Jamaica’s prime minister offers troops to address Haiti crisis | Politics News
The offer comes after the Haitian government asked for international assistance to help with the country’s gang violence.
Jamaica’s prime minister has said his government is ready to deploy troops and police to Haiti as part of a planned multinational security assistance operation.
The announcement comes a week after United Nations special envoy for Haiti, Helen La Lime, said she hoped the UN Security Council would deal “positively” with the Haitian government’s pending request for international forces, though Canada and the United States No showed interest.
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness told the island’s House of Representatives Tuesday that he wanted to help Haiti and “support a return to an adequate level of stability and peace that would be necessary for any inclusive, democratic process to take root.”
The announcement appears to be the first time a Western Hemisphere nation has publicly offered ground forces, after Haiti’s prime minister and other top officials called for the immediate deployment of foreign troops in early October amid a crippling fuel siege blamed on the country’s most powerful gangs.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres and La Lime have unsuccessfully supported Haiti’s appeal.
The UN Security Council considered the request but took no action, opting instead to sanction some of those involved in the disruptions, including Jimmy Chérizier, a dominant gang leader and former police officer accused of planning several brutal attacks and killings to have.
“We have the impression that the international community has not yet recognized the urgency of the situation facing the Haitian people,” said Léon Charles, the former chief of the Haitian National Police, on Wednesday during an event organized by the Organization of American States ( OAS). Meeting.
“My country is going through one of the most difficult moments in its history,” said Charles, Haiti’s permanent representative to the OAS.
He likened the aid Haiti has received so far from the international community to using buckets of water to put out a raging fire while the country needs fire engines with heavy-duty hoses.
Meanwhile, Holness said Jamaica stands ready to offer bilateral assistance if needed.
“We really hope that Haiti will soon overcome its challenges and, with the full support of the international community, embark on a path to restoring stability, lasting peace and sustainable development to its country and people,” he said.
A UN spokesman said the organization had not seen any formal offers, but countries could make offers directly to those leading efforts to build a force.
Jamaica is a member of a regional trading bloc called Caricom, which last week issued a statement urging “all stakeholders to unite by consensus in their search for a deal” to resolve what it described as a protracted political deadlock in Haiti . Caricom added it was ready to hold a meeting in the Caribbean to discuss the issue.
When the remaining 10 senators expired in early January, Haiti was stripped of all democratically elected institutions. Prime Minister Ariel Henry has promised to hold general elections for more than a year, but a provisional Electoral Council has yet to be elected, which some critics say has resulted in a de facto dictatorship.
Haiti has also grappled with a level of violence unseen in decades since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in his private home in July 2021. Gangs are said to control 60 percent of the capital, Port-au-Prince.
The number of reported kidnappings in Haiti rose to 1,359 last year, double the previous year’s figure, while reported killings rose by a third to 2,183, according to the UN.
“These are really frightening numbers,” said Charles. “The situation in Haiti is extremely urgent.”
Haiti’s National Police has fewer than 9,000 active duty officers for a country of more than 11 million that faces not only a surge in violence but also rising poverty, widespread hunger and a deadly outbreak of cholera.