0

Haiti's Prime Minister Resigns Amid Fuel Price Hike Fallout

In this March 2017 file photo, Haiti's Prime Minister Dr. Jack Guy Lafontant stands on stage during his confirmation ceremony at the National Palace, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Lafontant resigned Saturday, amid criticism for his failed attempt to increase fuel prices. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery, File)

In this March 2017 file photo, Haiti's Prime Minister Dr. Jack Guy Lafontant stands on stage during his confirmation ceremony at the National Palace, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Lafontant resigned Saturday, amid criticism for his failed attempt to increase fuel prices. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery, File)

By EZEQUIEL ABIU LOPEZ and EVENS SANON, Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haitian Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant resigned Saturday amid calls for him to step down over his handling of a failed plan to raise fuel prices that set off a wave of deadly protests.

Lafontant told Haiti's Chamber of Deputies that he sent President Jovenel Moise his resignation letter. Moise confirmed via Twitter that he had accepted Lafontant's resignation along with those of other Cabinet members.

The prime minister's abrupt resignation came ahead of a vote on a motion of censure Lafontant, a first step toward asking that Moise name a new prime minister to form a Cabinet to handle the crisis. The prime minister is the second highest official in Haiti after the president.

Lafontant was to answer questions about the July 6-8 riots that followed the government's attempt to raise fuel prices by up to 51 percent as part of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund. At least seven people were killed and dozens of businesses were looted during the unrest.

Instead, Lafontant (LA-FAH-TON) used the opportunity to announce his resignation, while in various parts of Haiti's small protests were held demanding the head of state step down.

As the session began, chamber president Gary Bodaeu wrote on his Twitter account that the legislature "is at a crossroads in history; it must assume its responsibilities." He had earlier called the price hikes "untimely" and "inoperative."

Lafontant (LA-FAH-TON) suspended the fuel prices increases after protests erupted last week but the disturbances continued and calls for the prime minister to resign grew, including from the opposition and some business groups.

Lafontant, a 57-year-old doctor who took office in March 2017, had said the price hikes of 38 percent to 51 percent for gasoline, diesel and kerosene were needed for Haiti to balance its budget.

Government officials agreed to reduce subsidies for fuel in February as part of an assistance package with the IMF. The agreement also included increased spending on social services and infrastructure and improved tax collection in an effort to modernize the economy of one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere.

Lafontant's replacement will be nominated by Moise and confirmed by the Senate.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 2 months, 1 week ago

Lafontant was to answer questions about the July 6-8 riots that followed the government's attempt to raise fuel prices by up to 51 percent as part of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund. At least seven people were killed and dozens of businesses were looted during the unrest.

This is what ultimately happens to all political leaders who foolishly believe the IMF, IDB, etc. provide advice that is in the best interest of their country and its people. These international agencies represent only the interests of their constituents in the developed countries. Their mission is to destabilize lesser developed countries, mainly by encouraging and incentivizing foolish politicians to bury their country in unsustainable debt, so that their country's natural resources (sun, sand and sea in our case) and utility enterprises can be acquired by the foreign interests these international agencies represent for mere pennies on the dollar.

Lafontant at least did the right thing in resigning......something Minnis would never do unless the people literally threw him out of parliament on to the street. With the recent 60% increase in VAT and $5+ per gallon gasoline prices at the pump, Bahamians and illegal immigrants alike are on the verge of massive street protests and uncontrollable rioting and looting. The smallest of sparks will now set this off and that will be the end of our tourism industry. The writing is clearly on the wall thanks to our dumb politicians who continue to follow the advice of the IMF, IDB, etc., which advice has sucked just about every dollar out of the pockets of our local consumers, leaving the wealthy in our society with no incentive to make productive investments that create jobs. And we all know what happens when their is no velocity of money in an economy.

1

Well_mudda_take_sic 2 months, 1 week ago

"their" should obviously read "there" in last sentence to my post above.

But much more importantly, our lame-brain political leaders like PM Minnis and DPM Turnquest must refrain from turning the Bahamas into a vassal state controlled by international agencies that do not represent the interests of our country and its people. The Bahamian people have every right to expect that their elected officials will not permit their duty and responsibility to establish social and economic policies in the best interest of the Bahamas to be usurped by foreign controlled international agencies like the IMF, IDB, OECD, WTO, etc.

0

CaptainCoon 2 months, 1 week ago

Always will be a failed state.

0

Jetflt 2 months, 1 week ago

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that when you impose such an unbearable burden on the backs of your people in one of the poorest countries on the planet, what did Lafontant think was going to happen?? This is what happens when leaders are out of touch with their people. I’ll bet he’s no longer in Haiti!

“The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world."

And the IMF is supposed to address poverty, securing financial stability, promoting high employment and helping build nations........really????.........what a bunch of BS that is!!!

0

Alex_Charles 2 months ago

he was being pressured by none other than a French woman technocrat within the IMF.

Haiti is broke and subsidization of fuel further deepens how broke the problem. The government wasn't 'raising prices', they were cutting subsidies to redirect to education and healthcare.

0

DDK 2 months ago

Apparently there are a growing number of foreign (including Bahamian) business enterprises in Haiti. Taxes do have to be paid in order for the Government to subsidize, or partially subsidize fuel, or anything else. It would appear the IMF had a direct roll in this latest mess in Haiti.

0

Alex_Charles 2 months ago

they did. But it was a good suggestion, bad timing, even worse that it was't gradual instead of over night

0

DDK 2 months ago

That seems about right. Excellent idea though, to redirect funds to education and healthcare..............

0

Well_mudda_take_sic 2 months ago

To Alex_Charles: It is never a "good suggestion" for any international agency that has played an important hand in the bankrupting of a nation to drive a dagger into the hearts of its people. Rumours abound that Sir Snake (Frankie Wilson) will be soon be jacking up in a big way the price of gasoline at gas pumps throughout the Bahamas consistent with an agreement between the IMF and the Bahamian government. The Minnis-led FNM government should be forthrightly informing the Bahamian people of the details of all agreements/commitments made by the current and past Bahamian governments with international agencies like the IMF and WTO that must be honoured unless contested as having been imposed by outright foreign coercion in our sovereign affairs.

0

Alex_Charles 2 months ago

what agreement? We have 3 stages taxes levied on gasoline and diesel. I'm having a hard time imagining any agreement changing the tax structure, unless you're meaning we're going to be raising taxes on Gasoline again.

0

DDK 2 months ago

Oh Mudda. for that we would need accountability and transparency, the illusive Government In The Sunshine!

0

Sign in to comment