Ariel Henry was sworn in as the country’s new prime minister on Tuesday amid political instability following the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise. The late president had asked Henry to take office a few days before he was shot in the capital, Port-au-Prince. At the time of the attack, Henry was embroiled in a political conflict with Haiti’s interim prime minister, Claude Joseph.
Joseph stepped down on Monday and said Henry’s appointment would pave the way for an election in September. Speaking at a ceremony in Port-au-Prince, the new prime minister called for unity, the BBC reported on Wednesday. Henry said one of my primary tasks would be to reassure the people that we would do everything to restore order and security.
Joseph, who has returned to his former role as foreign minister, joined him at the ceremony and warned of a tough challenge ahead. The inauguration took place as an official memorial to Moises, who was killed on 7 July at his private residence. His wife, Marine, was also shot, and she returned to Haiti last week after receiving medical treatment in the US.
Moises, 53, has ruled Haiti by decree since 2018. Before his death the country was mired in political and security crises, no functioning parliament, frequent anti-government protests and increased mass violence. Many of the details of the attack to assassinate the president remain a mystery.
Haitian police have indicted a group of 26 mainly foreign mercenaries, including 26 Colombians as well as two Haitian Americans. At least 20 have been detained in this case, while three were killed by the police and five are still absconding. Christian Emmanuel Sanon, a Haitian doctor from Florida, has been charged by police with conspiracy.
Henry said that all culprits, criminals and sponsors should be identified and brought before Haitian justice. He said that I hope that exemplary and objectionable sentences will not be uttered. The nation expects so much from its leaders that we never have to face such tragedy again.