Deployment of the MMSS: mixed reactions among Haitians

By Dimitry Charles, Juno7, May 23, 2024

The situation in Haiti is about to take a major turn with the imminent arrival of a multinational force (MSS) to assist the Haitian National Police (PNH) in its fight against armed gangs. These criminal groups, responsible for the terror that reigns in many working-class neighborhoods, particularly in the capital where they control some 80% of the territory, have prompted the authorities to call for international intervention.


Mixed reactions among the population

Juno7 gathered the opinions of several Haitian citizens on this international intervention. For many, the arrival of this force represents a long-awaited "breath of fresh air". They hope that foreign support will help to restore peace and security in areas plagued by violence. This opinion is particularly shared by residents of working-class neighborhoods, regularly terrorized by armed gangs.

"I support the arrival of this foreign force. In the country's current situation, armed gangs control the territory and terrorize the inhabitants of working-class neighborhoods. The national police are powerless. How can we refuse the intervention of this multinational force? I have to be honest, the problem of insecurity won't be completely solved, but we'll see some improvements," said a displaced person who used to live in Bel-Air, a neighborhood that has been controlled by gangs for several years.

However, other voices are more skeptical, proposing a different approach. Some citizens believe that the huge sums of money spent on bringing in a foreign force could be better invested in strengthening and equipping the PNH. They suggest that the long-term solution lies in the ability of the local police to confront and dismantle these gangs on their own.

A thirty-something resident of Nazon expressed skepticism about the impact of the forthcoming multinational force on improving the situation. He recalls that past foreign interventions, such as MINUSTAH, have not brought about positive change and have even worsened the country's security situation. He believes in the capacity of the country's police and soldiers, and believes that it would be sufficient to invest in their training and equipment to strengthen their skills. In his view, the arrival of this new force will bring no long-term benefits to the country.


Essential coordination for a successful mission

On Tuesday May 21, 2024, the Transitional Presidential Council (TPC), in collaboration with the PNH High Command, held a working session dedicated to preparations for the deployment of this MSS. It was made clear that the composition, objectives, rules of engagement and health control of the troops will be carefully coordinated and supervised by the Haitian police authorities.

The working session of the TPC with the PNH High Command highlighted the need for close coordination to ensure the success of this mission. Collaboration between international forces and the Haitian police will be crucial to achieving the objectives set, notably securing gang-controlled areas and protecting civilians.

The management of rules of engagement and health control measures for foreign troops is of particular importance in this context. Ensuring discipline and cooperation between the various military and police entities will be a major challenge, but one that is essential to the credibility and effectiveness of the operation.

In addition, according to an American official quoted by the Miami Herald, a delay in the acquisition of armored vehicles and helicopters for medical evacuations could postpone the deployment of the MSS.

Meanwhile, the population, tired of gang violence, is hoping to see a rapid improvement in the security situation. However, the question of investment in the national police force raises important debates about the sustainability of the solutions provided.


Translated by CHIP editors


Posted June 9, 2024