JAMAICA- In connection with a proposed multinational deployment of security assistance, Jamaica’s prime minister said his government is willing to send soldiers and police officers to Haiti.
U.N. special envoy for Haiti Helen La Lime said last week that she hoped the U.N. Security Council would deal “positively” with Haiti’s request for international armed forces despite the U.S. and Canada’s showing no interest.
On Tuesday, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness told the island’s House of Representatives that he wanted to help Haiti and “support the return of stability and peace necesany for any inclusive, democratic process to take root.”
In early October, Haiti’s prime minister and other top officials requested the immediate deployment of foreign troops amid a crippling fuel siege blamed on the country’s most powerful gang, marking the first time a nation in the Western Hemisphere has publicly offered boots on the ground.
Haiti’s plea has been ignored by U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres and La Lime.
Although the U.N. Security Council considered the request, it took no action, choosing instead to impose sanctions on people such as Jimmy Chérizier, a dominant gang leader and former police officer accused of masterminding multiple massacres.
“It is our impression that the international community has not yet taken stock of the urgency of the situation that the Haitian people are facing,” Léon Charles, former chief of Haiti´s National Police, said Wednesday during an Organization of American States meeting.
“My country is experiencing one of the most difficult moments in its history,” said Charles, who is Haiti´s permanent representative to the OAS.
According to him, Haiti’s aid has been compared to buckets of water used to fight a raging fire when the country needs fire trucks with heavy-duty hoses.
Holness said Jamaica is prepared to offer bilateral support if needed.
“It is our real hope that Haiti will soon overcome her challenges and embark on a path toward restoration of stability, long-lasting peace, and sustainable development for her land and people with the full backing of the international community,” he said.
Malta’s ambassador to the U.N. and current president of the Security Council, Vanessa Frazier, said on Tuesday that she welcomed Jamaica’s declaration, but had yet to receive notifications from other nations.
“Hopefully we will, because we understand that this … multinational security force is very important and is required on the ground in order to stabilize the situation in Haiti,” she said.
Jamaica is a member of a regional trade bloc known as Caricom, which issued a statement last week encouraging “all stakeholders to come together in their search for a consensus agreement” to resolve what it called a protracted political stalemate in Haiti. It said it would meet in the Caribbean to discuss the matter.
With the expiration of the terms of the remaining 10 senators in early January, Haiti lost all democratically elected institutions. It has been over a year since Prime Minister Ariel Henry promised general elections. However, a provisional electoral council has not been chosen, which some critics say has led to a de facto dictatorship.
Following the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moise at his private residence, Haiti has also seen unprecedented levels of violence, with gangs now controlling 60% of the capital.
According to the U.N, kidnappings increased by a quarter last year to 1,359 and killings increased by a third to 2,183.
“These are truly chilling figures,” Charles said. “The situation in Haiti is extremely urgent.”
Despite a spike in violence and widespread hunger, Haiti’s National Police has fewer than 9,000 active officers in a country with more than 11 million people.