Thursday, March 23, 2023


Trudeau Still Doesn’t Offer Military Operation on the Ground in Haiti, but Promises Other Help

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may have disappointed Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry at CARICOM on Thursday when he fell short of offering military presence on the ground in Haiti to quash the surge of unimaginable gang violence in the troubled island nation.

Trudeau instead, promised to deploy two Royal Canadian Navy ships to conduct surveillance and gather intelligence for Haitian police, to assist with quelling the violence –HMCS Glace Bay and Moncton from West Africa, along with 90 sailors.

“Today, I am announcing that Canada will also deploy Royal Canadian Navy vessels to conduct surveillance, gather intelligence and maintain a maritime presence off the Haitian coast in the coming weeks. Canada continues to reinforce the capacities of the Haitian police to overpower armed gangs and hold those who support them accountable.”

Henry, who also participated in the meetings, asked for a foreign military intervention, which the United Nations supports. Instead, the United States suggested that Canada lead the discussions of military operations.

20 dead, thousands flee homes as gangs battle in Haiti - Los Angeles Times

“Canada is elbows deep in terms of trying to help. The best thing we can do to help is enable the Haitian leadership and the patient people themselves to be driving their pathway out of this crisis,” he said in the Bahamas when pressed by reporters.

Trudeau has since stated that Haiti’s restoration must be led by the Haitian people and has left the idea of military intervention as a last resort indicating that Caribbean countries must play a role in “legitimizing” international help, otherwise military operations by the US or Canada can be viewed as “colonialist” interventions.

He also added two other influential Haitians to a list of 15–accused of corruption and gang ties. This group of sanctioned individuals is banned from making economic dealings in Canada—former interim president Jocelerme Privert and ex-political aide Salim Succar.

Gangs Advance on the Seat of Haitian Government Power: 'Haitians Are Hostages' - The New York Times

An additional 12.3 million dollars will be given for humanitarian help and 10 million dollars to assist the International Office on Migration to protect Haitian women and children along the borders.

“The toll of human suffering in Haiti weighs heavily on me.”

Haiti is an embattled country fighting humanitarian, political, and social ills, and since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in 2021, it has descended into further chaos with the raping of Haitian women and children, kidnappings for ransom, and the killing of law enforcement officers.


Photo credits: New York Times, The Guardian

Canada Prime Minister Trudeau Leads on Talks to Quell Haiti’s Crisis

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s arrival in the Bahamas on Wednesday means the beginning of talks on Haiti’s deepening crisis after the US suggested it lead the intervention in the failed island nation.

When Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who will also participate in the CARICOM meetings, asked for a foreign military intervention due to the strangled hold gangs have on his country’s resources, the United States immediately suggested that Canada lead the discussions and send military troops on the ground.

Trudeau has since stated that any effort to restore Haiti must be led by the Haitian people and has left the idea of military intervention as a last resort, though the US said it should lead one.

Before his arrival to the Bahamas, Trudeau’s office said his discussions at the Caribbean summit, will allow leaders to consider political, security, and humanitarian assistance to Haiti and seek “Haitian-led solutions to the ongoing situation.”

According to Canadian media, Trudeau, when speaking in French, stated before his arrival, that Caribbean countries must play a role in “legitimizing” international help for Haitian people after decades of failed “colonialist” interventions.

In a prèss conference on Tuesday, Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis said Canada and the United States must step up to assist Haiti since the Bahamas has felt the brunt of Haiti’s economic and social instability, through the influx of thousands of Haitians fleeing the troubled state.

“We (The Bahamas) do not have the resources to be able to deal with the Haiti problem ourselves and we do need outside help.”

Davis hinted that the Bahamas would be willing to send personnel to a security mission if it’s needed.

Waves of violence have swept Haiti marked by poverty, the assassination of Haiti President Jovenel Moise in 2021, rising energy prices, corruption, and civil unrest.

Trudeau will speak to the Caribbean panel on Thursday and leave for Ottawa later in the evening.

Photo: Prime Ministers Justin Trudeau and Ariel Henry arrive in the Bahamas on Wednesday to attend the Caribbean Summit

The Survival of the Fittest: Most Men Were Rescued From the Capsized Boat. Women and Child Died

Only the strong survived the boat tragedy on Sunday when 17 Haitians including a child died when a human smuggling vessel capsized in Bahamian waters on their way to Florida.

The dead included 15 women, one man, and a child. The other 25 passengers were rescued from the 30-foot speedboat which overturned in choppy waters in Nassau.

It was reported that 60 people may have been on board the boat and authorities may be searching for up to eighteen missing people, unaccounted for.

In a picture issued by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, only men were seen sitting atop the capsized vessel, awaiting rescue by divers.

A woman was pulled from the hull of the boat and was reported to have survived due to an air pocket.

Commissioner of Police Clayton Fernander said divers heard a knocking from the hull of the boat and found one woman.

“I think that’s what kept her alive.”

A graphic image showing the deceased recovered from the boating tragedy. The migrants were Haitians being smuggled to Miami, Florida.

Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry said he sympathized with the parents of the victims.

“This new drama saddens the whole nation,” he said. “While sympathizing with the parents of the victims, I launch, once again, an appeal for national reconciliation in order to solve the problems that are driving away, far from our soil, our brothers, our sisters, our children.”

The passengers who survived the ordeal said they paid smugglers $3000 to $8000 to catch the boat ride to Florida. Authorities have since arrested two Bahamian traffickers who are known for other criminal acts.

Haiti Gets New Prime Minister

Ariel Henry was officially sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Haiti, following the assassination of President Jovenel Moise, nearly two weeks.

Henry’s official appointment comes as a power struggle intensified in the Caribbean nation and its government hastened to front strong leadership after Moise was killed.

Ariel Henry at his swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday. Claude Joseph is seen in the top left photo.

Though an interim Prime Minister, Henry replaces Claude Joseph, who became the face of the Haitian government after Moise’s death.

Henry is backed by the Core Group which is comprised of ambassadors from Canada, the United States, Germany, France, Brazil, Spain, France, the European Union and representatives from the United Nations and the Organization of American States.

The 71-year-old neurosurgeon and former cabinet minister stated at his swearing-in ceremony, “One of my priority tasks will be to reassure the people that we will do everything to restore order and security,” according to AFP news agency.

Why it matters

Joseph, the country’s foreign affairs minister, held the post of interim prime minister while Jovenel served as President.

One day before Jovenel died, he appointed Henry to the position to replace Joseph. But Henry was never sworn in.

After the assassination, Joseph asserted himself as leader causing a power vacuum.

However, on Sunday, Joseph said he would step down “for the good of the nation.”

“Everyone who knows me knows that I am not interested in this battle, or in any kind of power grab,” Joseph said.

“The president was a friend to me. I am just interested in seeing justice for him.”

The big picture

Moise was killed by assassins at his home in the early morning hours. His wife was injured during the attack, received medical care in the United States and this week returned to the troubled island nation.

Nearly 28 foreign mercenaries were arrested after the attack, including two US citizens of Haitian descent and 26 Columbians which included ex-military men.

State of play

Moise’s funeral is scheduled for Friday.

Haiti’s election is expected in September.

Haitian Leaders Grapple for Position. What This Means for the Bahamas

Since the death of Haitian President Jovenel Moise, the poorest country in the Americas is fighting to appoint a new leader, amid an already fragile economic, political and social situation.

Uncertainty among its leadership has the potential to further plunge Haiti into unrest as it grapples to maintain law and order after years of chaos in its streets, widespread gang violence, and inflation.

Claude Joseph has stepped forward as the Interim Prime Minister since the death of Jovenel. He appears to be leading the country through its most trying time in its history, giving updates on the assassination as newly-appointed prime minister Ariel Henry stands in the background.

President Jovenel appointed Joseph as a temporary leader and one day before his death, nominated Henry to replace Joseph.

Joseph told the Associated Press that he had spoken to Henry three times and both agreed that he would be in charge for now.

Joseph said of Henry, “He was actually designated but never took office.

“I was the one who was a prime minister, who was in office. This is what the law and the constitution say.”

However, Henry who was waiting to be sworn in, said in a separate interview with AP, “It’s an exceptional situation. There is a bit of confusion.”

“I am the prime minister in office.”

The  Supreme Court’s chief justice, who would have brought stability to leadership in a time like this, recently died of COVID-19.

Where the Bahamas stands

The killing of the Haitian president has the potential to increase mass migration to the Bahamas, which already has a migration problem from the land of more than 11 million people.

After the assassination, the Dominican Republic which shares a border with Haiti, immediately closed its border.

Bahamas Foreign Affairs Minister Darren Henfield said the Bahamas has strengthened its borders in response to the act, as well.

Haitians, in time past, have reported that they leave the troubled island-nation to escape the extreme poverty and widespread violence, and leave for the Bahamas, which is considered peaceful with a more stable political, social and economic sphere.

It is feared that the assassination and a power struggle among its leaders could leave Haitians scared and result in large numbers fleeing to the Bahamas.

Haitian government must show strong leadership so that the people can feel safe and remain at home.