By Chris Patterson
KINGSTON, Jamaica, (GIS) – Jamaica is prepared to deploy troops to Haiti as part of a multinational response to deteriorating security conditions in the French-speaking island. Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, gave the commitment while responding to questions during the quarterly press conference at the office of the prime minister on August 3, 2023.
Prime Minister Holness said 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.
The government of Kenya has offered to send 1,000 police officers to Haiti and lead a multinational force to support the efforts of the police in quelling escalating violence caused by armed gangs.
United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has welcomed Kenya’s readiness to help and has encouraged other countries, particularly within the Caribbean, to join the effort.
“The question is, are we sending troops to Haiti? Yes, but an important caveat is that we just can’t, on our own, as I have said, get up and send troops.
“We just don’t have the resources but [even so], even if we did, you want to have an international imprimatur and our commitment has always been with the appropriate jurisdictional arrangement, meaning a [United Nations] Security Council resolution. It is the same for Kenya and when I spoke with president Kagame, it was the same requirement for him as well,” prime minister Holness said.
Meanwhile, the prime minister pointed out that the deployment of Jamaican troops to the CARICOM Member State would not negatively impact the security response capability locally.
“We certainly can’t go up to the 1,000 troops that has been suggested in the media for the Kenyans, but we will give what we can.
“Whatever we do cannot impact in a negative way our own security challenges here. But as a sovereign nation, we look at all threats to our stability and security and we act preemptively and strategically to ensure that we have capabilities to deal with those threats,” he noted.