Trinidad's Prime Minister Calls on Haitian Government to Set Timetable For New Elections

Trinidad's Prime Minister Calls on Haitian Government to Set Timetable For New Elections

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Trinidad's Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley has called on the government in Haiti to set a time table for holding free and fair elections.

The last elections in 2016-2017  were held in parallel with the remaining run-offs from the 2015 parliamentary poll  and presidential elections were held on 20 November 2016 after having been postponed several times.

Rowley, who led a delegation to the United States earlier this week, said that the “calamity situation” in Haiti had been raised in Washington, outlining both CARICOM and Port of Spain’s position on Haiti, which has been without a head of state ever since President Jovenel Moise was assassinated in July 2021.

“We are committed to working together to strengthen the international rules based system, where today we acknowledge that Haiti does not have a single elected official.

“Haiti is the largest population within CARICOM. It is a CARICOM nation and that situation is very troublesome, even embarrassing too all of us but we believe in Trinidad and Tobago that there is a requirement, we did make it clear to the United States that there is a requirement for United states leadership in this matter and the United States cannot  wash its hands on Haiti.

“ In fact if we are the true democracy that we claim to be, we should be concerned that  Haiti does not have a semblance of democracy and you cannot turn a blind eye to Haiti while we try to protect Venezuela.”

Prime Minister Rowley told reporters that Trinidad and Tobago’s position at CARICOM and the United States “is that the current administration in Haiti needs to make room for the evolution of a trajectory towards an election timetable and an indication that any outside assistance to Haiti cannot be reasonably assumed to be propping up the existing regime.

“That is Trinidad and Tobago’s position and we made it very clear to the United States. They understand it and CARICOM understands it as well,” said Rowley, who announced that he would be travelling to Guyana next month for the CARICOM summit to be held in the last week of February where the Haitian issue is likely to be an agenda item.

The United States has reiterated its support for a multinational security support (MSS) mission to restore peace and security in Haiti, even as the Kenya High Court last Friday ruled against sending troops to the country.

“We reaffirm our support of ongoing international efforts to deploy a multinational security support mission for Haiti, as requested by Haiti and authorized by UN Security Council Resolution 2699, and renew our calls for the international community to urgently provide support for this mission,” said US Department of State Spokesman Matthew Miller.

The 15-member regional integration movement, CARICOM, has so far not issued any official statement regarding the ruling by the Kenya High court, but the government of Kenya said it intended to exhaust all legal remedies at its disposal to challenge the verdict of the High Court of Justice prohibiting the deployment of 1, 000 security agents to Haiti.

The deployment was part of the SS mission (MSS) in aid of the Haitian National Police(NHP)  in its fight against gangs and for the restoration of public order.

Earlier this week, a  new United Nations human rights report has revealed a spike in violence in Haiti.

According to the latest quarterly update from the UN integrated office, known by the French acronym BINUH, in the crisis-wracked, French-speaking Caribbean country, the last quarter of 2023 saw another rise in violence, with reports of 2,327 victims of murder, wounding and kidnapping, marking an eight per cent increase compared to the previous three months.

BINUH said the total increase is due to violence at the hands of organized crime gangs, particularly in the Artibonite and the southern outskirts of the capital, Port-au-Prince, with an upsurge in sexual violence recorded in several areas.

On Wednesday, the Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned that escalating armed violence in Haiti has triggered a “profound” humanitarian crisis.

UNICEF said at least 170,000 children are now displaced – double the number from last year – amid a surge in gang-led killings and kidnappings, sexual violence and a severe food crisis.