PORT-AU-PRINCE – Haiti officially has a new elected president.
Jovenel Moise was installed this morning as the French speaking nation’s 58th president in a brief ceremony that was attended by former President Michel Martelly, as well as Caribbean and international dignitaries.
The 48-year-old entrepreneur and political novice took the oath of office at the Haitian Parliament, a year after Martelly left office without a successor and Jocelerme Privert filled the post in the interim.
With a Bible in hand, Moise vowed to protect the Constitution and work to improve the lives of Haitians.
Senate President Youri Latortue, who led the ceremony, assured the new president that he had the support of Parliament and the country, adding that Haitians were ready to get to work to restore stability.
“The Haitian people are ready to assume their responsibility with the Haiti National Police and Haitian army. You are the president of all Haitians, regardless of their political family or ideology,” Latortue said.
President Moise is expected to deliver a speech later today outlining his Government’s priorities.
Guyana’s president David Granger represented the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) at the ceremony that also attended by Trinidad and Tobago’s President Anthony Carmona.
Granger, the incoming CARICOM chairman, told the Miami Herald ahead of the ceremony that the regional group was standing behind Moise.
“It’s not just a matter of showing solidarity with a country that has suffered more than any other CARICOM member state in terms of environmental disasters, but it’s also an important statement in terms of our confidence in the democratic process in this country,” he said.
US President Donald Trump also set a delegation to the inauguration. His government later also sent a message of congratulations.
Moise shrugged off a contentious election victory in October 2015 that was later thrown out after widespread allegations of fraud, to win 55 per cent of the vote in a rerun last November.
His swearing-in was boycotted by a number of Haitian lawmakers, including four senators. They had raised concern about Moise’s fitness for the job in light of money laundering investigation levelled against him.
The Associated Press reported yesterday that government prosecutor Danton Leger ordered an investigative judge to look deeper into the allegations.
Moise has dismissed the allegations as a witch hunt being led by his political opponents.