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HomeNewsCaribbean NewsUS reiterates support for multinational security support Mission to Haiti

US reiterates support for multinational security support Mission to Haiti

By Caribbean News Global fav

HAITI / USA – The United States’ commitment to the Haitian people remains unwavering, says a US Department of State, press statement on January 27, 2024, after Kenya’s court blocked the deployment of security forces to help the besieged Caribbean country fight gangs and restore democracy.

“The United States acknowledges the ruling by the Republic of Kenya’s High Court regarding the deployment of Kenyan police in support of the Multinational Security Support mission to Haiti and the government of Kenya’s stated intent to challenge this ruling,” said the US Department of State.

What’s next is the clarion call?

The Eminent Persons Group (EPG) of CARICOM, three former Caribbean prime ministers, comprises former prime ministers, Bruce Golding of Jamaica, Perry Christie of The Bahamas, and Dr Kenny Anthony of Saint Lucia.

The political actors, fully aware of this dire reality, continue their zero-sum approach to the efforts to reach an agreement that would bring an end to the protracted political deadlock, opening the way to address the other facets of the crisis.

Following the EPG third visit to Haiti on 8-14 November 2023, to build on transitional governance arrangements for free and fair elections, the widening and strengthening of the attributes of the High Transition Council to bring about a better balance of executive power, the composition of the Provisional Electoral Council, the designation of a body to oversee government action, and the establishment of an inclusive government of national unity.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness said previously that Jamaica remains devoted to playing its part in restoring peace and stability in Haiti. Jamaica was the first country to “step out to say that we would be prepared to offer assistance to Haiti in terms of security and humanitarian assistance. We analysed the situation to the point where we thought indirect assistance would not be enough; there would have to be a security force support for the people of Haiti,” he pointed out.

“Clearly, Jamaica could not take the lead on this. We don’t have the resources even though we have the support, the ambition, the will and we stand as always in solidarity with the people of Haiti,” the prime minister noted. Jamaica is using its good offices and is working through the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to ensure that the stakeholders in Haiti continue to speak to and lobby the international community for support.

Kenyan intervention in Haiti? More work needed, Sir Ronald Sanders wrote: “These nations also know that the underlying reasons for Haiti’s condition are the economic actions by France which crippled the country’s economic prospects for over a century; a US invasion and its economic consequences; the convenient maintaining by foreign governments of avaricious Haitian leaders; and the general impoverishment of the country.

Haitian civil society groups have widely opposed the deployment of any foreign force, referencing bitter experiences with previous intervention and fears that intervening forces would be propping-up the present unelected regime which they regard as partially responsible for the country’s crises.

Further, all governments are keenly aware that a multinational force in Haiti’s present circumstances would not be a traditional United Nations (UN) peacekeeping force. What Dr Henry has requested is a force that will help the Haitian police confront and conquer the more than 60 gangs that now dominate the safety and security space in Haiti, leading to potential bloodshed.” ~ August 23, 2023.

The Bahamian government said previously that it welcomed the government of Kenya’s decision to answer the Haitian government’s request for security support with a commitment of 1,000 police officers to lead a multinational force.

“For our part, The Bahamas has committed 150 persons to support the multi-national force once authorized by the United Nations Security Council.” Adding that it also looked forward to cooperating with hemispheric partners including the United States and Canada.

According to the US Department of State, press statement, Saturday:

“We reaffirm our support of ongoing international efforts to deploy a Multinational Security Support mission for Haiti, as requested by Haiti and authorized by UN Security Council Resolution 2699, and renew our calls for the international community to urgently provide support for this mission.”

“It is urgent that the international community respond to the unprecedented levels of gang violence and destabilizing forces preying upon the Haitian people.  At the same time, we call for the restoration of democratic order through an inclusive political process in Haiti.  We continue to urge Haitian stakeholders to reach consensus on power-sharing and inclusive governance. The only legitimate path to long-term peace and stability is through free and fair elections.”

Haiti needs “to get its political and governance act together.” That is among the important messages that UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, delivered to the UN Security Council in a letter on August 14, 2023. Guterres emphasized that “Without a meaningful reform of the political system, Haiti will continue to face these cycles of crises and instability emanating from weak political representation and disenfranchisement, a political climate, and fragile and politicized state institutions.”

Guterres pointed out to the Security Council that the “gangs have become more structured, federated and autonomous [-] consolidating control over the population”. The gangs also have a vested interest in preserving themselves and the criminal activity from which they derive money and power; they will not slink away with their tails between their legs. They will fight, viciously.

Given all this, Haiti might now best be served by a multinational team of negotiators and facilitators made up of persons from countries with leverage and others that enjoy the goodwill of Haitian players. Such a team could work with the various parties in Haiti to establish a transitional government that would have the authority to interface with, and make credible requests of, the international community, including for clearly defined police assistance.

The team might also begin to explore with the main gang leaders the terms of dismantling their organisations and laying down their weapons with the aim of preventing widespread violence and bloodshed. August 17, 2023.

Regional dynamics

“I cannot overstress the severity of the situation in Haiti, where multiple protracted crises have reached a critical point,” said Maria Isabel Salvador, presenting the latest report of the UN political office there, BINUH. The Caribbean country remains plagued by mounting violence and insecurity at the hands of armed gangs against a backdrop of political, humanitarian and socioeconomic challenges. Regional dynamics are also important as the deepening crisis in Haiti is not occurring in a vacuum, she added, noting that illicit firearms are a growing concern across the Caribbean, “feeding gang-related activity and drug trafficking in a vicious circle.”

Setbacks

The setbacks in Haiti have major implications for CARICOM / OECS that warrant the Caribbean region’s call to action. International leaders likewise have to play their part moving forward. Haiti awaits the possibility!

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