By Roberson Alphonse, Le Nouvelliste, July 25, 2023
On Tuesday Canadian Ambassador to Haiti Sébastien Carrière clarified what amounts from the announced 100 million Canadian dollars four months ago have been committed.
"In March, Prime Minister Trudeau announced 100 million Canadian dollars in support of the Haitian National Police (PNH). So far, 13 million dollars has been committed. Canada has used this amount to increase its contribution to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) multi-donor common fund for the PNH by 10 million dollars, making Canada the largest contributor. In the next two months 250 motorcycles, 300 radios, and 10 drones will be delivered to the PNH. A new tactical command center will soon be opened. A new vetting office was recently inaugurated."
"Furthermore, Canada has increased its support to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime by 3 million dollars for a project to combat corruption, which will strengthen the PNH's capacity to fight financial crime.
Carrière indicated that Canada is exploring how it will use the rest of this amount. Canada is working with the PNH to identify priorities, ensure that actions correspond to real needs, and coordinate with other donors.
He added that other announcements will follow. "Canada also has other projects to support the PNH that will soon start their activities: Eight million dollars for combating financial crime with UNODC and 12.5 million dollars to strengthen institutional and operational capacities with Cowater International."
Last May, Canadian officials conducted a second mission to assess the needs of the PNH.
Tricia Geddes, Deputy Minister of Public Safety in Canada, shared the following in an exclusive interview with Le Nouvelliste on Tuesday, May 9, 2023: "This mission, along with a previous one conducted two weeks ago, provided an opportunity to meet our partners in the security domain. It is important to personally meet with the PNH's staff to ensure mutual understanding of how we will work together. We had excellent meetings, and I believe we have reached a mutual understanding of the immediate needs of the Haitian population. It is essential to understand and work to meet the identified needs."
Sylvie Bédard, Director General for the Caribbean and Latin America at Global Affairs Canada, and former Ambassador of Canada to Ecuador, added "we had the opportunity to meet Prime Minister Ariel Henry and representatives from the Ministry of Justice. It was extremely useful to validate our understanding of the needs and the plan in place and how Canada can complement some of the mentioned needs in collaboration with our international partners."
"We are all well aware of the sense of urgency to act, respond to needs, and do so in an integrated manner with other partners in the international community," she said.
Carrière emphasized Canada's intention to continue working in a concerted manner with partners like the USA, France, and the United Nations. He explained that "We met with the Director General and the staff of the PNH. There is a very detailed list of needs that has been communicated to us, particularly in terms of equipment. We also discussed training extensively, how to restart the police academy, which is currently halted, and what options are available to increase the training capacity for new police officers."
"We are trying to spend the entire 100 million dollars this year. We are trying to do as much as possible, as quickly as possible. Everyone in Ottawa is driven by a sense of urgency," Sébastien Carrière explained.
Sylvie Bédard said "we are driven by a sense of urgency and, at the same time, a sense of doing things right, as quickly as possible. It is a funding that lasts for one year. One year is not long. We can expect to see results very soon. It is essential for us to respond to the immediate needs that have been identified. We had the opportunity to speak with Haitian citizens to listen to a diversity of voices."
On the ground, after the Bwa Kale operation in April and late May, the balance of power has not shifted. Gangs impose terror whenever they please. The Kraze Baryè gang is spreading terror in Fort-Jacques, Tabarre. Since Monday, several dozen people fleeing gunshots have sought refuge in front of the US embassy in Tabarre.
In addition to Canada's 100 million dollars, the USA has allocated 80 million dollars to the PNH. This amount is managed by INL. In the past, Ambassador Todd Robinson has undertaken missions in Haiti during which equipment - including vehicles - were granted to the PNH.
Le Nouvelliste awaits a response from UNDP regarding the amount of contributions, the projects funded by the support fund for the PNH, as well as their progress.
Translated by CHIP editors
Posted August 3, 2023