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Trump Delegation to Attend Haiti Presidential Inauguration


Haitian President-elect Jovenel Moise of PHTK political party, gives a speech, in Petion Ville, a suburb of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince on Jan. 3, 2017.

President Donald Trump is sending a U.S. delegation to Haiti to attend the inauguration of President-elect Jovenel Moise on Tuesday.

Thomas Shannon, undersecretary of state for political affairs, is leading the delegation, which includes Peter Mulrean, the U.S. ambassador to Haiti, the White House said Monday.

Others in the delegation are Kenneth Merten, acting principal deputy assistant of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, and Omarosa Manigault, communications director for the Office of Public Liaison. Manigault was a contestant on the reality television show Celebrity Apprentice when it was hosted by Trump.

Moise, whom former Haitian President Michel Martelly hand-picked as his Bald Heads Party (PHTK) candidate, won with nearly 56 percent of the votes cast in the November 20 election.

The Haitian businessman, 48, faces lingering accusations of money laundering. Late last month, Moise spent four hours answering an investigative judge's questions in a closed Port-au-Prince courtroom, in a process similar to that of a U.S. grand jury. He has denied the allegation, saying it is politically motivated.

His political opponents, including at least two other candidates for the presidency, had pressed for a decision by Tuesday. The government's prosecuting attorney, Danton Leger, was scheduled to make an announcement Monday morning but did not do so. Neither his office nor that of the judge, Bredy Fabien, responded to VOA's repeated attempts for more information.

Moise is scheduled to be sworn in at 7 a.m. EST Tuesday at the parliament building in the capital city, Port-au-Prince.

Speaking at a dinner Sunday organized by members of Haiti's diaspora, Moise said he would seek parliamentary representation for the diaspora: one senator and three members of the lower house.

Roughly 915,000 Haitians and their children live in the United States, primarily in Florida and New York, the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute reported in 2014. Other significant concentrations are in the Dominican Republic, Canada, Cuba, the Bahamas and France. Haiti itself has approximately 11 million people.

In a recent interview with Reuters news agency, Moise drew parallels between himself and the new U.S. leader.

"President Trump and I are entrepreneurs, and all an entrepreneur wants is results," Moise said. "And, therefore, I hope we'll put everything in place to make sure we deliver for our peoples."

Moise has said he would govern inclusively as president. "We have to work together," he told VOA in an interview in Haiti's capital on the eve of his election victory.

Carol Guensburg and VOA Creole Service chief Ronald Cesar contributed to this story.