Bahamas joins Jamaica in pledging support for Haiti
Haiti’s humanitarian and national-security crises will be high on the agenda of the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) 44th Regular Summit this week as leaders seek to craft solutions to the woes plaguing their Caribbean neighbour.
The intersessional talks are set to run from February 15-17 in Nassau, Bahamas.
Bahamian Prime Minister Philip Davis, chairman of CARICOM, said his country has not ruled out sending troops to assist Haiti to combat gang violence that has ravaged the country.
“This would not be the first time that we as a country would have provided assistance by allowing members of our security force to go into Haiti to provide peacekeeping initiatives, and so in that regard, we are discussing doing the same thing again, if we are called upon to do so,” he said at the CARICOM Heads of Government press conference on Tuesday.
Davis’ statement is in accord with a recent declaration by Prime Minister Andrew Holness that Jamaica would be willing to participate in a multinational security team geared towards stabilising the nation.
Davis, too, stressed that Bahamas’ action would be in tandem with the international partners as “CARICOM, by itself, does not have the capacity to effectively bring stability to Haiti”.
“What we in CARICOM have come to appreciate is that we do not have the resources to be able to deal with the Haiti problem ourselves, and we do need outside help. And we are looking to the North, Canada and the United States, to come to the fore to help and it has to be a Haitian solution, not an American, Canadian or CARICOM solution,” he said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will address the this week’s summit.
Telegraphing Canada’s intentions of strengthening Caribbean relations, Trudeau said he would participate in group discussions and bilateral meetings with CARICOM leaders.
Canada has longstanding ties with CARICOM countries on a wide range of issues, including trade, security, defence, and governance.
The summit’s agenda will also feature discussions on COVID-19 and other health issues in the region.
Climate change and financing will also have central focus, along with regional food and energy security.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will address the conference via video message.
“He is going to update us on what is happening, what’s likely to happen, and continue to seek our support for their efforts to stop what is going on and bring an end to the war … whatever role we can play to bring that sad event to an end,” Davis said.
CARICOM comprises 15 full members and five associate members. The group is marking its 50th anniversary this year.
The Conference of Heads of Government meets twice a year at regular and intersessional meetings.