An obscure physician who heads the Petionville Rotary Club has been designated as Haiti’s next prime minister by President Jovenel Moïse.
Dr. Jack Guy Lafontant, a gastroenterologist and member of the American College of Physicians, confirmed to the Miami Herald that he had been tapped and was “awaiting official confirmation.”
That confirmation came after Lafontant’s name was published Thursday in the country’s official publication, Le Moniteur. Now he must convince both chambers of Parliament that, with his cabinet and political program, he’s the right man for the job.
The choice of Lafontant, 55, came as a surprise to Haitian political watchers and lawmakers. One of them, Sen. Jacques Sauveur Jean, a member of Moïse’s ruling PHTK party, told Magik 9 radio station that he only learned of the news Thursday morning and had no idea who Lafontant was or what he looked like.
Moïse chose Lafontant after two meetings with parliamentarians including an hours-long session on Wednesday with about 40 deputies at the presidential palace. Moïse had hoped to find a consensus for his No. 2, and at one point floated the name of insurance company owner Olivier Barrau. Barrau, however, was rejected by lawmakers, sources close to the negotiations said.