Training of multinational force to Haiti continues in Jamaica Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Training of security personnel for the Multinational Security Support Mission (MSSM) to Haiti continues to progress well in Jamaica, Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, has said.

The MSSM is aimed at supporting the Haitian police in order to restore law and order in that country, which has been plagued by gang crime and political instability in recent time.

Canada’s Department of National Defence had issued a press release on Saturday, March 30, indicating that approximately 70 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members were deployed to Jamaica to provide training to military personnel for Caricom nations who are set to be deployed to Haiti as part of the United Nations (UN) backed MSSM. 

The following day, the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) had announced the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and Belize Defence Force were in Jamaica for a training exercise, dubbed Trogon Shield, that will see them integrating with Jamaica’s police and soldiers for a Caricom Joint Task Force.

The training will run until April 26, 2024.

Johnson Smith used her address at Wednesday’s post-Cabinet press briefing to provide an update on the security training in Jamaica. 

“I can also just confirm that the training here is going well,” she said.

“We have 59 members of the Royal Bahamian Defence Force, (and) 50 members of the Belizean Defence Force here training at JDF (Jamaica Defence Force camp), with support and encouragement by members of the Canadian Defence Force, who, again, are all here in partnership looking at how we can work towards restoring peace and stability in Haiti to set the stage for free and fair elections,” she explained. 

The MSSM is being led by Kenya, an African nation which Johnson Smith lauded for their “willingness” to lead the initiative. 

Added Johnson Smith relative to the MSSM: “It is not a military intervention, (nor) it is not a take-over.

“It’s a provision of necessary and practical support to a national police force that is outgunned and outmanned in the face of criminal gangs.”

The minister said the United States is the “primary support” of funding for the MSSM.

“… But we continue to encourage all members of the international community to provide support, even as they are providing support to other conflicts across the world,” Johnson Smith stated.

The members of a Transitional Presidential Council (CPT) has since been named, with stakeholders hoping that it will pave the way for elections to be finally led in the French-speaking Caricom nation.