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A CARICOM delegation led by Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness visited Port-au-Prince
on Monday (2/27/23) to hold meetings with the government and civil society leaders. The visit
was made in hopes of gaining a better understanding of the debilitating effects of the instability
and violence on the daily lives of people in Haiti. The delegation also included diplomats and
minister from Trinidad and Tobago and The Bahamas was slated as a way for the Caribbean
community to see how best CARICOM leaders can help the Haitians find their own way out of
the current morass. The decision to help Haiti started soon after the assassination of President
Jovenel Moïse but the security concerns in the country did not make an earlier visit possible.
Faced with a growing wave of anti-government protests that crippled his administration and
made it impossible for to govern amid calls for his resignation, the 15-member CARICOM
offered to mediate the political impasse, but President Moïse never acted on this, and his
untimely death derailed any intervention by CARICOM. The US and Canada then called on the
regional group to step up their efforts to help a beleaguered Haiti.
Last month, the Jamaican Prime Minister expressed his willingness to have Jamaican soldiers
and police officers participate in a foreign military intervention in Haiti, following the request by
the interim Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry and the UN Secretary General, António Guterres
for the rapid deployment of a foreign intervention force to assist the national police, (PNH) in
tackling the gang violence. But in recent days, CARICOM decided that such a deployment is
premature. The delegation met with other political actors, to garner support for the Prime
Minister’s December 21 political accord put in place, together with various political and civil
society groups that seek to create a roadmap leading to general elections. The delegation also met
with the leaders of the national police, a meeting that was brokered by Canada, with members of
the Royal Canadian Mounted Police also present. Both Canada and the regional group are
counting on the national police, (PNH) to restore peace and stability to the country. Welcoming
the Caribbean group’s role in helping facilitate an inclusive political dialogue, the Canadian PM,
who was a special guest at the Summit, said his country would like to a more inclusive dialogue
and a broader consensus on the political agreement among Haitians to make troop deployment
more legitimate. But the increasing capabilities of the national police is tempered by increasing
fractionalization within the force; a force that has been struggling with defections and deaths in
recent months, made even worse by the Biden Administration’s new immigration parole
program. For his part, interim PM Ariel Henry welcomed PM Holness and the delegation’s
assurance of supporting the Haitian people and their willingness to work for a return to
democracy. Mr. Henri stated that tangible ways in which CARICOM, Canada and other partners
can assist with Haiti’s security challenges were discussed, and increased violence in the country
can mainly be attributed to major organized criminal activities or gangs.
Meanwhile, the Canadian government has pledged US$22m to help the poor and disadvantaged
in the country. According to public reports, Canada will allocate CAN$12.3m to be used to meet
the food and nutrition needs of vulnerable communities and urgent and security needs related to
the sexual and reproductive health of poor women and girls. The funds will also help prevent and
respond to gender-based violence, as well as provide potable water, sanitation, and hygiene
services to fight and prevent cholera. According to the Ministry of Public Health and Population
(MSPP), there have been 2,283 cases of cholera, and 594 deaths recorded between October 2,
2022, and February 12, 2023, across the country, with the West Department, which includes the
capital, Port-au-Prince, reporting 65% of all the reported cases. Additional CAN$10m is slated

for protecting women and children along the border towns between Haiti and the Dominican
Republic, who have been subjected to abuse and ill-treatment by the Dominican authorities in
recent years. Dominican Authorities have engaged in massive repatriations of Haitian nationals
and people suspected of having Haitian roots, outside of acceptable international norms. The
Canadian government further announced the sending of more than CAN$98m to meet the urgent
and basic needs of the population, in particular the fight against food insecurity, the improvement
of health, rights, sexual and reproductive health of women and girls. This assistance includes
providing medical and psychosocial support to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence,
protecting women and girls, and strengthening security and justice. While a special guest at the
just concluded 44 th Summit of the Heads of State of the CARICOM in Nassau, Bahamas, PM
Justin Trudeau said that the ties that unite Canada and the CARICOM community are based on
long-standing partnerships and shared priorities. He noted that there are many challenges to
tackle together such as supporting Haitians, taking climate action, building resilience, creating
new economic opportunities for businesses and workers and, above all, putting people in the
heart of all efforts.
Former PM Gerald Latortue passed away early yesterday morning (Monday) in his home in Boca
Raton, Florida, according to reports. The former PM who served under Boniface Alenxandre’s
administration was 88 years old. The Gonaïves native was born on June 19, 1934, and served as
prime minister during the transitional government of Alexandre from March 2004 through June

  1. He worked for a long time for the United Nations and was Minister of Foreign Affairs
    under the administration of Leslie François Manigat, from February to June 1988. In a tweet,
    current interim PM Ariel Henry said Latortue’s death is a huge loss to the nation he served as
    head of government. Adding that Latortue was a reformer, a convinced patriot, an eminent
    technocrat, a voice of change, of development, and a supporter of democracy.
    The doctors’ strike at the state university hospital, HUEH, is still ongoing over two months now.
    The doctors, who have called for better working conditions and equipment, said that they will
    not end their strike as long as the authorities concerned are not willing to address their demands.
    During a previous meeting with the striking physicians, the Ministry of Health, Dr. Lauré Adrien
    announced provisions aimed at creating better working conditions, but the results of such
    promises have not been translated to action on the ground.
    Dela Harlley

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