Jack Guy Lafontant miscalculating soccer obsession in Haiti, must resign

The Brazilian team is playing in World Cup. The streets of Port-au-Prince as well as any corner in Haiti are empty once a game begins. Everyone is home or are gathered with friends watching the Brazil-Belgium World Cup game. What would be a better time for the Government in Haiti to introduce a price increase in fuel?


last Friday, as most Haitians were glued to their televisions watching their favorite team, the Haitian government announced a huge jump in fuel costs. It includes an increase of 38 percent on gas, 47 percent on diesel and 51 percent on kerosene.

There is a famous song from the Haitian musical group Coupé-Cloué that states: "Bien Compté, Mal Calculé". In another way, you can plan but the result may not necessarily meet your expectation. That was the case for the Haitian government who had planned to increase the fuel price during a soccer game by Brazil, expecting the decision to be adopted by the general public without resistance.

That was a miscalculation on the part of the Haitian government, Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant in particular who in less than 24 hours after the increases went into effect had to publicly announce the measure had been temporarily suspended.This is a result of an incompetent team responsible to govern the country.

What do you think?

Should Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant resign?

On Friday, July 6, 2018, when the civilians were busy with the quarter-final Brazil-Belgium World Cup game, the Government quietly published an official notice of fuel price hike at the pumps. The announcement immediately triggered days of violent civil unrest. Three people were killed on Friday. Deadly riot broke out across the country. The crowd placed barricades that blocked the main routes, looted stores and banks and burned many vehicles. They did not spare the beautifully manicured tropical landscape as well as magnificent views of the city.

On Saturday, when Prime Minister Lafontant was asked to clarify the consequences of his announcement on oil price hike, instead of facing the question, he took the opportunity to resign and said "Before coming here, I presented my resignation to the president of the republic." President Moise confirmed via Twitter that he had accepted Lafontant's resignation along with those of other Cabinet members. Earlier on this occasion, there were small protests demanding the head of the state to step down. In this light, chamber president Gary Bodaeu wrote on his Twitter account that the legislature "is at a crossroads in history; it must assume its responsibilities."

The announcement to rise in fuel price is actually a part of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund, which the Haitian government signed last February for sanctioning a low interest loan from IMF amounting to $96 million under "Staff-Monitored Program (SMP)."

Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant was a relatively unknown doctor until he was handpicked by President Jovenel Moïse 16 months ago. Lafontant temporarily suspended the fuel hike hours after it was enacted. But it could not immediately halt the violence.

Now, the country is waiting for Lafontant's replacement. It will be nominated by President Moise and confirmed by the Senate.

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