Haiti’s interim Prime Minister Garry Conille forms new government

New cabinet announced ahead of expected deployment of Kenyan-led international security force to Caribbean country.

Garry Conille
Haiti's transitional council tasked Garry Conille last month with leading a new government [File: Clarens Siffroy/AFP]

Haiti’s transitional council has announced the formation of a new government, replacing all the members of former Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s cabinet, as the country pushes to tackle economic woes and rampant gang violence.

The announcement on Tuesday came two weeks after the council appointed Garry Conille – a former regional director for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) – as interim prime minister.

Several ministers in the new cabinet are from outside the country’s political class.

Dominique Dupuy, Haiti’s representative at the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), will serve as the country’s foreign minister. Conille will also act as interior minister – a critical position that oversees the Haitian National Police.

Haitian authorities have been struggling to curb gang violence. Over the past three years, armed groups have launched organised attacks across the country, blocked fuel terminals and raided police stations in the capital Port-au-Prince and other cities.

The unrest has been exacerbated by a series of crises facing the country of more than 11.5 million people.

Haiti has suffered from periodic natural disasters, food insecurity, a cholera outbreak and long-standing political instability, including the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in 2021.

After the killing of Moise, then-Prime Minister Henry became the de facto leader of the country. But he faced questions over his legitimacy after he indefinitely postponed Haiti’s presidential and legislative elections.

Gang leaders and civil society groups had demanded Henry’s removal. He stepped down in April, enabling a transitional presidential council to take over the government.

Haiti has not held an election since 2016. Earlier this year, the US Department of State said the establishment of the new transitional council paves the way for “free and fair elections” in the country.

The international community, led by the United States, has been pushing to send a multinational security force to help quell the violence in Haiti. Kenya is set to lead the police force.

Kenyan President William Ruto said the UN-backed international officers will deploy to the Caribbean nation soon.

“The people of Haiti are maybe waiting, by the grace of God, that probably by next week or the other week, we shall send our police officers to restore peace,” Ruto said on Sunday.

The force will have the difficult task of restoring security and order in Haiti. According to UN estimates, 80 percent of Port-au-Prince and its surrounding areas are under the control or influence of criminal gangs, which have been accused of murder, kidnapping and sexual violence.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies