When Procedures Fail, Political Agreements Need to Fill the Vacuum

Any Constitution is a product of its time and, as any human product, improvable and subject to revision. The Haitian Constitution of 1987 is no exception. That is why hindering the entry into force of the constitutional reform only delays the benefits the reform includes as identified by the new legislature when it voted in favor last May 9th.


We regret the procedural difficulties that have impeded the publication and enactment of the constitutional reform. While we understand the importance of scrupulous respect for democratic procedures that have been agreed upon, it is also true that the same parties that agree on procedures have the responsibility to reach new agreements when procedures fail to fulfill their purpose.

We welcome the Special Senate commission of inquiry formed Tuesday, May 7 to shed light on the errors that halted the constitutional reform process and call on all its members to progress on their work and produce an outcome with as broad a consensus and as quickly as possible.

With the new government and legislature in office, new cooperation procedures in place, and increased flow of aid, Haiti, with the support of the international community, is opening a new window of opportunity for progress and wellbeing for Haitians. Missing this opportunity will result in more suffering and deprivation for Haitians and is therefore not an option. Dissensions or breaches in agreements by leaders that fail to seize this opportunity will add to the challenges Haiti still faces.

Ideas for further constitutional reform are legitimate and can be subject to consideration in accordance with the law. The final enactment of the current constitutional reform does not prevent new amendments at a later date. Furthermore, the new constitutional court considered in the current reform is surely a guarantee. What is already good can always be improved.

Of the available options: return to the 1987 Constitution; or an agreement on how and what to enact of the constitutional reform proposed by the 48th legislature and approved by the 49th; we believe, based on our political experience, the latter will best serve the future of Haiti and the needs of Haitians. Furthermore, the ratification of the constitutional reform does not preclude future changes or a Constituent Assembly is that is the will of the citizens.   We therefore call on the leaders and all parties in Haiti to devote all their efforts to reaching an agreement to overcome the current standstill on the constitutional reform.

We also want to express our deepest sorrow for the killing of M. Guyto Toussaint and our hopes that the perpetrators will soon be brought to justice. Any human life has infinite value, but when it is the life of a good public servant, such a loss leaves a scar in the future of the State.