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  • A demonstrator walks past a burning barricade during anti-government protests in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, February 15, 2019.

    A demonstrator walks past a burning barricade during anti-government protests in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, February 15, 2019. | Photo: REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

Published 17 February 2019

In a speech given late Saturday, Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Henry Céant said the country's problems are rooted in three areas; corruption, and the inequality and decades of bad governance, and argued that the only way out of the crisis, is dialogue.

Amid tense scenes in the Caribbean nation of Haiti, Prime Minister Jean-Henry Céant has called for a series of privilegs to be reduced, which includes a 30 percent reduction of the Office of the Prime Minister's budget, as well as the withdrawal of privileges to the State's top officials.

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Haiti's President Calls for Dialogue Following Street Protests

These administration cuts are the latest in an effort to eliminate corruption and smuggling in the country. 

Céant, in a speech given Saturday, promised to investigate the whereabouts of the US$2B from the Venezuelan PetroCaribe discount oil program that was supposed to be invested into programs for the poor, according to the Miami Herald.

He said Haiti's problems are rooted in three areas; corruption, and the inequality and decades of bad governance, and argued that the only way out of the crisis, is dialogue.

"It's been 10 days since children have been unable to go to school, hospitals can't provide healthcare, big businesses and small businesses can't function," he said, addressing the nation.

"It's been 10 days since the government lost a lot of money. At the same time, the population has suffered a lot. Because of the roadblocks, it cannot find water, can't eat, nor find gas nor electricity. All of this can take us to deep humanitarian crisis."

Céant reiterated that "unnecessary privileges will be withdrawn from state officials," with fuel and telephone expenses, and "useless trips abroad," among the many requests of the Prime Minister.

TeleSUR also reported that he is considering an increase in the minimum wage, and the reduction of the price of food.

The street demonstrations began on Feb.7, with many demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moïse as well as urgent calls to address the socioeconomic crisis that crosses the Caribbean island.

To date, unofficial reports indicate that at least eight people have died in the demonstrations, while the opposition raises the figure to 50. However, there is no official information on the number of deaths nor the circumstances in which they have alleged to have died.

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