ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC):
Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Prime Minister Gaston Browne, says he does not favour any military presence in Haiti as the French-speaking member country continues its investigation into the assassination of its President Jovenel Moïse last Wednesday.
Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and Head of the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti, Helen La Lime, says that “Haiti has requested international support to investigate the assassination” as well as in the matter of security.
“Haiti must specify exactly what it is looking for,” said La Lime.
The UN Security Council would have to approve any plan to send international troops to Haiti under UN auspices.
Browne, the Antigua and Barbuda prime minister, who took over the chairmanship of the 15-member grouping of which Haiti is a member, said the final decision rests with Haitians themselves even as he cautioned that international agencies and countries should not try to meddle in the politics of the country.
“I think that any intervention would have to be at the invitation of the Haitian people. I think what is important here is for CARICOM to take the lead with the support of the international community to help the Haitian people to come up with an indigenous solution.
“We have to be very careful that we do not appear as though we are meddling in the internal politics of Haiti, Browne said, acknowledging that the country “has had its issues and there are lots of suspicion involving various organisations and countries … .”
“You may recall in 1915 that the US would have invaded Haiti and would have supported the Duvaliers (former leaders) …, and so with those suspicions, I think that an approach should be one of CARICOM taking the lead, supported by the necessary resources and expertise by the US, France, Canada and any other country concerned about the instability in Haiti and that would like to facilitate the strengthening of the democratic institutions within Haiti.”
Browne said CARICOM would have to coordinate its efforts with other international stakeholders in dealing with Haiti “providing some leadership in helping the Haitian people to come together and put an interim government in place while at the same time putting structure in place to strengthen the institutional arrangements so that they will have a functional governance and electoral machinery in order to ensure that credible elections will be held in the shortest possible time”.
La Lime has said that the Haitian authorities are working towards having a first round of elections on September 26, with a second round set for November.
Moïse was gunned down at his home and his wife, Martine Moïse, who survived the attack, said from her hospital bed in the United States, where she is recuperating, that the gunmen, said to be former Colombian army officials, shot him in “the blink of an eye, without even giving him a chance to say a word”.
She said the mercenaries were sent to kill her husband “because of roads, water, electricity, and referendum as well as elections at the end of the year so that there is no transition in the country”.
Haitian authorities say an armed commando of 28 men – 26 Colombians and two Haitian-Americans – burst in and opened fire on the couple in their home. Seventeen people have been arrested so far, and at least three suspects were killed, but no motive has been made public.