Foreign military help unavoidable in Haiti to end chaos, pundits say

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The visit by a CARICOM delegation to Haiti this week has been welcomed by many Haitian political stakeholders, but others fear all the efforts might be in vain should international actors fail to deploy a multinational military force to help the impoverished Caribbean country cope with the current catastrophic security situation, pundits say.

Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Michael Holness who led a CARICOM delegation to Haiti met on Tuesday with diverse political and social actors in quest of a rapprochement between Haitian protagonists. An official report on the outcome of those talks is yet to be communicated to the local media who were kept away.

Director of the Haitian Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights (CARDH), Gedeon Jean, who attended a meeting with the CARICOM delegation, said his group and other Haitian actors particularly put emphasis on the necessity to primarily address the security situation.

“What the population needs first is security, and it is clear that no one can rely on the Haitian police to provide the needed security,” the head of the human rights organisation based in Port-au-Prince told HCNN on Wednesday.

“So there is no other option. The deployment of an adapted foreign military force, which could result from a bilateral or multinational effort, is unavoidable.”

He added: “It is not that the police do not have the will to crack on gangs, but they don’t have the capability.”

“Bandits are raping women, girls; they kill and kidnap people as they please. Nearly 60 per cent of the capital’s metropolitan area are controlled by gangs.

“Imagine a police with no drones, not even one helicopter, they don’t have any technological tools, they lack appropriate weaponry…,” said Jean.

Several highly regarded personalities who usually avoid getting involved in the heated political debates have decided to speak out, saying that the situation in the country has become unbearable.

“The deployment to Haiti of a foreign military force is absolutely necessary to help the country find its way out of the crisis,” said Patrick Moussignac, a prominent investor and owner of Radio and TV Caraibes, the number one and most popular media outlet in Haiti.

“At this phase, there’s no other way. We should admit that we can’t do it alone. Haiti is now like a cancer that has metastasized.”

Moussignac said the worst thing that can happen is when “those who have the mission to protect you cannot protect themselves.”

He was referring to a wave of attacks on police officers that resulted in dozens of them being killed in the past year.

Moussignac also called on Haitian political protagonists to put Haiti on top of their agenda to end the ongoing political infightings.

He described a December 21, 2022 Accord adopted by a number of political actors, including the government, the private sector, and religious authorities, as a good step towards the end of the deadlock.

Helen La Lime, the UN Secretary-General Special Representative in Haiti, said a rapid action military force should be deployed to the CARICOM nation.

“Without the deployment of such a force which would be done in cooperation with the Haitian National police, the very positive effects of the political process and sanctions so far imposed will remain fragile and vulnerable; they risk to be wiped out,” La Lime stated during a meeting of the UN Security Council at the end of last year. “Haitians desperately need the assistance so that they may resume their activities and live their lives in peace.”

Despite substantial support for the deployment of a multinational force, the prominent group, commonly known as the Montana Accord, says it rejects any move which could include sending foreign military to Haiti.

“We’ve seen several deployments of the kind in Haiti, but they never brought about any solution,” said Magalie Comeau Denis of the Montana Accord.

“We promote a national solution to the Haitian crisis and to solve it once and for all.”

A representative of the Montana Accord also attended the Meeting with the CARICOM delegation on Tuesday.

A prominent Haitian actor, Jorchemy Jean-Baptiste who took part in the meeting with Prime Minister Holness, said he was very moved when the Jamaican leader said as he closed one of the sessions on Tuesday: “You Haitians are the first black nation that has invented the word freedom. Why can’t this nation also become one of the most prosperous and stable black nations in the world?”

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