Premier for the Turks and Caicos Islands Hon. Washington Misick has expressed condolences to the government and people of Haiti, whose president, Jovenel Moïse was assassinated at his residence on the outskirts of the capital Port-Au-Prince early Wednesday Morning.
His wife and First Lady, Martine Moïse was also shot in the attack, but it is not clear about her condition.
It is the fear of some regional and international leaders that Moïse’s assassination could create a political void that threatens to deepen the turmoil that had gripped the country for months.
As foreign governments struggled to assess the situation, according to reports, millions of Haitians anxiously huddled around radios and televisions, staying off the streets as they tried to understand what the coming days might bring.
Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph said in a statement that a group of unidentified individuals speaking Spanish, attacked the private residence of the president and fatally wounded him.
Up to this point there is little solid information about who might have carried out the assassination.
CBS News reported that the men that carried out the assassination spoke Spanish and English in the American accent.
Premier Misick said in a statement that the Turks and Caicos Islands Government was saddened to learn of the news, stressing that there were no words to describe or justify what it described as an abhorrent act.
“The Turks and Caicos Islands Government, as a neighbour to Haiti, extends our deepest sympathy to the entire nation,” a statement from the Premier said. “On behalf of the Turks and Caicos Islands Government and the people of the TCI, I extend sincere condolences to the Moïse family, to the Haitian Government, the people of Haiti and the Haitian diaspora in the TCI. Our hearts go out to you in your time of mourning.”
The premier continued: “To President Moise’s wife, First Lady Mrs. Martine Moise, our thoughts and prayers are with you as mourn and as you recover from this horrific incident.”
The premier said his government was being briefed on the situation and will continue to monitor further developments.
“Our National Security Council will be engaging with internal stakeholders to discuss possible implications for the Turks and Caicos Islands and other territories in the region.
“My prayer is that the perpetrators are found and held accountable for their malicious actions and that peaceful resolve and good order can arise from such a horrible tragedy,” Premier Misick noted.
In an interview with The New York Times, Interim Prime Minister Joseph said that he was the one running the country at the moment. Still, it was unclear how much control he had, or how long it might last.
A new prime minister had been scheduled to replace Joseph this week, and the head of the nation’s highest court, who might also have helped establish order, died of Covid-19 in June.
Later Wednesday, in a televised broadcast to the nation, Joseph presented himself as head of the government and announced that he and his fellow ministers had declared a “state of siege.”
REACTION FROM WORLD LEADERS
World leaders have reacted with shock and revulsion to Moïse’s assassination.
Colombia urged the Organization of American States to send an urgent mission to Haiti to “protect the democratic order”.
US President Joe Biden said he was “shocked and saddened to hear of the horrific assassination”. He condemned the “heinous act”, offering wishes for the first lady’s recovery.
“The United States offers condolences to the people of Haiti, and we stand ready to assist as we continue to work for a safe and secure Haiti.”
Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader called the killing on Wednesday “an attack against the democratic order in Haiti and the region” and ordered the “immediate closure” of the country’s border with Haiti.
The United Nations Security Council expressed its dismay over the murder of Haiti’s president, who was slain in his home in an attack that wounded his wife.
“Council members say they are deeply shocked by the assassination of President Moise earlier in the day … and are concerned about the fate of the First Lady Martine Moise, who was also shot and wounded in the attack,” France’s UN ambassador Nicolas de Riviere said.
Colombian President Iván Duque condemned what he called a “cowardly act” and expressed solidarity with Haiti. He called for an urgent mission by the Organization of American States “to protect democratic order”.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the brazen attack, his spokesman said in a statement.
“The secretary-general calls on all Haitians to preserve the constitutional order, remain united in the face of this abhorrent act, and reject all violence,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. “The United Nations will continue to stand with the government and the people of Haiti.”
The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, tweeted “this crime carries a risk of instability and [a] spiral of violence”.
“All light must be shed on this crime, which takes place in a political and security climate that has severely worsened,” said the French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. “I urge all those in Haitian politics to act with calm and restraint.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged calm. “I am shocked and saddened at the death of President Moise,” Johnson said on Twitter, sending condolences to Haiti. “This is an abhorrent act and I call for calm at this time.”
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez also condemned the assassination.
“I’d like to make an appeal for political unity to get out of this terrible trauma that the country is going through,” Sánchez said.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu expressed his “grave sorrow” about the “cowardly” killing, extending his condolences to Moise’s family and the Haitian people on social media.
The opposition in Haiti had accused the United States – Haiti’s top foreign donor – of being too lenient towards Moise, given his support for US foreign policy.
His administration broke ranks with the Caribbean Community (Caricom) to oppose Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.