A growing number of politicians are calling on Haitian Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant to resign after the government attempted to raise fuel prices, sparking four days of unrest.
Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Gary Bodeau went on national radio Tuesday to ask for Lafontant’s resignation.
“The prime minister is a great doctor. The nation will be grateful. But as prime minister, he has run his course,” he said.
Bodeau said he and Senate President Joseph Lambert warned President Jovenel Moise they would not back him on the price increases.
In an abrupt U-turn, Communications Minister Guyler C. Delva, a fervent support of the president, said he would not be stepping down, hours after announcing on Twitter that he would tender his resignation.
“President Jovenel Moise called me to ask me to reconsider my decision…So I did not submit my resignation,” he tweeted.
A number of civil organizations, including the Analysis and Research Center for Human Rights (CARDH), called for action from the Haitian president Monday.
“President Jovenel Moise will have to bear the consequences,” they said.
Also Monday, various lawmakers and religious and economic leaders urged Moise to change course in the government following nationwide unrest caused by its plan to raise fuel prices.
In a gesture of appeasement, the president met Tuesday with representatives of the influential metropolitan private sector "on the actions to take to restore stability and economic recovery", he said on Twitter.
Things appeared to have calmed down, according to local media, which said more civilians were seen on the streets and most barricades had been lifted. But many shops and gas stations remained closed.
“The situation is back to normal” and “travel is now safe”, assured Lafontant in a press release.
“Investigations will be conducted by the government to give the victims justice.”
Troubles began after the government on Friday announced an increase of 38 percent to 51 percent in gasoline, diesel fuel and kerosene prices starting Sunday to conform to rules orchestrated by the International Monetary Fund and Haiti to boost the government’s revenue.
Protesters burned tire barricades set up on main roads and at least three people were killed and many more injured, local media reported.
The riots led to looting and the burning of shops and private homes.
Lafontant backed down Saturday and suspended the price hikes until further notice, and Moise addressed the nation and asked for “calm” and for protesters to “go home”, arguing that the authorities had “miscommunicated”.
In his Tuesday press release, Lafontant insisted that Haiti had the lowest fuel prices of the North American continent for a non-oil producing country -- even below those of its neighbor, the Dominican Republic.
By Alix Hardy in Mexico City