CARICOM ‘deeply engaged’ on worsening crisis in Haiti – Chairman

worsening crisis in Haiti.

Dr. Ali, in an address on his official Facebook page on Tuesday, said he and other CARICOM leaders have been engaging Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry on the situation.

“CARICOM has been singularly focused on the events unfolding in Haiti over the past few days

“… The complexity requires us in these consultations to ensure that a Haitian-led and Haitian-owned solution can be achieved as soon as possible,” Dr. Ali said.

With the situation still deteriorating, Dr. Ali said CARICOM remains “deeply engaged” and further updates on the bloc’s deliberations will be communicated as soon as possible.

President of Guyana and Chairman of CARICOM, Dr Irfaan Ali is flanked by other CARICOM leaders (Photo: News Room/Yusuf Ali/February 28, 2024)

Just last week, as President Ali hosted the biannual CARICOM summit in Georgetown, Haiti was a key matter discussed.

Though the leaders focused on the humanitarian crisis and gang violence that has engulfed the country, Bahamian Prime Minister Philip Davis told reporters that the leaders were also keenly focused on advancing much-needed political processes.

But before fresh elections are held, several other matters must be addressed. One, Davis said, is that a needs assessment must be done to support planning for the elections. The assessment team should include representatives from CARICOM, the United Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS).

Since the leaders left Guyana, however, Haiti has been plunged into further turmoil.

Mr Henry left Haiti last week to attend a regional summit in Guyana. According to the BBC, Henry then travelled to Kenya to sign a deal on the deployment of a multinational police force to Haiti.

While he was in Kenya, a coalition of gangs led by a former police officer, Jimmy “Barbecue” Chérizier, went on the offensive, attacking police stations and storming two of Haiti’s biggest prisons. About a dozen people were killed in the attack on the prisons. Thousands of inmates escaped and remain on the loose.

A minister standing in for Mr Henry declared a 72-hour state of emergency.

Earlier Tuesday, Haitian gangs began attempts to take over the Port-au- Prince airport.

The challenges of the already fragile country boiled over in 2021, when its President Jovenel Moise was assassinated. Gang violence has engulfed the country and the United Nations (UN) estimates that conflict in the country killed about 5,000 people last year.

Henry has been functioning as interim Prime Minister and though he promised to allow fresh elections to unfold.