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SKN OAS Interim Representative makes urgent appeal to aid Haiti at OAS Permanent Council sitting

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by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) – During a special sitting of the Permanent Council of the OAS on February 01, 2023, Haiti’s socioeconomic and political situation was on the agenda.

In January, Haiti lost all democratically-elected institutions when the terms for the remaining ten senators expired. According to reports, Prime Minister Ariel Henry said a general election would be held in the country for more than a year.

A provisional electoral council has yet to be chosen, and thus the country seems to be running from a dictatorship, said Patrice Dumont, one of the last ten senators.

For the last few years, Haiti has been plagued by the COVID-19 pandemic and other health crises, natural disasters and increased levels of violence. The History of the CARICOM nation has been one wrought with tragedy from a bloody dictatorship that brought the mass execution of tens of thousands of Haitians, waves of devastating earthquakes, hurricanes and other crises.

According to an Al Jazeera article, Haiti is now struggling with levels of violence not seen in decades, deepening poverty, widespread hunger and a deadly cholera outbreak ever since the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse at his private home. Gangs are now believed to control 60 percent of the capital Port-au-Prince.

Additionally, reported kidnappings rose to 1,359 in 2022, double compared to 2021. According to the United Nations (UN), reported killings hiked by one-third to 2,183.

International reports say women in the country have described brutal gang rapes in areas controlled by gangs. Patients in trauma units are caught in the crossfire, ravaged by gunshots from either gangs or police.

In light of the increase in criminal activity, it should be noted that Haiti’s National Police has fewer than 9,000 active police officers for a country of more than 11 million people.

Henry has asked the UN to lead a military intervention despite many Haitians’ insistence that that move is not the solution, considering past consequences of foreign intervention in Haiti.

Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness told the House of Representatives on February 1 that he wishes to help Haiti and “support a return to a reasonable level of stability and peace, which would be necessary for any inclusive, democratic process to take root”.

Interim Representative of St. Kitts and Nevis to the Organization of American States (OAS), Mrs Sonia Boddie-Thompson, delivered a statement to the Permanent Council of the OAS on February 01, 2023, on the agenda was the Situation in Haiti, issuing an urgent appeal for assistance for Haiti.

“The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis remains deeply disheartened by the deteriorating situation in Haiti, and we stand in solidarity with the government and people of Haiti. We express our deepest condolences to the family of all those who have lost their lives and strongly condemn the actions of those who continue to disrupt public order. St. Kitts and Nevis is a small country with limited resources, but what we have is a voice. We, therefore, wish to issue an urgent appeal to those countries and regional and international agencies that have the resources and the capacity to significantly contribute to Haiti to do so now! Especially in the area of security reinforcement for the Haitian National Police Force in an effort to ensure that Haiti speedily returns to a place of peace and stability.”

The Permanent Council is composed of one representative of each member state, specially appointed by the respective government, with the rank of ambassador.

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