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After their fact finding mission to the capital Port-au-Prince last week, Kenyan officials have
concluded the need for an operational task force to combat the heavily armed gangs that are making the
country not only unlivable, but gripped with fear across the board. This comes after sources revealed a
meeting in New York with UN officials and the Kenyan delegation, after they witnessed firsthand what
is going on in the country. The meeting was held in the presence of the Kenyan delegation freshly
returned from Haiti and the Haitian UN permanent representative, Antonio Rodrigue, who was taxed
with informing the delegation, and all involved, with making the decision for an intervention that the
option for a static force may not be suitable for the current state of affairs in the country. While the US
and Ecuador are working on drafting a proposal to authorize intervention, there are concerns that a
static force would mean the deployment of a multinational force that would focus more on the
protection of strategic buildings and infrastructure. But after discussions and workshops with the senior
staff of the PNH during the visit of the Kenyan delegation to Port-au-Prince, this option was no longer
being entertained. According to the head of the Kenyan mission, Ambassador George Orina, after
meeting with high-ranking government officials, head of the police force and the diplomatic corps, the
delegation is convinced that the country needs an offensive task force to solve the armed gang problem
in the country.
Meanwhile, a CARICOM delegation is expected in the country from September 4, 2023, through
September 10, 2023, to mediate the crisis, as the last attempt to obtain an agreement on a roadmap to
moving the country forward, by all stakeholders in the current stalemate. The press release indicated
that the current crop of mediators will follow the same process as the previous meeting in Jamaica, a
push for an agreement, but it is not known yet who are the stakeholders being invited to this meeting.
The first attempt in Kingston, last June, shows clearly the division into two camps: the December 21
Accord signatories, which included PM Henry and his allies on one hand, and the signatories of the
Kingston joint declaration, which included Fanmi Lavalas, En Avant, EDE,Montana Accord group and
the Collectif du 30 janvier. It is further noted that discussions started by the apostolic nunciature,
representative of the Vatican in the country, at the end of July and the beginning of August, to obtain a
framework for discussion to facilitate the task of the CARICOM mediators are at a standstill, given the
sticky point of governance that brought everything to the standstill. According to PM Ariel Henry and
his camp, they wanted to increase the number of the transitional council (HCT), while the others
wanted a bi-cephalous executive with presidential college, but with an assurance that the office of the
current interim prime minister would not be jeopardized. There is speculation that the current push for
CARICOM talks, comes at the time whrn the UN is working with such partners as the US, Ecuador,
and Canada, to advance an intervention force (the Kenyan option), while pursuing a political solution at
the same time in the hopes that something tangible comes out in time for the Prime Minister to show at
the next UN General Assembly coming up next month.
Elsewhere, the twin evils of climate change and gang violence have conspired to endanger agricultural
production, especially rice cultivation in the Artibonite region, according to the agronomist, Kency Ben
Dieujuste, who spoke about the problem on Monday morning’s environment show, la chronique de
l’environnement on AlterRadio 106.1FM. He intimated that the Artibonite department is very affected
by the climate of terror of armed bandits, as the communes of Petite Rivière de l’Artibonite, L’Estère
and Dessalines, are totally controlled by armed gangs, resulting in a massive exodus of the population
and planters. This has subsequently decapitated rice production in the region. Furthermore, the erratic
and unpredictable weather pattern that has become the norm these days – long periods of drought and
occasional flooding from torrential rains – have decimated agricultural production for some time now.
Climate disturbances are delaying the rainy season by more than three months, disrupting agricultural
planning with significant consequences for the use of arable land, while rice production is heavily
dependable on the availability of water. The environmental conditions have considerably reduced the

quantity of water available for watering agricultural fields, located on both banks of the canals fed by
the Péligre Dam. Rice production in the commune of Dessalines, which represents 32% of production
in the Artibonite Valley, production in the commune of Petite Rivière de l’Artibonite, which represents
24%; 30% for the municipalities of Saint-Marc, Grande Saline and Estère, and 14% for the
municipalities of Verrettes and Liancourt, has completely decreased. 40% of all the production in the
Artibonite Valley, are wasted because of lack of preservation and storage facilities, as well as the bad
road network that prevents the produce to get to the markets across the nation.
With regards to the insecurity, there is ample proof that peasants have not been able to till the soil or go
to their farms for some months now. In Liancourt, most families have abandoned their homes to seek
refuge elsewhere from the marauding gangs. Those who remain, are unable to go anywhere and are
trapped. The armed gangs have wounded 5 people and kidnapped over twenty others in the town on
August 18, 2023. The human rights group, RNDDH, also reported that since the beginning of the
month of August, there have been constant gunshots in the region, especially in the gang-controlled
areas. With climate change at the heart of the problem with agriculture in the nation’s breadbasket, the
Artibonite region, there are calls for the construction of artificial lakes, cleaning primary and secondary
irrigation canals, public service announcements to educate the population on climate change, and
improved level of the methods of production and the planting calendars for a durable agriculture.
Finally, the Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Tabarre, resumed admissions and their trauma
department this Monday, August 28, 2023, after an armed intrusion on July 7, 2023, forced them to
close their doors temporarily. According to the head of mission for the organization, Mumuza
Muhindo, the decision to suspend and then reopen part of the service was very difficult, given the vital
nature and the role of the hospital in meeting the many needs of the people in the area. He condemned
the armed intrusion, stating that their operations will be compromised if their patients cannot feel safe
in the facility, and the medical personnel is not respected. At issue, is the event on July 7, when more
than 20 armed individuals forced their way into the hospital, threatening staff with firearms and forcing
them to lie on the floor, while they abducted a patient. After this event, outpatient activities (dressings,
physiotherapy appointments, among others), resumed. But the trauma and burn care emergency
services at the Tabarre hospital are closed, the MSF organization had indicated on social networks. A
series of violent incidents have forced them to either close, or temporarily suspend activities in several
of their hospitals and clinics in Port-au-Prince. In January 2023, the organization suspended its support
for the Raoul Pierre-Louis hospital in Carrefour for security reasons, while in April 2022, they
temporarily closed the Drouillard Hospital, near Cité Soleil, because of crime. In June 2021, it closed
indefinitely the doors to the emergency center in Martissant, a district caught in the grip of armed
gangs. The organization says it continues discussions with all arms bearers, including law enforcement
and stakeholders, to ensure that conditions allow it to work safely in Tabarre, which is a 75-bed facility
with a trauma and burns center.
Dela Harlley

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