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.
“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.
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