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During his speech at the just-ended UN General Assembly in New York, Prime Minister Ariel Henry reiterated his urgent appeal to the world body to authorize a multinational intervention force to help tackle the security problem that has weakened the country for so long now. He argued that sending in this force must be considered an indispensable first step in creating a conducive environment for governance. In his speech, the Prime Minister recognizes that the deterioration of security by the increasingly heavily armed and organized gangs has brought nothing but suffering and pain to the ordinary Haitians who must find ways to protect and shelter themselves any way they can from the marauding mobs. Mr. Henry recognized that the Security Council has the power and competence to authorize the force to accompany the national police (PNH) to fight the gangs and restore order in the country. He also called on friendly nations and all others to realize that something urgent was happening to help create a better country for the children by restoring security and stability. Mr. Henry also applauded Kenya for taking the initiative and the fortitude to help turn this Dark Age the country is facing.

When questioned on the issue of governance by a group of Haitian journalists, the PM conceded that though the security issue remains a top priority for his government and administration, the PM is determined to hold elections as soon as possible, promising that in the coming days, he will finalize an agreement with the transitional high council, (HCT), creating steps for launching the electoral process with the help and support of the international community. Mr. Henry appeals to all Haitians of good faith, those living in the Diaspora, those in the country, and all protagonists to work with his government to fight gangs and restore security.

Meanwhile, the US and Kenya signed a defense agreement on Monday, September 24, 2023, which will allow Kenya to have the means to carry out its mission on Haitian soil. The East African nation will obtain the necessary resources and support for security deployments as they prepare to lead the multinational peacekeeping mission to Haiti. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin signed the agreement in Nairobi, and his Kenyan counterpart, Aden Duale, will guide the two countries’ defense relations for the next five years. Austin thanked Kenya for volunteering to lead the multinational force in Haiti and reiterated that the U.S. government would work with Congress to secure the $100 million in funding it has committed to on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

In a recently published news article, a group of Haitian American elected officials called on President Biden to withdraw support for a Kenya-led peacekeeping mission in Haiti, which they say will bolster acting President Ariel Henry’s grip on power. The National Haitian American Elected Officials Network (NHAEON) and Family Action Network Movement (FANM) on Friday wrote Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken with the request, saying that any military intervention supporting Haiti’s corrupt, repressive, unelected regime will likely exacerbate the current political crisis to a catastrophic one. It will further entrench the rule, deepening the political situation while generating significant civilian casualties and migration pressure. Many Haitian and Haitian-American civil society organizations have clamored for the Biden administration to withdraw recognition and support for Henry, which they say is the main factor keeping him and his Haitian Tèt Kale Party (PHTK) in power.

The Ministry of Defense reported 113 National Guard personnel returned home from a month-long drone flying training mission in Mexico. The group left the country last August 26th and returned aboard a Mexican Air Force plane on Saturday, September 23, 2023. The training is in the spirit of the bilateral cooperation agreement signed between both countries on October 5, 2018, to promote the exchange of experience, training, and cooperation in military education, disaster support activities, and logistics. The group was met at the Toussaint Louverture International Airport by the Defense Minister Dr. Henold Joseph. Welcoming the national guardsmen, the Minister thanked them for their exemplary behavior while on the mission, as evidenced by the report obtained from their Mexican counterparts. He equally used the opportunity to thank the Mexican government and his counterpart, Gen. Luis Cresencio Sandoval Gonzalez, who, despite COVID-19 and the socio-political climate in the country, has been willing to keep all their engagements towards the land. He also charged the newly trained officers to practice what they have learned because, given the nation’s multiple problems, they have a lot of work ahead of them. For his part, the Mexican ambassador accredited to Haiti, Daniel Camara, expressed his satisfaction with all the achievements accomplished within the framework of this military cooperation and took the opportunity to renew his country’s desire to support the Haitian State in its efforts to establish a modern army focused on respect for military discipline, human rights, and gender equity. He also announced signing the memorandum of understanding, renewing this five-year cooperation program.

Dela Harlley

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