Haiti PM Nominates Government of Political Novices

The Haitian premier has chosen mostly political novices for the country’s new government, nearly three weeks after President Jovenel Moise appointed him to the post.

Jack Guy Lafontant, a doctor who, like Moise, is new to the political scene, signed a decree Monday nominating his 18 ministers, five of whom are women.

The new members must now receive confirmation from the country’s Parliament.

One month after taking office, Moise — a 48-year-old banana exporter who has never held political office — is composing a government without significant political experience, save for a few technocrats.

He has shown little openness to the opposition, forming a group of people close to the Tet Kale (PHTK) party of former head of state Michel Martelly.

The best known figures in the group are a minister of former interim president Jocelerme Privert and a holdover from the Martelly administration that Lafontant has named tourism minister.

Before taking office, the new team must appear before parliament to approve the prime minister’s general policies.

Lafontant sent deputies and senators his 40-page document last week, but not enough elected officials showed up to hold the Senate session that had been scheduled for Monday.

Haiti is struggling to emerge from a major cholera outbreak, with an estimated 30,000 cases expected this year, and is still suffering the effects of the January 2010 earthquake, with tens of thousands of people still camping in tents without proper sanitation seven years on.

The impoverished Caribbean country is also dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, which caused $2.8 billion in damage and left more than 1.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance when it struck in October.