Tuesday, October 3, 2023


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

Haiti’s Slain President Laid to Rest Amidst Cries for Justice

Funeral service for slain President Jovenel Moise got underway in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, on Friday morning, as an angry crowd demanded justice for the late president who was shot dead in his home nearly two weeks ago.

As Moise’s widow, also injured during the attack, ascended the stairway to his wooden casket, cries of “Justice! Justice!” from the crowd gathered nearby, echoed throughout the private ceremony.

Martine was adorned in black with her right arm resting in a sling, and surrounded by her three children.

They were joined by mourners from around the world who descended on the small village where Moise grew up.

Heavy security personnel armed with high-powered weapons enveloped the private ceremony.

As Haiti’s National Police Chief León Charles arrived, one woman shouted, “You didn’t take any measures to save Jovenel! You contributed to his killing!”

Another man yelled at Charles, “You need to leave now or we’re going to get you after the funeral!”

The day before the funeral, violence flared in the streets as protesters set tires on fire to block roadways. Protesters say they want to know how and why Moise was assassinated.


Photo credit: AP Press

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.

Minnis: The Bahamas Condemns the Assassins of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis expressed dismay and disturbance at the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse on Wednesday morning.

Minnis, in a statement released by his office, said his government “strongly condemns the actions of the perpetrators.”

“We offer our deepest condolences to the Government and the people of Haiti.”

“We pray for the people of Haiti and for a peaceful resolution to the political crises,” he said.

Minnis added that Caricom has had ongoing discussions on the social and political unrest in Haiti and has since offered assistance to find a “peaceful resolution to the political crises” there.

“I have been in contact with the Honourable Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community.”

Minnis assured that embassy staff in Haiti’s capital remains safe as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs monitors the situation.

Why it matters

President Jovenal Moïse was killed by unidentified men clad in black at his private residence in the capital Port-au-Prince.

Interim Prime Minister Claude Jean has called for calm and declared a state of emergency for two weeks.

He called the act, “heinous, inhumane and barbaric.”

Minnis and Jovenel

President Moïse welcomed Prime Minister Minnis to the country in 2018  at the National Palace of the Republic of Haiti where a high-level meeting was held between the two men.

During the meeting, Minnis and Moïse highlighted the need for the creation of economic, commercial and investment opportunities between Haiti and The Bahamas and encouraged closer collaboration between national, regional and international law enforcement institutions, to fight illegal immigration, illicit trafficking in narcotics and the smuggling of migrants.

Haitian President Assassinated in Early Morning Hours. Who was Jovenal Moïse?

Haiti has been placed in a state of emergency following the assassination of President Jovenal Moïse, killed in the early hours of Wednesday at his private residence near Port-au-Prince.

The wife of the president First Lady Martine Moïse was also shot during the ordeal as unidentified assailants stormed residents speaking Spanish.

Residents reported hearing high-powered weapons being fired at around 1am and seeing men dressed in black as they ran through the neighbourhood, along with sounds of grenades and drones overhead echoing through the early morning hours.

In a video captured of the event, someone speaking English with an American accent is heard saying, “DEA operation. Everybody stand down DEA operation. Everybody back up, stand down.”

But US sources said the assailants were imposters and Haitian government officials said, “these were mercenaries.”

Claude Joseph now stands as the interim prime minister. The government has described it as “a barbaric act.

Here’s what to know about Jovenal Moïse

  • The fifty-three-year-old was Haiti’s 58th president.
  • Jovenel Moïse was known as the “Banana Man” because he exported bananas. He never held a political office before he came to office in 2017. Moise campaigned under the moniker Neg Bannan Nan or the Banana Man, a reference to his farming roots.
  • Moïse was from northern Haiti and the political protégé of former President Michel Martelly.
  • Moïse was ruling by decree since January 2019. He was due to held a general election in 2019, but the election was postponed. The election was expected t be held in September.
  • Critics of his government said he was holding on to power as his reign became deeply unpopular among citizens.
  • Moïse supported changes to the 1987 constitution, which was met with opposition.
  • The day before his assassination,  Moïse named a new prime minister, Dr. Ariel Henry, to head the government and prepare the country for elections in September for president, a new parliament and local government officials.