Haiti prime minister announces resignation as gang war continues News
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Haiti prime minister announces resignation as gang war continues

Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry announced Monday that he will formally resign after a transitional council is installed to lead the Caribbean state, which has been plagued by gang violence. Henry has been stuck in Puerto Rico, being prevented from returning following a trip to Kenya to discuss the deployment of a multinational task force to stabilize Haiti. 

“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 said as part of his resignation statement.

Regional leaders also met in Jamaica on Monday and agreed to form a new transitional government in Haiti led by a seven-member presidential council that will choose a new interim prime minister and prepare the nation for elections. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), a regional organization comprising 15 member states, expressly stated that it will exclude from the council anyone currently facing criminal charges; anyone who has been convicted in any jurisdiction; anyone who is under UN Sanction; anyone who intends to run in the next election in Haiti; and anyone who opposes the UN Security Council Resolution 2699.

The island nation has been in turmoil since the previous incumbent, president Jovenel Moïse, was assassinated in July 2021 by Colombian mercenaries. Since then, gangs have gained control of much of the country including large parts of the capital, Port-au-Prince. Violence has increased in the past few weeks after armed gangs stormed a major prison and freed 3,700 prisoners. Jimmy Cherizier, a former police officer and gang leader known as Barbecue, who leads a federation of Haitian gangs, has demanded Henry’s resignation, warning of even more violence if Henry stays in power.

Haiti has faced a series of military revolts and foreign occupations since it first gained independence from France in 1804. The instability has increased following a 2010 earthquake that destroyed much of the infrastructure on the island.