Haiti’s new justice minister, Berto Dorcé, has been sworn into office promising to work for a strong, independent, efficient justice system.
Dorcé was appointed last Wednesday following the decision by Prime Minister Ariel Henry to re-shuffle his Cabinet appointing eight new ministers in a Cabinet that now only includes four women, one less than before in the 18-member Cabinet.
Henry warned that difficult decisions lay ahead given the complex situation in Haiti and said his administration is doing the best it can to ensure public safety with the resources it has.
“We are doing the maximum with the funds that we have available to restore the authority of the state and put away the ones that need to be put away,” he said, adding “one of the main responsibilities of this government is to create a safe and stable environment.”
Addressing the swearing-in ceremony, Dorcé said he is committed to working towards a strong, independent, efficient justice system, accessible to all and functioning without any political influence.
He said his priority would be to deal with the spate of kidnappings carried out by armed gangs with the Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister, Samuel Saturné, reminding the new Justice Minister of the major projects that await him, the priorities of the government, in particular, security, elections, the fight against prolonged preventive detention and land insecurity.
In September, Prime Minister Henry, who is facing increased scrutiny from authorities investigating the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moise fired Rockfeller Vincent as his justice minister, just hours after another top official resigned and accused Henry of obstructing justice in a sharply worded letter.
Meanwhile, critics have dismissed the Cabinet re-shuffle with former legislator, Steven Benoit, calling it an “improved version” of the Tet Kale party, considering that this ministerial cabinet “is the same regime which has been in power since 2011”.
“The most powerful politician in Haiti since 2011 is (Former president Michel) Martelly who has been pulling the strings of the country for a decade,” he said in a message on his Twitter account, adding “there will be no accountability”.
Clarens Renois from the UNIR party said the re-shuffle is “once again a division of the pie between politicians.
“Therefore, we should not expect much. The only conclusion to be drawn from this installation is that some politicians practice a facade challenge. As soon as their personal interests are satisfied, they quickly fall into line,” he added.
Head of the National Council of Non-State Actors (CONHANE), Édouard Paultre, said Prime Minister Henry “continues his policy of accomplished fact.
“The government is not inclusive and continues to protect the interests of PHTK. We are heading towards an impasse which can only lead to a clash.”