“We saw some of the mistreatment that these Haitians suffered and it struck us a lot,” Henry told CNN. “What we are saying is that as long as there are countries that are better off than others, there will always be an appeal towards those wealthier.”
Henry said, “We are not responsible for their deportation” and Haiti “cannot interfere in the internal affairs of the United States” — however “all Haitians who return to their native soil are entitled to a welcome.”
Haiti elections pushed back to 2022
“The train has derailed for some time in Haiti,” Henry said. “We want to move as quickly as possible to the restoration of democracy through elections.”
Henry said the Election Council members were fired because they “cannot organize elections,” and the process to replace them was underway.
“We have made the decision today to stop this electoral council and form another one, one that will be more consensual and one that will be accepted by all of society,” he added.
Henry said elections would take place after a review of the country’s constitution: “We will review the constitution in the first months of the coming year and the elections will be held immediately after.”
Moise murder investigation
The ongoing investigation has turned up dozens of suspects, including US and Colombian citizens, but government officials continue to hunt for a mastermind and motive.
Speaking to CNN, Henry denied impeding the investigation, saying the pair were dismissed “for breaking the law.”
“It is important for us that President Jovenel Moise has justice, it is fundamental for us and we are going to give all the means to justice so that justice is done,” he said. “We do not want to interfere in this trial … I’m not even asking to know what’s going on in the case. What I am saying is that the President must have justice and this justice must be accompanied by independent judges.”
Henry said he had “no recollection” of the phone call “or if it took place.”
“That means for me, it was not an important call, if I don’t remember,” he said. “I have no interest in being associated with these people and I have never been and I will not be.”
“I will ask the Justice Ministry that they follow up and if there are people who are innocent, they should be released. We don’t want to keep people in jail just because they are Colombians or because they are being singled out for being assassins and who are not assassins,” Henry said.
The Prime Minster admitted he is concerned about his own security, saying Moise died in his bed “because he was President of Haiti.”
“One of the reasons I think we need to know what happened that night is because I feel that I am also at risk,” he said, adding that Moise is “entitled to an exemplary justice and I will ensure that this justice is exemplary and honest.”
Henry conceded he also needs foreign help to battle gang violence in the country, and is determined to stamp out criminal activity.
“We have asked friendly countries for specific support to support the police, for the capacity to fight these bandits and get out of public life, so that the economy can pick up, so that our children can go about their business on a regular basis,” he said.
“Everyone who is involved with the gangs, whether politicians, businessmen or other citizens, are bandits themselves and must have the same fate as the bandits.”
CNN’s Melissa Bell, Pierre Bairin and Mark Esplin reported from in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Helen Regan wrote from Hong Kong. CNN’s Caitlin Hu, Etant Dupain, Sharif Paget and Jennifer Deaton contributed.