Prime Minister of Canada, the Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau said critical to prosperity is stability in the region, and Canada, like the rest of the hemisphere, is very concerned about the ongoing unrest and instability in Haiti.
Prime Minister Trudeau was speaking at the 44th Regular Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) at Baha Mar resort, February 16, 2023.
He said “Right now, Haiti is confronted with unrelenting gang violence, political turmoil, and corruption. Armed groups are committing murder, rape, and other gender-based violence, kidnapping innocent people, and recruiting children, to terrorize and subjugate people.”
The Prime Minister said it hits close to home not only in the region, but also in Canada with its strong Haitian diaspora community.
He said the Canadian government is working closely together to help address the political, security, and humanitarian crisis in Haiti.
“We have provided direct support to bolster the Haitian National Police so that Haiti has the tools and support to solve this situation, including:
• deploying surveillance aircraft and vital strategic security equipment and vehicles, and
• an additional delivery of Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles in the coming days.
• And today, Canada will also deploy Royal Canadian Navy vessels to conduct surveillance and gather intelligence, and maintain a maritime presence off the Haitian coast in the coming weeks.”
Prime Minister Trudeau said Canada continues to reinforce the capacities of the Haitian police to overpower armed gangs and hold those who support them accountable.
He said Canada has also implemented robust sanctions against corrupt economic and political elites who have used their influence and resources to support criminal gangs and fuel instability in Haiti.
“To date, Canada has implemented targeted sanctions on 15 individuals. Today I am announcing a 6th round of autonomous sanctions against two more individuals.”
The Prime Minister said, “We recognize the establishment of the High Transitional Council as a positive step towards political stability. And one that must be broadened.”
He said CARICOM must be an integral leader on this crisis, including through convening political dialogues and helping rally partners, around the globe, to provide much-needed assistance for Haiti.
“Canada has been there to provide humanitarian assistance for Haitian people throughout this crisis.
“Today I am announcing $10 million to support the International Office on Migration to strengthen the protection and resilience of Haitian women and children along the Haiti-Dominican Republic border and in migrants’ place of origin.
Prime Minister Trudeau said, “We will invest an additional $12.3 million in humanitarian assistance. Together, with CARICOM, Canada and international partners can help Haitians bring an end to the crisis and build a better, and more hopeful, future for their country.”
He also noted that criminal elements are becoming more sophisticated, and more support is needed to stop the flow of illicit drugs, arms, and human trafficking.
“So Canada will provide $1.8 million to target illicit drug trafficking and strengthen border and maritime security in the Caribbean. Together, we can build a safer, better future for the people in our countries, and around the world.”
By LLONELLA GILBERT/Bahamas Information Services