New Haitian Prime Minister Sworn In

(AFP) — Garry Conille was sworn in as Haiti’s prime minister on Monday, promising to “deliver” for the impoverished Caribbean nation grappling with overlapping security, humanitarian and political crises.

Conille was appointed by the transitional presidential council running the country following the resignation in April of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, as gang violence surged.

“Let’s get to work and I assure you that we will deliver what we promised,” the 58-year-old said at the ceremony at the Villa d’Accueil, an official government building in the capital Port-au-Prince.

His swearing-in empowers him to form a government in consultation with the council, its head, Edgard Leblanc Fils, said.

“We are counting on Dr. Conille to implement the policies agreed with the presidential council, in order to address the problem of insecurity in particular, as well as to improve the country’s economy, reform its institutions and hold credible, democratic and free elections by the end of 2025,” he added.

A medical doctor by training, Conille had served as Haiti’s premier for a short period in 2011-2012, and was until recently regional director for UN aid agency UNICEF.

Gang violence has long wracked the country, but at the end of February armed groups launched coordinated attacks on strategic sites in Port-au-Prince, claiming they wanted to overthrow the unelected and unpopular Henry.

Henry had been running the country as prime minister after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in 2021. The country has not had a president since.

The violence is affecting food security and humanitarian access, with much of the capital in the hands of gangs accused of abuses including murder, rape, looting and kidnappings.

Last year a UN-backed security force, to be led by Kenya, was promised as a boost to struggling Haitian police, but it has not yet been deployed.

The UN food agency on Monday reported “important progress” however, with aid getting in through the reopened international airport and food distributed in the capital’s largest slum.

The mandate of the transitional presidential council is due to end by February 2026 at the latest.