STATEMENT ON HAITI
THE MOST HONOURABLE ANDREW HOLNESS,
ON THE OCCASION OF THE EU-CARIBBEAN LEADERS MEETING
JULY 17, 2023 | BRUSSELS, BELGIUM
Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Afternoon.
I am pleased to be part of this meeting, which allows us to exchange views, progress our collaboration on matters of mutual interest, discuss ways in which to address challenges and seize opportunities including on the Caribbean side, for the furthering of our development aspirations.
My colleagues have asked me to address the situation in Haiti which deeply concerns us all. On his recent visit to Haiti, Secretary-General Guterres highlighted the depth of the crisis, recalling that a recent earthquake and flooding have only compounded the existing political and economic turmoil and widespread insecurity – especially for women and girls, as a result of gang violence. Citizens fighting back with vigilante justice and the gang’s further efforts at repression mark a dangerous phase of deterioration which we cannot afford to ignore.
The insecurity in Haiti is well-known and has impeded access to healthcare, education, and other basic goods and services. It is most certainly undermining efforts for a lasting solution, which the ordinary Haitian people desperately want, one that is Haitian-owned and Haitian-led.
CARICOM Heads of Government recently discussed the issue when we met in Trinidad and Tobago.
Our engagements with Prime Minister Henry were frank and direct, stressing the need for deliberate and urgent steps towards a solution to the political impasse.
We agreed on an immediate need for a Humanitarian and Security Stabilization Corridor under the mandate of the UN Security Council, and that for this to materialize, we need an urgent decision by the Security Council, reinforced by the support of the international community in financing its establishment and providing the necessary human and other resources. I made these calls known to the UN Security Council when I addressed it on CARICOM’s behalf last week.
I am pleased to note that BINU, the UN’s mission in Haiti has been extended and that the Secretary General has been given 30 days by the UN Security Council to develop a security plan to address gang violence in Haiti. We see this as a small but positive step which must be urgently done.
Jamaica, therefore, urges the European Union, as a development partner, to seriously consider contributing to the financial resources that would be required to assist with alleviating the humanitarian and security challenges facing Haiti.
We know that the EU and individual EU countries have been providing technical and financial support. This is well-appreciated especially as Europe confronts the ravages of war on its own continent. However, much more is needed to ease the suffering people of Haiti. The comparative benefit and potential results which could be derived from the contributions sought are truly worthy of consideration.
We are therefore calling on the EU and EU member countries to play a more active part. More particularly, we point out that the 2023 UN Humanitarian Response Plan which requires US$720 million to support some 3 million Haitians affected by extreme gang violence, hunger and cholera, is currently only 23% funded.
The Haitian National Police, the only legitimate defence for the ordinary Haitian, is in need of financing, training and equipment to tackle the deplorable security conditions.
The UN Basket Fund, established for this purpose, is also in need of further funding.
Jamaica, along with other Caribbean countries, is prepared to play our part within our limited resources, in providing training and other assistance to the Haitian National Police.
CARICOM intends to continue its Good Offices role towards building consensus among Haitian stakeholders on a way forward. The CARICOM established Eminent Persons Group, which comprises Former Prime Ministers from the Bahamas, Jamaica and Saint Lucia, has just returned from Haiti, where they held consultations with Haitian Stakeholders. This was a follow-up to the discussions held in June in Kingston, Jamaica, when, together with the then Chairman of CARICOM, we welcomed some fifty Haitian stakeholders to Jamaica for three days of talks. These talks, while not conclusive, allowed for the relevant parties to discuss openly, matters of interim governance and transition. We regret the lack of an outcome at this last meeting, but we understand progress is not linear although they remain hopeful.
It is crucial that the international community commits to implementing strategic and targeted action that will allow Haitians to go about their daily lives AND for the political process to make concrete progress. We note the imposition of sanctions as an important part of the suite of tools needed to address what is an extremely complex situation, but they are insufficient to adequately address the security situation and transnational impact of gangs.
For there to be any improvement in the security situation, CARICOM underscores the urgency to pursue multinational security efforts with the appropriate jurisdictional mandate.
We have called for a UN Security Council resolution to this effect as soon as possible. We also support the work of international organizations including the UN and the Organisation of American States, as they seek to address humanitarian, human rights and democracy concerns in Haiti.
As Haitians look to rise up from their adversities and to make their country one of promise and not of continuous conflict, let us take the additional steps needed to bring them hope. Let us deliver through decisive action so that there can be peace, stability and prosperity for a people that have suffered for far too long. Let us act now.
I thank you.