Sat | Dec 9, 2023

Bahamas PM calls for Haitian-led initiative to solve crisis

Published:Thursday | January 26, 2023 | 12:41 AM
Bahamas Prime Minister Phillip Davis addressing CELAC summit.
Bahamas Prime Minister Phillip Davis addressing CELAC summit.


Bahamas Prime Minister Phillip Davis says the solution to the unfolding socio-economic and political situation in Haiti lies in a Haitian-led initiative that should include the support of CARICOM leaders.

“The crisis in Haiti is getting worse,” said Davis, who is also chairman of the 15-member regional integration movement.

“The tragic situation there continues to pose a substantial threat not only to Haitians, but also to The Bahamas and neighbouring countries, all of whom are experiencing a significant increase in irregular and often dangerous migration,” Davis said as he addressed the seventh summit of the Community of Latin American and the Caribbean States (CELAC).

“With the support and leadership of Haiti, collectively, we can, through CELAC and other regional organisations, help Haitians build a path out of crisis. We commend Haitian-led efforts to hold elections before the end of 2023, to arrest the threat to public security posed by violent gangs, to relieve hunger and malnutrition, and to alleviate the political crisis.”

Davis said enhanced regional partnership can especially help to scale up capacity-building for the local police and tackle trafficking, particularly in people, contraband, and guns.

“These Haiti-led solutions provide promising alternatives to the usual inclination to carry out activities in Haiti without Haitian direction and the preference for investing in the strengthening of the NGOs in Haiti as opposed to strengthening her public institutions.”

On Tuesday, CARICOM issued a statement saying that it had taken note of the efforts being made by various groups in Haiti to negotiate a political accord since 2021 to contribute to resolving the protracted political stalemate

In the brief statement, the regional integration grouping of which Haiti is a member, said that the efforts include the latest agreement that was made public by Prime Minister Dr Ariel Henry on December 21 last year.

“CARICOM urges all stakeholders to come together in their search for a consensus agreement. The community remains willing and ready to assist in achieving this goal and in that regard had commenced sounding Haitian stakeholders over the past few weeks about their willingness to attend a meeting in a CARICOM country,” CARICOM said in its statement.

In October last year, Henry asked for a foreign security force to help re-establish control and enable humanitarian aid deliveries. Many Haitian civil society groups oppose this request, and no country has offered to lead such a force.

A political standoff between Henry’s government and rival political and civil society leaders, many of whom have backed a proposal, the Montana Accord, to form a transitional government, has prevented the country from scheduling elections to replace officials whose terms have expired.

A senior United Nations official told the UN Security Council on Tuesday that Haiti’s protracted political and humanitarian crises, marked by spiking levels of gang-related violence and a badly struggling national police force, are reversing crucial security and development strides made since the devastating 2010 earthquake.

“Years of hard-fought recovery gains are being undone, and Haitians are grappling with setting the country back on a path to democracy,” said Helen La Lime, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Haiti.