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HAITI-POLITICS-CARICOM says it has not been able to reach any form of consensus on Haiti


GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Mar 6, CMC – The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Wednesday said it has not been “able to reach any form of consensus” regarding the situation in Haiti despite working on the issue over the past three days.

“Despite many, many meetings we have not yet been able to reach any form of consensus between the government and respective stakeholders in the opposition, the private sector, civil society, and religious organizations, CARICOM Chairman and Guyana’s President Dr. Irfaan Ali said in a video statement.

CARICOM Chairman and Guyana President Dr. Irfaan Ali reading out the latest statement by the regional grouping on Haiti (CMC Photo)

He described the unfolding situation in Haiti, which is part of the 15-member regional integration movement “as complex with many moving parts.

“It is compounded by the absence of key institutions functioning such as the Presidency and the Parliament. This is further undermined by the outbreaks of violence and a lack of humanitarian aid,” Ali said.

He said CARICOM has been urging “all Haitian stakeholders of an urgent need for a consensus given that they all agree that the solution must be Haitian led and Haitian born.

“Consensus and getting a consensus is therefore of paramount importance,” Ali said, adding that CARICOM recognizes that there must be a political solution “to anchor any stabilization of a security and humanitarian effort”.

He said the fact that more people have died in Haiti in the early part of this year than in Ukraine, which is involved in a war with Russia “must give everyone in Haiti and the international community serious pause”

Ali said that the issue is being taken to the United Nations Security Council later on Wednesday, saying “It is clear that Haiti, even with a homegrown solution will need the support of not just CARICOM but the international community”.

But Ali said to get there, “we must have consensus among the key players in Haiti, adding “they are all aware of the price of failure”.

Ali said that the CARICOM leaders were continuing their meetings Wednesday “with all concerned” and that the regional leaders would continue to provide updates on the situation.

“We in CARICOM are fully committed to utilizing all our efforts and all our energies and dedicated as a collective on this pressing matter of Haiti,” Ali said.

Earlier, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk, called for the “urgent deployment, with no further delay” of the planned security force the UN Security Council approved in October last year.

Türk urged the international community to act swiftly and decisively to prevent Haiti’s further descent into chaos.

He said last weekend’s mass prison breakout has been described by Haitian officials as a lethal threat to national security.

Haitian officials confirmed that more than 4,500 inmates are now known to have escaped, among them prominent gang members as well as those arrested in connection with the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse on July 7, 2021.

The break followed coordinated gang action against national institutions with the stated aim of bringing down the Haitian government.

“This situation is beyond untenable for the people of Haiti. Since the beginning of the year, a staggering 1,193 people have been killed, and 692 others injured by gang violence,” Turk said.

“The health system is on the brink of collapse. Hospitals often cannot treat those arriving with gunshot wounds. Schools and businesses are closed, and children are increasingly used by gangs. Economic activity is asphyxiated as gangs impose restrictions on people’s movements.  Haiti’s biggest provider of drinking water has stopped deliveries. At least 313 000 people are currently internally displaced,” he added.

Ahead of the Security Council meeting, Türk called once again for the urgent deployment, with no further delay, of the Multinational Security Support Mission in Haiti (MSS), to support the National Police and bring security to the Haitian people, under conditions that comply with international human rights norms and standards.

“The reality is that, in the current context, there is no realistic alternative available to protect lives. We are simply running out of time,” the High Commissioner said.

Haiti has imposed a seven-hour curfew as well as a state of emergency after criminal gangs last weekend stepped up their fight to remove Prime Minister Dr. Ariel Henry from office.

Henry is now stranded in Puerto Rico after having traveled to Kenya where he signed an agreement allowing for the UN Security Council-sanctioned international force led by the African country to restore peace and security in his troubled country.

But the criminal gangs that have all, but taken over the capital, Port au Prince, said a new government would soon be installed with a judge, Durin Duret Jr.,  as chairman assisted by former rebel leader and former police commissioner Guy Philippe, and Francoise Saint-Vil Villier, from the religious sector.