KINGSTOWN, St Vincent, (CMC) —Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, says his government will not send police officers to Haiti to help with the humanitarian and political situation in the French-speaking Caribbean country.
Gonsalves, who is also Minister of National Security, said such a move by any country could be seen by the Haitian people as propping up a government that the majority will see as illegitimate.
Gonsalves spoke about the ongoing situation in Haiti after a virtual meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs from the Caribbean Community (Caricom), which was also attended by representatives of the United States.
“Haiti has a humanitarian crisis at the moment exacerbated by the recent outbreak of cholera,” Gonsalves said, adding that the humanitarian situation “cannot be dealt with efficaciously, can’t be dealt with satisfactorily unless the security situation is dealt with…”
He asked those who will be willing to send aid to Haiti when there are gangs controlling ports and in large areas of the country.
“So, to deal effectively with the humanitarian situation, you have to have security,” he said, adding that the Haitian National Police has 14,000 people or 1.1 police officers for every 1,000 people.
“A country that size, normally the thing is about two police [officers] for 1,000,” Gonsalves said, adding that in St Vincent and the Grenadines, there are 10 police officers for every 1,000 people. So, you have a police force, which is numerically weak, but more than that, it is riddled with corruption,” he said of the Haitian constabulary.
“And people associated with the gangs are inside the police force. So, you have to address the security situation. And people from outside will have to go in to help,” he added.
Gonsalves said a discussion is taking place with Caricom, the United States and Canada as well as at the United Nations (UN) — both the General Assembly and the Security Council, and that the idea is to have a non-UN force to go in to help to provide the support with the security for the humanitarian and assistance, he added.
Featured image: A protester carries a piece of wood simulating a weapon during a protest demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, in the Petion-Ville area of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, October 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph, File)