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Haiti announces temporary ban on weapons

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

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PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti (CMC) — Haiti has announced a temporary ban on carrying firearms throughout the French-speaking Caribbean Community (Caricom) country until Thursday as Haitians commemorate the 212thanniversary of the assassination of Emperor Jean-Jacques Dessalines on Wednesday.

“All licenses to carry a firearm are considered, in this circumstance, to be a license to possess firearms within the boundaries of the domicile of the citizen who is the holder, in accordance with Articles 268-1 and 268-2 of the Constitution,” Justice and Public Security Minister, Jean Roody Aly said, adding that the ban would remain in effect until Thursday, October 19 at midnight.

He said law enforcement and judicial authorities are the only ones allowed to travel during this period with their regulatory and service weapons.

The authorities also called on private security agencies to adopt the temporary in order to prevent their staff from travelling with service weapons.

The move comes as Haitians take to the streets Wednesday to protest several issues such as the PetroCaribe funds, the cost of living, minimum, wage, reform of the Constitution as well as the frequent overseas visits of President Jovenel Moise.

Aly said the National Police of Haiti and the Public Prosecutor's Offices of the Republic have been instructed to crack down with the utmost rigor against anyone violating the laws.

But one of the organisers of the protest march, Michel André, said that the “decision of the Minister of Justice to suspend the carrying of arms throughout the territory is illegal.

“Only the DGPNH can make such a decision. It is a strategy to facilitate the task to the armed groups close to the power. No question of obeying an illegal order,” he added.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jean Henry Céant urged Haitians to remember the reason for commemorating the anniversary of the death of Dessalines, saying his ideas are still relevant in modern day Haiti.

He said the former Emperor had always urged solidarity with each other, national unity, inclusion of the country's children, for the revival of the country's economy.

“But I must also say that some of our compatriots want to take this opportunity to demonstrate, to make their voices heard on issues important to the country's life. It's their right.

“They have the right to do so in peace and order. It's for that right that many have fought; many of us will continue to fight. This is one of the rights that the Constitution guarantees. Likewise this Constitution also guarantees that every person in the country can live in peace, security and peace throughout the country,” Céant said in a broadcast marking the first month in office.

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