Haitian authorities say they have regained control of the main gas terminal in the capital Port-au-Prince, ending gang stranglehold on the vital energy facility.
The news comes after two weeks of negotiations with Haitian gang leader Jimmy Cherizier to relinquish control of the Varreux terminal, according to Haitian politician Harrison Ernest, who met with Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry.
Chérizier, also known as “Barbecue”, is the leader of the G9, a federation of a dozen Haitian teams based in Port-au-Prince.
“I spoke to Barbeque and told them to leave the terminal because the children have to go back to school. And we asked the government to do its part to ensure that there is fuel and the need for fuel to reach the customer,” said Ernest, a Haitian doctor and politician from the country’s Konstwi Lavi party.
Konstwi Lavi has been “acting as a mediator between the government and the gang that blocked the gas terminal,” Ernest said.
“We have been working for two weeks with the government and the gangs to unlock the fuel.”
The Haitian government has denied negotiating with the G9 to reopen the gas terminal, although an adviser to Henry told CNN the Caribbean nation’s leader had met with Ernest.
“We do not deal with the gangs and we do not negotiate with the gangs, we want the schools to reopen and the economic activities to recover as soon as possible. The Prime Minister (Ernest) met, but they did not do any negotiations with the gangs on our behalf,” said Special Adviser Jean Junior Joseph.
Haitian National Police spokesman Gary Desrosiers confirmed that the Varreux terminal is now under police control.
The terminal southwest of Port-au-Prince supplies most of Haiti’s oil. Members of the G9 have been locked in a blockade for the past six weeks, choking off the country’s access to fuel.
The Haitian government requested international military assistance almost a month ago as it faced health, energy and security issues.
Anti-government protests have also paralyzed the country, with schools, businesses and public transport across the country mostly closed.
Since August 22, Haitians have been demonstrating against chronic gang violence, poverty, food insecurity, inflation and fuel shortages.