Will Belize deploy troops to crisis-hit Haiti ?
Belize is preparing to deploy members of its security forces to assist in the crisis that has crippled Haiti, and gripped its citizens. The country has been in a state of turmoil since the assassination of its President in 2021, and gangs have filled the power vacuum left behind by the government. The international community, led by Kenya, has since moved to form a multinational task force to address the insecurity and insurgence caused by gang violence. Prime Minister John Briceno explained today that Belize, as a member of CARICOM, is stepping in to assist one of its neighbors in their time of need.
John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “Well as you all know that Haiti is in a really, really bad state. Innocent people are being murdered, women are being raped, even children are being raped and it’s just a sense of lawlessness. And I believe that we in CARICOM we also have a moral responsibility to be able to do something. There have been a lot of requests and offers, I know I think Rwanda has been one of the countries that have said that they prepared to send some troops to help. There’s been a movement by Canada. We spoke with Canada several months ago in trying to see what is it that we can do. And now even the United States is starting to wanting to get more involved. There is a two-pronged approach to it. One is a political one. The Prime Minister Hollness from Jamaica have been organizing several meetings with the different players from Haiti. They’ve been brought to Jamaica, to Bahamas, and I think they’ve gone once to Haiti to be able to meet with them to see how we can have a consensus between all of these competing interests in Haiti. Because while that is happening, people are suffering, people are getting killed and so that’s on the political side. On the military side, for better word, the UN has been very careful and hesitant about going into Haiti, and likewise the Americans because the minute that happens then it turns the whole issue it’s almost like the imperialists, quote-unquote, are wanting to take over Haiti.”
Prime Minister Briceno further explained that the government is yet to finalize the details of its aid to Haiti. He says that procedures need to be set in place to ensure Belizeans sent to Haiti are kept safe.
John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “CARICOM is expected to be able to also do their part. Belize is prepared to do our part. We have not come to the position as to if and when and how much we will be able to send. But before we reach that point, we have to ensure that one, we’re not going to do it alone. But more importantly, that we have the necessary, wherewithal, the resources to be able to move our troops safely and keep them safely while they are there. The initial thing is right now is that we should do all these…… task force for want of a better word, would go in to be able to protect the essentials, the water system, the port and so forth so that there can be a semblance of normalcy in trying to get the country back on its feet.”
It was announced two weeks ago by a high-level US Delegation that the United States had requested Belize’s help in tackling the crisis in Haiti.