“We’re very concerned about the violence” – Caricom Chair on Haiti’s spiralling violence

Crisis in Haiti

While progress is being made on negotiations for a Presidential Council to transition Haiti to some level of normalcy, Caribbean Community (Caricom) Chairman, President Dr Irfaan Ali also expressed concern over the latest spike of violence.

The president made these comments on the sidelines of an event on Monday. During a brief interview with the media, he noted the pressing need for the multi-national force to arrive in Haiti as soon as possible.

“Since I came back from Jamaica, we’ve been having continuous meetings, almost every night. Because the Haitians have to get the Presidential council in place. Progress is being made. We’re very concerned about the violence.”
“The international community renewed its call for the multi-national force to be on the ground as soon as possible. There must be a bridging security arrangement to help immediately to bring a level of normalcy and security, so that work can continue,” President Ali said.

President Dr Irfaan Ali

Reuters reported on Monday that at least 10 persons were killed in a wealthy suburb of Haiti’s capital on Monday and there were reports of looting, and theft of electricity equipment cut the power supply as lawlessness spread to affluent areas and gangs tightened their grip on the city.
Only last week, embattled Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry had announced he would be resigning, amid mounting pressure from a spiralling security breakdown and concerted efforts from Caricom, with the assistance of the international community, to broker a way forward.

His resignation came in the wake of several agreements between CARICOM Heads and Haitian stakeholders, including for the establishment of this Council that would select a new interim Prime Minister.
Coming out of these crucial talks among Caricom Heads in Jamaica on how to return Haiti to a state of normalcy, the regional bloc had announced that a Presidential Council would be established to guide Haiti towards elections and the restoration of order.

This announcement was made by Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, when she addressed the media at the press conference following talks last week Monday. Mottley said that 80 to 90 percent of proposals put on the table were agreed to by the stakeholders.
These include an agreement for the establishment of the Presidential Council, which would help identify an interim Prime Minister and replace the current one, Ariel Henry. Henry has since announced that he would resign once the Council was configured.

Further, Mottley explained that the next interim Prime Minister would work with the Presidential Council to establish a government. Additionally, a provisional electoral council would be established as a critical institution.
When it comes to the rapidly-declining security situation in Haiti, the Barbados Prime Minister had said that all stakeholders agreed on the need to urgently contain this crisis. Further, she said that the establishment of the Presidential Council would critical to achieving this aim.

Meanwhile, Mottley noted that as a regional community, Caricom has agreed with its international partners on four principles, including that persons on the Presidential Council should not run in any future elections in Haiti.

Since February 29, criminal gangs in the capital Port-au-Prince have conducted coordinated attacks targeting Police Stations, prisons, critical infrastructure, and civilian sites in the city. On March 2, armed gang members raided two penitentiaries, reportedly freeing some 3800 inmates, after which Haitian authorities announced a three-day State of Emergency and imposed a nighttime curfew.