Opposition parties call for more demonstrations after Haitian president refuses to resign

 Haitian President Jovenel Moise
Haitian President Jovenel Moise

Embattled Haitian President, Jovenel Moise, says he has no plans of encouraging another 1986, when then president Jean-Claude ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier fled the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country after protracted opposition-led demonstrations against his administration.

Moise, speaking publicly for the first time in nearly a week, said that it would be “irresponsible” on his part to step down in light of persistent demonstrations being staged by opposition parties for his removal from office amidst claims of corruption.

“It would be irresponsible on my part.”

— Moise

“It would be irresponsible on my part for me to stand here today, to sign and submit a letter of resignation and say ‘I am leaving’ and leave the country like this and the system regenerates itself,”  Moïse told an impromptu news conference on the grounds of the National Palace.

The crisis in Haiti was triggered by the publication in January 2019 of a report on the Venezuela-funded PetroCaribe Oil initiative, under which Caracas provided oil and other petroleum products to Haiti under a preferential agreement.

Moise has denied any wrongdoing and last week named former prime minister Evans Paul to head a team that would hold discussions with all stakeholders.

“However long it takes, I am ready for dialogue. We don’t want to have another 1986,” he said, noting also that the economic situation in the country is also as a result of the failure to have his government ratified by the Parliament.

“Parliament spent eight months refusing to give us a government,” said Moïse, who came to office in 2017.

But opposition leaders have immediately rejected Moïse’s bid for talks, saying his offer was “not credible” and called for more street protests.

“Mr Jovenel Moise does not have the moral authority to attack the guards of the exclusionary system that we are fighting today because his election campaign was betrothed by these people,” said Haiti’s Opposition leader André Michel.