Mon | Jun 5, 2023

Bahamas orders evacuation of diplomatic mission in Haiti

Published:Friday | January 27, 2023 | 8:19 AM
Rebel police officers protest in Haiti on Thursday, January 26, 2023. – CMC photo.

NASSAU, Bahamas, CMC – The Bahamas government has ordered an immediate departure of all diplomatic personnel from Haiti or as soon as security conditions permit.

“Up to this time, there was a voluntary departure order in place and all staff at the embassy chose to stay. Per the new instructions, they are to leave for home as soon as conditions permit,” according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday night.

“This is only a temporary measure in light of recent developments which require a corporate security and intelligence assessment and restaging.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that on Thursday morning the head of the diplomatic mission in Port au Prince “reported that they had been stopped by Haitian police and relieved of their vehicle and weapons.

“This is part of a protest by the Haitian National Police against their own authorities. All of our diplomats are personally safe. There also is a report of five Bahamians from Bahamasair who landed at Port Au Prince Airport and were unable to leave the environs of the airport. They are all safe and well.”

Nassau said that the security situation in Haiti “appears less stable over the past three days in the country, and we are taking steps out of an abundance of caution. The pattern of security concerns is one of ebb and flow and these withdrawals are sometimes necessary to regroup.

“The security forces in our country have been alerted to these developments. As soon as conditions permit a team will be sent back into Haiti without further announcement,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Meanwhile, Haitian police officers on Thursday blocked streets and forced their way into the main airport to protest the recent killing of officers by armed gangs.

Media reports said that protesters in civilian clothes, who identified themselves as police, first attacked Prime Minister Ariel Henry's official residence and then flooded the airport as he was arriving from a trip to Argentina where he attended the seventh summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

Henry, who came to office following the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moise, had urged member countries of CELAC, “especially those who can” help deal with the ongoing socio-economic and political situation in his French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.

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