Prime Minister Andrew Holness has confirmed that the Government intends to send troops to Haiti as part of a multinational force to address the ongoing security issues in the Caribbean nation.
The announcement comes days after a request by United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres that Haiti’s neighbours join forces with Kenya, which last week said it was sending 1,000 police officers to help stem the gang violence in Haiti.
The Bahamas has since committed 150 security personnel to join those being sent by Kenya, if the UN authorises the multinational force.
Speaking at a quarterly press conference on Thursday, Holness reminded that Jamaica was the first country to commit to sending members of the island’s security forces to assist Haiti.
“In fact, you could say that Jamaica’s statement would have started an interest in the situation in Haiti,” he said.
Holness said he was “very happy” that Kenya is on board to assist Haiti’s security issues.
The prime minister further informed that he also had long discussions with Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, and the African leader has also committed to support Haiti.
“So, it seems like things are coming together. The UN secretary general has also been doing great work in trying to secure such a (multinational) force, so as it now, Jamaica’s commitment still stands,” stated Holness.
“We (Jamaica) certainly can’t go up to the 1,000 troops that have been suggested in media for the Kenyans, but we will give what we can,” he added.
When asked when the troops from Jamaica would be deployed to the French-speaking nation, Holness did pointed to ongoing discussions.
“The question is, ‘Are we sending troops to Haiti?’ Yes, but an important caveat is that we can’t on our own, as I have said, send troops, (as) we just don’t have the resources.
“Even so, even if we did, you want to have an international imprimatur to do so. And so, our committment has always been (to send troops), with the appropriate jurisdictional arrangement, meaning a security council resolution to do so, and it is the same for Kenya, and when I spoke with President (Paul) Kagame, it was the same for him as well,” Holness explained.
The situation in the Haiti has deteriorated rapidly since the assassination of the country’s President, Jovenel Mo?se, on July 7, 2021.
Discussions have been ongoing for some time for troops to be sent to Haiti, and calls have grown louder in recent weeks amid more violence and kidnappings in the Caribbean country.