Establishment of transitional Presidential Council in Haiti paves way for new elections

– Caricom lauds move, remains ready to assist country to return to normalcy

The Caribbean Community (Caricom), which is chaired by President Dr. Irfaan Ali, has lauded the creation of the Transitional Presidential Council in Haiti, which paves the way for that beleaguered country to eventually hold elections and return to some semblance of normalcy after weeks of gang-fuelled violence.
In a statement on Friday, the Heads of Government of Caricom welcomed the announcement, made through a decree, that a nine-member Transitional Presidential Council, including seven voting and two non-voting members, had been appointed.
“Caricom has supported Haiti, its sister nation, through the challenging process of arriving at a Haitian-owned formula for governance that will take the troubled country through elections to the restoration of the lapsed state institutions and constitutional government,” Caricom said in its statement.

Caricom Chairman, President Dr Irfaan Ali

“Following on from the agreements reached in Kingston, Jamaica on 11 March, which brought together a diverse group of Haitian political, private sector, civil society and faith-based stakeholders, the Transitional Presidential Council has devised a framework setting out the creation, organization and functioning of the Council, and arrived at a political accord that articulates the way forward.”
According to the Caricom Heads of Government, they “fully endorse” the principles of the political accord. Particular note was also taken of Article 16, which states, “The mission of the Presidential Council is to put Haiti back on the road to dignity, democratic legitimacy, stability and sovereignty, and to ensure the proper functioning of the State’s institutions.
“It is also clear that one of the priorities of the newly installed Presidential Council will be to urgently address the security situation, so that Haitians can go about their daily lives in a normal manner; safely access food, water and medical services; children can return to school; women can move around without fear of horrific abuses; and so that businesses can reopen.
“There are still daunting challenges ahead. Caricom stands ready to continue to support the Haitian people and their leaders as they determine their future in a sovereign manner through this transitional period on the path to stability, security and long-term sustainable development for Haiti,” Caricom has further said.
On Friday, Haiti formally announced the creation of the nine-member Transitional Presidential Council which will be tasked with choosing the country’s next Prime Minister and Cabinet, a long-awaited move, considering the spate of violence in Haiti.
It was announced in the decree that the Council would exercise certain presidential powers until a new president-elect can be inaugurated, no later than February 7, 2026. The council’s mandate will thus end on that date, with no provision for an extension.
Previously embattled Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry had announced he would resign once the council had been created and a new Prime Minister chosen. Henry’s announcement in March had come amid mounting pressure from a spiralling security breakdown and concerted efforts from Caricom and Haitian stakeholders, with the assistance of the international community, to broker a way forward.
Coming out of these crucial talks among Caricom Heads in Jamaica on how to return Haiti to a state of normalcy, the regional bloc had announced that the Presidential Council would be established to guide Haiti towards elections and the restoration of order.
This announcement was made by Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley when she addressed the media at the press conference following the talks. Mottley said 80 to 90 per cent of proposals put on the table were agreed to by the stakeholders.
Further, Mottley explained that the next interim Prime Minister would work with the Presidential Council to establish a government. Additionally, a provisional Electoral Council would be established as a critical institution.
Mottley noted that, as a regional community, Caricom has agreed with its international partners on four principles, including that persons on the Presidential Council should not run in any future elections in Haiti.
Haiti has been engulfed in turmoil since the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. The streets have since been overrun by gangs, and there has been a continuous cycle of violence.
That violence flared even more when, in February, criminal gangs in the capital Port-au-Prince conducted coordinated attacks targeting police stations, prisons, critical infrastructure, and civilian sites in the city.
On March 2, armed gang members raided two penitentiaries, reportedly freeing some 3800 inmates, after which Haitian authorities announced a three-day State of Emergency and imposed a nighttime curfew.