Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the 44th Regular meeting of CARICOM at Baha Mar resort in Nassau, The Bahamas, on February 16. Photo credit Reuters/Dante Carrer.
NASSAU, The Bahamas--Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday said he would deploy Royal Canadian Navy vessels in the coming weeks to conduct surveillance, gather intelligence and maintain a maritime presence off the coast of Haiti.
“We are working closely together to help address the political, security and humanitarian crisis in Haiti,” Trudeau said in a speech at a conference of the Caribbean Community CARICOM regional bloc in the Bahamas.
Canada, which this month deployed surveillance aircraft as well as vehicles and security gear to Haiti, said it would make an additional delivery of vehicles in the coming days.
Trudeau also announced fresh sanctions on another two Haitian individuals determined to be supporting gangs, without disclosing their names, bringing Canada’s total sanctioned people to 17.
The United Nations in October suggested that a “rapid action force” be sent to Haiti to combat escalating violence from armed gangs whose turf battles have left hundreds of people dead and thousands displaced. More than 100,000 Haitians have been internally displaced due to the violence, according to UN estimates.
But many have expressed scepticism about the proposal, citing abuses from past missions and questioning a force backing the administration of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, which has been without democratically elected representatives since early January.
Around seven in 10 people in Haiti support the proposed creation of an international force to help the national police fight violence from armed gangs who have expanded their territory since the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, according to a survey carried out in January.
No country has yet volunteered to lead such a force, though members of the Organization of American States last week agreed to form a working group to discuss the proposal and other issues, such as gun-trafficking to Haiti.
UN envoy to Haiti Helen La Lime has said she is “still hopeful” the force could be created, stressing the need for urgency. ~ Reuters ~