by Thomas Péralte (Haiti Liberte)
As was customary during the Duvalier years, fierce power struggles between the strong-men (and women) in the Martelly regime have begun.
In a cabinet shuffle announced on August 6, Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe has eliminated his rival Thierry Mayard-Paul as Interior Minister.
Mayard-Paul represented the more “makout” wing of the neo-Duvalierist regime, as opposed the more “bourgeois” sector, whose leader is Lamothe. [“Makout” is a reference to the Tontons Macoutes, the armed force which defended Duvalierist power.]
The fight recalls the endless conflicts between “dinosaurs” and “technocrats” throughout the 15-year regime of Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier (1971-1986).
We can expect more of these reshuffles because the Martelly regime is a photocopy of the “macouto-bourgeois” regime of Baby Doc, which brought together in one coalition the two rival currents of the Haitian ruling class: the feudal grandons, or big landowners, and the comprador bourgeoisie.
In fact, the elimination of Mayard-Paul is a sign that the Haitian government under Lamothe’s aegis is moving closer to Washington, which is not too comfortable with the Duvalierists because of their uncontrollable unpredictability and their insatiable taste for corruption.
Sources in the Parliament have told us that Mayard-Paul is a close ally of Sofia Martelly, the First Lady strong-woman of the sector most willing to plunder the public coffers for nebulous and demagogic projects often criticized by Senator Moïse Jean-Charles, among others .
In this sense, the elimination of Mayard-Paul may be a harbinger of conflicts between Lamothe and Martelly in the not too distant future.
In the Cabinet reshuffle, two other ministers lost their posts: Reginald Paul, former Minister of Education and Vocational Training, and Joseph Ronald Toussaint, former Environment Minister.
Other changes were made: Josefa Gauthier Raymond was replaced at the Ministry of Planning and External Cooperation by Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe. Now she heads the Social Affairs Ministry. The former Social Affairs Minister, Ronsard St. Cyr, was transferred to the Ministry of Interior and Local Authorities. The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Pierre Richard Casimir became Minister of that ministry, replacing Lamothe. In this first reshuffling of Laurent Lamothe’s cabinet, most ministers retained their posts.
As usual, the government announced that the Prime Minister made the reshuffling with the approval of the Head of State.
Here is the new cabinet’s composition:
● Prime Minister and Minister of Planning and External Cooperation, Laurent Lamothe
● Minister of Interior and Territorial Communities, Ronsard St-Cyr
● Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship, Pierre Richard Casimir
● Minister of Public Health and Population, Dr. William Florence Duperval
● Minister of National Education and Vocational Training, Vanneur Pierre
● Minister of Works, Transport, Energy and Communications, Jacques Rousseau
● Minister of Tourism, Stephanie Balmir Villedrouin
● Minister of Trade and Industry, Wilson Laleau
● Minister for Women and women’s rights, Yanick Mézile
● Environment Minister, Jean Vilmond Hilaire
● Minister of Youth, Sports and Civic Action, Jean Roosevelt René
● Minister of Haitians Living Abroad, Daniel Supplice
● Minister responsible for relations with Parliament, Ralph Théano
● Minister of National Defense, Rodolfe Joazile
● Minister of Justice and Public Security, Jean Renel Sanon, Esquire
● Minister of Economy and Finance, Marie-Carmelle Jean Marie
● Minister of Communication and Information, Ady Jean Gardy
● Minister of Culture, Mario Dupuy
● Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development, agronomist Thomas Jacques
● Minister of Social Affairs and Labor, Josefa Gauthier
● Minister Delegate to the Prime Minister responsible for energy security, René Jean Jumeau.
● Minister Delegate to the Prime Minister in charge of human rights and the fight against corruption and extreme poverty, Rose-Anne Auguste.
● Minister Delegate to the Prime Minister responsible for the promotion of the peasantry, Marie Mimose Félix.