Haiti lawmakers reject leader’s 2nd pick for PM

Haiti leader suffers another set back
Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Hait­ian law­mak­ers rejected Pres­i­dent Michel Martelly’s sec­ond pick for prime min­is­ter Tues­day, deliv­er­ing a major blow to the new leader as he strug­gles to get a gov­ern­ment in place almost three months after tak­ing office.

In a some­time rau­cous debate that began in the after­noon and lasted into the night, 16 sen­a­tors voted against the nom­i­na­tion of Bernard Gousse, a con­tro­ver­sial for­mer jus­tice min­is­ter. The rest of the 30-member Sen­ate refrained from voting.

The rejec­tion of Gousse as Martelly’s sec­ond choice for Haiti’s No. 2 offi­cial means the pres­i­dent will begin the selec­tion process all over again, which stands to push back the poten­tial instal­la­tion of a Cab­i­net by sev­eral weeks if not longer.

The hold up has ham­pered the Martelly administration’s efforts to make head­way on imple­ment­ing poli­cies that would help Haitians recover from last year’s crip­pling earthquake.

Martelly’s first pick as prime min­is­ter, busi­ness­man Daniel-Gerard Rouzier, was turned down by the Cham­ber of Deputies because of ques­tions over his cit­i­zen­ship and taxes. But Gousse, an attor­ney, seemed like a can­di­date who would meet even more oppo­si­tion because he was so controversial.

A local law firm filed a peti­tion last month for the leg­is­la­ture to inves­ti­gate Gousse. The lawyers alleged he was guilty of false impris­on­ment and being an accom­plice to mur­der dur­ing his time as jus­tice min­is­ter in the interim gov­ern­ment that took office after a vio­lent rebel­lion in 2004 drove then-President Jean-Bertrand Aris­tide into exile.

Gousse resigned back then amid charges that he was per­se­cut­ing Aris­tide supporters.

Despite Gousse’s record, Martelly expressed con­fi­dence that law­mak­ers would approve his choice for prime min­is­ter but it wasn’t clear why.

After Martelly sub­mit­ted Gousse as a nom­i­nee, sen­a­tors from dif­fer­ent polit­i­cal par­ties got together and called them­selves the Group of 16. They united over their oppo­si­tion of Gousse as a poten­tial prime minister.

That same sen­ti­ment played out in the Sen­ate debate Tues­day as law­mak­ers debated Gousse’s papers, qual­i­fi­ca­tions, and whether he obtained a cer­tifi­cate show­ing he had a clean record as a pub­lic offi­cial from his time as jus­tice minister.

Before the vote late Tues­day night, it was clear how many of the sen­a­tors felt.

“The Group of 16 is going to vote against Gousse no mat­ter what,” said Eval­liere Beau­plan, a mem­ber of the Group of 16. “He’s not going to make it through.”

Sen. Youri Latortue who fought for Gousse to be approved said he couldn’t under­stand why the nom­i­nee was turned down. Gousse’s paper­work was in order, Latortue said


About fromourisland

Gardener, knitter, wife, mother of 2, grandmother, and lots more.
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