PM: US must help on Haiti

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley – File photo by Roger Jacob

THE Prime Minister said on February 2 that he told the US Government it has a duty to try to help settle the situation in Haiti.

The country is in the grip of armed gangs and sinking deeper into a humanitarian crisis of hunger, rapes, kidnapping and murder, following the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.

Dr Rowley briefed reporters at Whitehall, Port of Spain, on his recent visit to Washington, DC, where he met officials including Vice President Kamala Harris.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had engaged Caricom leaders on Haiti in The Bahamas last February. Kenya offered to send 1,000 police officers to lead peace-keeping efforts in Haiti, but a Kenyan High Court judge blocked the move, although the Kenyan Government has vowed to appeal.

Rowley updated reporters.

“As a leader in Caricom, the US raised with us our position on, and our involvement in, the calamitous situation in Haiti.

“We have committed to working together to strengthen the international rules-based system. Today we acknowledge that Haiti does not have a single elected official.”

He said Haiti has the largest population of all Caricom states, and its current situation was troubling and embarrassing.

Rowley said on his trip he had made it clear that the Haiti situation imposes a requirement on the US for leadership in this matter.

“The US cannot wash its hands of Haiti.

“If we are in fact the true democrats that we claim to be, we should be concerned that Haiti does not have even a semblance of democracy. We cannot turn a blind eye to Haiti, while trying to perfect Venezuela.

“Trinidad and Tobago’s position at Caricom and with the US is that the current administration in Haiti needs to make room for the evolution of a trajectory towards an election timetable and an indication that any outside assistance to Haiti cannot be reasonably assumed to be a propping-up of the existing regime.

“That is Trinidad and Tobago’s position, and we made it very clear to the US, and I think they understand it, and Caricom understands it as well.”