By Audley Phillip
The reality of what needs to be done in Haiti hasn’t yet dawned on Caricom.
We need to acknowledge how bad the situation is before we can attempt to do anything about it.
Thugs and gangs rule the day in Haiti. They have enormous power. Gangs have literally killed thousands of people this year alone and they continue to terrorize civilians and businesses, not only with threats of murder, but also abduction for ransom, extortion and rape.
Even the churches and companies like Digicel spends enormous sums of money in order to ensure the safety and security of their operation in Haiti.
Haiti has struggled from decades of corrupt leadership and weakened democratic institutions that have literally plunged the country into a state of terror and lawlessness. It has all but decimated the country’s largest economic driver – agriculture. Arms proliferation is hot and the political class is always willing and ready to weaponize the gangs and thugs as a means of clinging to power.
It is widely known that many Government officials are either beholden to the gangs or they use them for their own self interest.
The crisis in Haiti requires a TWO pronged approach.that will address both SECURITY and POLITICAL concerns. Haiti’s existing government and police force is incapable of providing security on its own. The International community must authorize the immediate deployment of a robust INTERNATIONAL FORCE, led by a competent military army, such as the United States army, as nothing short of that will do.
I am also mindful of the fact that Haitians are immensely skeptical, and often reject any solution that involve foreign troops on their ground. They continue to say that the scope for any such mission must be very limited in scope and length. But Haiti is in no position to dictate the terms of any assistance and this must be made clear to them. Put up or shut up!
Critical to any security forces being deployed in Haiti MUST be POLITICAL CHANGE and the installation of a TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT made up of the church, civil society, business leaders and more. Without that assurance, it is hopeless sending foreign troops into Haiti as all we would be doing is simply propping up the current government and lending credibility where there is absolutely none.
Haiti has been on the precipice of disaster and chaos for quite a long time and by the look of things, that will continue for a long time in the foreseeable future without meaningful change.
The proposed plans to send Kenyan troops aided by troops from Antigua, Jamaica and Bahamas can do very little to help the situation there. In fact, I think that we are putting our men and women in uniform in unnecessary harms way without a clear and decisive long term mandate. We cannot continue to sure up a government that is a big part of the existing problem. We would clearly be complicit to the real situation and is simply trying to cover an open wound with a bandage, instead of treating and dealing with the symptoms.
So while I understand that something must be done in order to help Haiti, if we are not prepared to do it properly, we are just wasting our time and effort.and might actually be doing more harm than good by sending our soldiers there in such a tumultuous and hostile environment.
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