Ariel Henry resigns as Haiti PM, paving way for new govt to take power

The nine-member council ‘transitional council’ was officially established

Haiti new government Representative Image | Reuters

Ariel Henry resigned on Thursday as prime minister of Haiti, leaving the way clear for a new government to be formed in the Caribbean country, which has been wracked by gang violence that killed or injured more than 2,500 people from January to March.

Henry presented his resignation in a letter signed in Los Angeles, dated April 24, and released on Thursday by his office on the same day that a council tasked with choosing a new prime minister and Cabinet for Haiti was sworn in.

Henry's remaining Cabinet meanwhile chose Economy and Finance Minister Michel Patrick Boisvert as the interim prime minister. It was not immediately clear when the transitional council would select its own interim prime minister.

The council was installed more than a month after Caribbean leaders announced its creation following an emergency meeting to tackle Haiti's spiralling crisis. Henry had pledged to resign once the council is installed.

The nine-member council, of which seven have voting powers, is also expected to help set the agenda of a new Cabinet. It will also appoint a provisional electoral commission, a requirement before elections can take place, and establish a national security council.

The council's non-renewable mandate expires February 7, 2026, at which date a new president is scheduled to be sworn in.

Gangs launched coordinated attacks that began on February 29 in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and surrounding areas. They burned police stations and hospitals, opened fire on the main international airport that has remained closed since early March and stormed Haiti's two biggest prisons, releasing more than 4,000 inmates. Gangs also have severed access to Haiti's biggest port.

The onslaught began while Prime Minister Henry was on an official visit to Kenya to push for a UN-backed deployment of a police force from the East African country. He remains locked out of Haiti.

Port-au-Prince is now almost completely sealed off because of air, sea and land blockades, Catherine Russell, UNICEF's director, said earlier this week.

The international community has urged the council to prioritise Haiti's widespread insecurity. Even before the attacks began, gangs already controlled 80 per cent of Port-au-Prince. The number of people killed in early 2024 was up by more than 50 per cent compared with the same period last year, according to a recent UN report.

It is impossible to overstate the increase in gang activity across Port-au-Prince and beyond, the deterioration of the human rights situation and the deepening of the humanitarian crisis, Mara Isabel Salvador, the UN special envoy for Haiti, said at a UN Security Council meeting on Monday.

Nearly 100,000 people have fled the capital in search of safer cities and towns since the attacks began. Tens of thousands of others left homeless after gangs torched their homes are now living in crowded, makeshift shelters across Port-au-Prince that only have one or two toilets for hundreds of residents.

Although I'm physically here, it feels like I'm dead, said Rachel Pierre, a 39-year-old mother of four children.

There is no food or water. Sometimes I have nothing to give the kids, she said as her 14-month-old suckled on her deflated breast.

Many Haitians are angry and exhausted at what their lives have become and blame gangs for their situation.

They're the ones who sent us here, said Chesnel Joseph, a 46-year-old math teacher whose school closed because of the violence and who has become the shelter's informal director. They mistreat us. They kill us. They burn our homes.


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