Haiti President Impeachment Trial Cancelled


Haiti President Impeachment Trial Cancelled

Haitian house members presented a letter to the Senate and the vice-president in June, urging them to indict the president on corruption.

A hearing in the Haitian lower house Aug. 7 to decide whether or not to proceed with an impeach process for President Jovenel Moise was cancelled because a quorum was not reached. Only five of the necessary 80 legislators were present at the hearing.

Last June, members of the House of Representatives presented a letter to the head of the Senate and to Vice President Gary Bodeau, urging them to officially accuse the president of corruption, funds misappropriation, and repeated violations of the country’s constitution.

They had also firmly denounced the governance of Moise which led Haiti to the brink of collapse with extremely poor economic and social indicators over the last two years, in a country that already was already the poorest in the Western Hemisphere.

On Tuesday, meetings took place between several house members to strengthen alliances that could allow them to reach the 80 necessary votes to start a process of impeachment.

Some analysts said that reaching two-thirds of the 111 lawmakers would be difficult, warning that some could use this confusing political situation to “solve their own affairs” and obtain certain privileges.

Moise on his part said he was “not worried” about talk of impeachment, saying it was mathematically and politically impossible for the house to reach the 80 votes necessary to indict him and to move the process forward into the Senate.

Since February, Haiti has been the scene of massive and deadly protests by demonstrators demanding the resignation of Moise and his administration amid major corruption allegations against the president.

When the country was already dealing with a tense economic crisis and high inflation, the Senate published a report accusing dozens of officials and heads of private firms of having embezzled US$2 billion from Petrocaribe, the cut-price-oil aid program that Venezuela offered to several Caribbean countries, among them Haiti.

The funds were meant to finance infrastructure development along with health, education and social programs across the impoverished nation.

The Carribean country of 11 million people has been struggling for decades to overcome extreme poverty along with widespread corruption. These last ten years were particularly harsh for Haiti, which went through one of the world’s deadliest earthquakes in 2010, an epidemic of cholera, brought in accidentally by United Nations peacekeepers, and Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.