Haiti’s PM Ariel Henry resigns amid threats of war from armed gangs


Ariel Henry, Haiti’s prime minister, has resigned following weeks of escalating violence in the country.


Mohamed Ali, Guyana’s president and the current chair of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said Henry tendered his resignation after CARICOM leaders held an emergency summit in Jamaica on the crisis in Haiti.


In a video address late Monday, the 74-year-old politician said his government would leave power after the establishment of a transitional council.


“We will be a caretaker government until they name a prime minister and a new cabinet,” Henry said in a video address.


 “I want to thank the Haitian people for the opportunity I had been granted. I’m asking all Haitians to remain calm and do everything they can for peace and stability to come back as fast as possible.”


Henry spoke from Puerto Rico where he has been stranded after his plane was denied permission to land in his country.


The embattled prime minister was in Kenya seeking support for a United Nations (UN)-backed Kenyan-led security force for Haiti, as part of efforts to “restore security”.


While he was away last week, the violence worsened.


The rebel group invaded two of Haiti’s main prisons in the capital city of Port-au-Prince, freeing over 4,000 inmates.


The gangs also attacked the National Palace, set part of the interior ministry on fire with petrol bombs, and carried out sustained attacks on the international airport.


Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier, the country’s most notorious gang leader, said the violence would not stop until the prime minister resigns.


Haiti has not had an election since 2016.


Henry, who had led the country supposedly on an interim basis since July 2021, following former President Jovenel Moïse’s assassination, had repeatedly postponed elections, saying security must be restored first.


Many Haitians had questioned his governing the country for this long without an elected president and accused him of corruption.


According to the Guyanese president, Henry’s interim successor will be appointed by a presidential council made up of two observers and seven voting members.


Ali added that anyone who intends to run in Haiti’s next elections will not be part of the transitional council.


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