Canada skeptical of an international force in Haiti

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Canada skeptical of an international force in Haiti

Canadian Ambassador to Haiti, Sébastien Carrière

Haiti's Prime Minister Ariel Henry will present an update to the United Nations Security Council on Monday on the situation in his country, as criminal gangs terrorize the population there and push the economy to the brink. .

Ariel Henry calls for an international force to stabilize the country and restore peace. It has so far received the support of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Canada, for its part, believes that part of the outcome lies in the hands of the government. The lasting solution to the security problem in Haiti is the strengthening of the National Police of Haiti [PNH], said Sébastien Carrière, in an interview at Coulisses du Pouvoir.

The Canadian Ambassador to Haiti has noted, since his arrival on the Caribbean island in November 2021, a deterioration in the living conditions of citizens. Criminal gangs have extended their hold there. They control the main roads surrounding the capital and the Varreux oil terminal, which supplies almost the entire country.

Businesses and hospitals have been forced to close or are operating at a slower pace. Cholera, which the health authorities had managed to curb in 2019, has reappeared. The UN estimates that half of the population, or 5.5 million people, suffer from food insecurity.

The use of an international armed force will be discussed in the coming days in the Security Council. Canada will consider the proposal to be developed by the United Nations, but is not ready to endorse it at this time. I think we have to learn from the lessons of the past, said the Canadian ambassador.

Mr. Carrière believes that the time has come to seriously consider the use of sanctions.

“Punishments not only for the gang leaders, but for those who facilitate their work, those who support them, those who finance them. So there's a whole infrastructure, there's a whole constellation of corrupt political actors, economic actors. »

— Sébastien Carrière, Ambassador of Canada to Haiti

The ambassador takes care to specify that it is not the entire political class, nor that of the business world , which is singled out, but rather some people with less noble intentions.

Sébastien Carrière says he has seen a deterioration in the living conditions of citizens in Haiti.

Regardless of the decision that will be taken by the international community regarding an intervention force, Sébastien Carrière considers that the problems that are eating away at Haiti must be tackled urgently.

It starts with the elimination of the blockade at the Varreux terminal, so that the economy can resume a erratic pace. He also advocates strengthening the PNH, through financial or logistical support, through the supply of equipment or the loan of trainers.

Canada has invested $100 million during the past ten years to support the National Police and announced in 2022 an additional contribution of $42 million.

At the same time, the diplomat believes that political dialogue must resume. I also call on the entire Haitian political class to change their approach and stop doing politics as usual. The Haitian political class must understand the urgency of the situation and must unite in a transition plan.

It is thanks to this dialogue that presidential elections and legislative can be organized to finally restore democracy. To achieve this, many people will have to put aside their personal interests, according to the ambassador. As our former Prime Minister [Jean] Chretien said at one time: there are a lot of people who are painted around here. Someone is going to have to step on the paint.

Sébastien Carrière says that the millions of starving Haitians who live in conditions hardly imaginable for the majority of Canadians deserve that all the actors involved are redoubling their efforts to find solutions.

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