by Werley Nortreus
PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti – My name is Werley Nortreus. I am a Haitian musician, author, entrepreneur, and rising politician. I was born and raised in Haiti. I was born in a commune called Limbé, but I grew up in the capital Port-au-Prince. I represent the political party Jeunes Dirigeants Haïtiens Progressistes that I founded.
In 2022, I created a petition on mesopinions.com and change.org about some demands that I thought would be good for Haiti. The petition in French and English asks the Haitian Government to change the constitution and add new amendments before future general elections in the country.
The petition that I created, of course, calls for constitutional reform by adding new amendments. It is the first time in the country’s political history that a petition requests those new amendments that must give candidates under 35 years of age the right to participate in the general elections for the 3 branches of the Government.
Haiti is a Francophone country in the Caribbean where its official language is Creole. I created the petition because I noticed that the country recognizes many constitutions that divide Haitian citizens instead of uniting them. The country is currently facing a political crisis, hunger, kidnapping, gang violence, and educational issues. It is for those reasons that my petition asks to integrate younger new candidates into its politics to see what results can be given.
Today, I will talk about some of the proposals I made in my package of new amendments that include everyone that I think should be added to the country’s constitution to change its current issues. I will answer 5 similar questions that the majority of people and journalists ask about the package of new amendments that I propose to the Haitian Government.
1) How old Am I?
Answer: I am 29 years old (born in a commune in Haiti called Limbé, but I grew up in the Capital, Port-au-Prince).
2) Has a date been set for the elections? If not, when do I think they will take place?
Answer: Last year, the current Prime Minister said elections were supposed to begin but were postponed. But, I think elections probably will take place in 2023. The constitutional amendments must be established before the elections.
3) What exactly are the problems with the existing constitution, apart from its restrictions on the age of candidates allowed to run for office? Please give a few examples of how it is bad.
Answer: The existing constitution further divided the Haitian community instead of uniting the Haitian community. Some laws in the existing constitution are not good that Haitians say must be changed. The existing constitution kept the Haitian community living in the diaspora out of the country’s problems. The Haitian community in the diaspora cannot vote in Haiti’s elections and they do not have the right to propose plans and ideas that are good for the country. Haiti has continuously failed to meet the basic needs of its people because of the existing constitution. The existing constitution does not give Haitians in the diaspora and other nations the right to open their businesses in the country. Only some Haitians in Haiti have full rights to open their businesses in the country which keeps the country’s economy in chaos. The Creole language which is the country’s official language is not allowed in schools and some other institutions.
4) Apart from lowering the age limit, what else would my new amendments offer to the people of Haiti?
Answer: The new constitution offers new laws relating to rights and freedoms, decentralization, institutions, political association, and others. Some of the new laws that the new constitution will offer Haitians. Haitians in Haiti will have the right to collaborate with Haitians in the diaspora and other nations. Haitians in Haiti and in the diaspora will have the right to invest and open businesses in the country without problems. Women will have the same rights in the institutions as men. Haitians in Haiti will have the right to collaborate with Haitians in the diaspora to vote in elections. Creole will become a priority and schools will teach in Creole as well as French. The Prime Minister’s office will be changed to the Vice-President’s office to serve the people and institutions. Children, women, men, pets, the environment, and the elderly will become a priority for the Haitian Government.
5) What is the voting age in Haiti?
Answer: It is 18 years of age and older.