Haitian Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe said Wednesday during his first public appearance since his appointment by presidential decree that he would focus on fighting insecurity and inequality while boosting the economy.
Jouthe, a qualified civil engineer, appointed this week by President Jovenel Moise, is considered an experienced decision maker. He was acting Minister of the Environment and Minister of Finance, and also worked for humanitarian agencies.
“We are living today in a very precarious socio-economic situation which could at any moment lead to a humanitarian catastrophe, our country is in agony,” he said.
“My Government reiterates its commitment to continue its efforts to improve public finances in order to increase the gross domestic product (GDP), reduce inflation, increase public revenues and, above all, fight corruption.”
Jouthe called on Haitians, the divided political class and international organizations to stand by him in times of economic crisis.
The US Embassy in Haiti said in a statement that it would work with Moise and Jouthe, but urged them to improve security and economic growth, and to organize “free, fair and credible parliamentary elections as soon as technically possible “.
The economic repercussions of a three-month blockage across the country continue in what was already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, where about two-thirds of adults are unemployed or underemployed.
Moise has been running Haiti by decree since January, as the terms of office for members of the lower houses and most senators have officially expired when no election has taken place.
Jouthe replaces Jean Michel Lapin, who was acting Prime Minister since Moïse appointed him in March of last year until his resignation in July. Despite several attempts, his appointment was never approved.