was put in place in 2004 to help stabilise the country and only withdrew in 2017In July 2021, President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated by unidentified gunmen in Port-au-Prince. Amid political stalemate, the country continues to be wracked by unrest and gang violence