- Wednesday, 15 February 2012 21:05
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (defend.ht) – Is Garry Conille in his last days as Prime Minister? The question was asked by a columnist at the Haitian newspaper Le Nouvelliste this Wednesday. An interrogation comes while the PM is in an open conflict with President Martelly and his own government on the dual-citizenship issue.
The president told the ministers not to comply with the senate investigation while the PM asked them to do so to avoid a political crisis.
Is Garry Conille in his last days as prime minister? One has to ask.
Since Monday, many scenarios are considered: resignation or dismissal by the parliament, and even the runaway, in the Haitian way.
Some have already begun predicting a round of contenders to find a replacement or a government that will manage daily affairs for months without a prime minister.
The PM was opposed to his ministers on the dual citizenship issue. They all signed on Monday a resolution not to comply with the senate investigation. The prime minister refused to endorse the resolution with his signature. He even asked them to comply and to submit their documents and appear before the Senate Commission as requested.
When asked earlier this year, several senators had expressed concern that the nation is on the verge of a crisis. They did not specify the nature of the crisis or that it would occur so quickly.
In January, already simmering under the hot ashes of Parliament, this case verification of the nationality of members of the government and president took foot.
Taken as a joke launched by Senator Jean-Charles Moise (Nord/Inite), this case has gathered moss on its way to becoming a rock in the big courtyard of the government. A monumental thorn it became.
As the week progressed, more ironically was President Martelly on the issue, who said that everything was fine. We thought it was a little crisis going towards its conclusion, wrote Frantz Duval of Le Nouvelliste.
Then came the altercation, seasoned with big words – that one could not mention in this forum – at the Prime Minister’s residence between the president and parliamentarians.
The seriousness of the issue of nationality got public on Sunday during the Carnival in Jacmel, when Senator Jean-Baptiste Bien-Aime (Nord-Est/Inite) questioned the president on the issue.
Following the parade, a resolution the was taken by the Cabinet of Ministers Monday and made public Tuesday by the president who came to put a breaking point to the questions.
But in fact this only led us to another chapter.
In response, the Senate, through Senator Joseph Lambert (Sud-Est/Inite), threatened to take action against recalcitrant ministers, while some government members – nine secretaries of state – have already filed their parts before the investigating commission that he chaired and further, received a public agreement to comply from the prime minister prior.
Already lawyers throughout the nation are sharpening their arguments. Those close to the presidency are inflexible saying no one should have to submit documents, unless before a competent tribunal, dismissing the powers of the legislature.
Other lawyers laugh on radio saying there is no court in the land but the parliament, that can try members of the government.
Former Minister of Justice, Camille Leblanc, believes that the government creates conditions to judge members of government even President Martelly, by the High Court of Justice that is the Senate. “The president is accountable to Parliament for judgment if he commits a crime against the Constitution. An alien who pretends to be a Haitian commits a crime. The natural judge of the President of the Republic is the Parliament. This is the same for the ministers. The Senate and Chamber of Deputies may decide to refer any minister,” said the former minister and lawyer.
“The government does not have to show proof of Ministers to Parliament. President, Prime Minister, their teams would have ensured that all the ministers and secretaries of state are in compliance with the Constitution and laws of the Republic,” said an observer, anonymous that would consider himself neutral.
“Maybe the president seeks dismissal of the government,” says Attorney Carlos Hercules, President of the Port-au-Prince Bar.
Garry Conille is the only one who wants to voluntarily submit his documents to Parliament. Will he have time to do so?