OAS Delegation Holding Discussions With Stakeholders in Haiti

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti – The delegation from the Organization of American States (OAS) is in Haiti holding discussions with various stakeholders even as the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country announced earlier this week the indefinite postponement of the constitutional referendum that had been scheduled for June 27.

Haiti protestHaitians protest against the government (File Phito)The OAS said that the mission, which comprises the permanent representatives to the hemispheric body of Canada, Costa Rica, Ecuador, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the United States, is being supported by officials from the OAS General Secretariat and the Special Representative of the OAS Secretary General in Haiti.

The OAS Permanent Council had on March 17 approved by consensus a resolution expressing concern over the grave political, security and human rights situation in Haiti and offered to send a Good Offices mission.

It said that an invitation was received from the Haitian government and that the mission will “meet with a range of stakeholders, including the government, opposition and civil society.

“The objective of the Good Offices Mission is to facilitate a dialogue that would lead to free and fair elections,” the statement said, adding that the mission is due to leave here on Thursday.

The Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) in announcing the postponement of the referendum said tit had taken the decision after consultations with the authorities of the Ministry of Health and several meetings with the members of the scientific unit regarding the coronavirus (COVID019) pandemic.

“Consequently, a new calendar of referendum and electoral activities will be adopted and published by the Council after the recommendations of the health authorities and the technical opinions of the executives of the electoral institution.,” said CEP President Guylande Mesadieu.

Haiti has recorded 325 deaths and 15, 435 positive cases of the virus since the first case was detected in March last year..

The constitutional referendum would have been the first referendum in the country since 1987. It was unilaterally proposed by the Jovenel Moise administration even as the opposition maintained calls to boycott the event.

Moise had said that the referendum was necessary as the government moves to reform the constitution. He has been facing calls for his resignation and has been ruling by decree after legislative elections due in 2018 were delayed and following disputes on when his own term ends. The presidential, legislative and local elections are scheduled for September.