Prime Minister Ariel Henry was sworn in on Wednesday in his new cabinet, more than four months after taking over the leadership of Haiti following the assassination of President Jovenel Mosse.
The appointments come as Haiti struggles with violence, kidnappings and an ongoing fuel shortage, for which powerful gangs have been blamed that have blocked gas distribution terminals.
“You accepted it under difficult circumstances,” Henry told his new cabinet.
He appointed nine ministers to various positions including foreign affairs, economy, justice, education and health.
Among those appointed is Jean Victor Genius, who will replace Claude Joseph as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship. Joseph briefly served as acting prime minister after Mosse was assassinated at his private home at the dawn of 7 July.
Henry warned that tough decisions lie ahead given the complex situation in Haiti, and said his administration was doing everything possible to ensure public safety with the resources it had.
“We are maximizing with the funds available to restore the authority of the state and remove those that need to be done away with,” he said. “One of the main responsibilities of this government is to create a safe and stable environment.”
Henry condemned the ongoing violence and called on criminals to lay down their weapons, or otherwise: “They will be neutralized and end up in prison or they will risk losing their lives.”
Haiti is struggling with a spike in gang-linked kidnappings, including the October 16 kidnapping of 17 missionaries affiliated with an Ohio-based religious organization. Two of them were released on Sunday, though no further details were given.
“As we rejoice about the two hostages released over the weekend, we continue to pray for the fifteen people still in captivity,” Christian aid ministries said in a statement on Wednesday.
Henry also spoke about fuel shortages and rising prices, saying that the government has invested thousands of dollars to subsidize gas, but it cannot sustain that situation for much longer. He said that he would resolve the issue in the near future.
In addition, Henry urged the new health minister to launch a campaign and encourage more people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk / Cabinet