Haitian President Makes a New PM Choice

But could new nominee, Bernard Gousse’s past come back to haunt him?

Posted: 07/08/2011 08:56 AM EDT
Filed Under Haiti, Michel Martelly

Haitian President Makes a New PM Choice

Haitian President Michel Martelly’s young administration hopes to rebound from a major blow last month, when his first Prime Minister nominee was rejected by lawmakers, with his new, more experienced nominee: lawyer and former justice minister Bernard Gousse.


Martelly made the announcement on Wednesday.


One of the criticisms of Daniel-Gerard Rouzier, a businessman and good friend of Martelly, was that he had no political experience. His controversial remarks about the Haitian Reconstruction Panel co-chaired by former President Bill Clinton (he called the panel “dysfunctional” and recommended it be scrapped) also raised eyebrows, though the panel had been criticized in the past for being slow with rebuilding projects.


With his previous political experience and solid reputation as an attorney, Gousse is starkly different, at least on paper.


"He's an honest man. He has experience in public administration," Martelly's chief of staff, Thierry Mayard-Paul, told the Associated Press. "We believe that Mr. Gousse can drive this country out of its turmoil."


But it’s precisely his past that might keep Gousse from getting the job.


While serving as justice minister under the interim government formed after former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted in 2004, critics allege he persecuted Aristide supporters. Aristide returned to the nation this year after seven years of exile in Africa.


At least one official is already making a prediction.


“This choice is a bad choice,” Unity party Deputy Patrick Joseph said about Gousse. “He won’t be ratified.”


Nevertheless, Martelly is doing what he can to avoid a second rejection by meeting with lawmakers, the Associated Press reports.



(Photo: Swoan Parker/Landov)