New Canadian ambassador says "stars begin to align" in Haiti

By Valérie Gamache, radio-canada.ca, Nov. 18, 2023

André François Giroux, Canada's new ambassador to Port-au-Prince, believes the public impatience shown by Canada and Caribbean leaders towards Haiti's Prime Minister-designate, Ariel Henry, is starting to pay off.he says in an interview with Radio-Canada.

"I think we can say with some pride that the message has been well received and heard", he said in an interview with Radio-Canada,

Following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse two years ago, the country has been plunged into a triple humanitarian, security, and democratic crisis. Since then, Ariel Henry's government has been in charge of the country, 80% of whose capital is controlled by criminal gangs.

Canada has consistently advocated a solution by and for Haitians. To this end, Prime Minister Trudeau took advantage of the Haitian leader's visit to Ottawa last October, during a meeting of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), to reiterate the importance of a roadmap leading to democratic elections.

The UN adopted a resolution for the creation of a multinational force, led by Kenya, to be sent there. "The stars are beginning to align, with this force on the way," says Ambassador Giroux. The mandate of this force must be determined with the Haitian authorities. The time is right for an agreement," he points out.

This multinational security support mission will be in place for an initial period of one year, and its budget, financed by UN member countries, is estimated at $600 million.

However, the first police officers may well be slow to arrive. The mission is far from unanimously supported in Kenya. Although Kenyan MPs gave the green light to the dispatch of a thousand police officers this week, their deployment is being challenged in the courts, and the Nairobi Supreme Court is due to rule on the force's constitutionality on January 26.

Canadian role to be defined

Canadian participation in this Kenyan-led mission has yet to be defined, but Canada has said it is ready to do more to help Haiti. In the meantime, the ambassador points out that the $100 million announced by the Canadian government to support the Haitian National Police (HNP) will lay the foundations for the work to be carried out by the multinational force, when it is deployed.

For the moment, however, it is impossible to say how many Canadian police officers will participate in the training. "We haven't finalized the plans, but we're talking about fairly large groups," explains André François Giroux.

Behind closed doors, discussions are progressing well, the ambassador assured. He arrived in Port-au-Prince less than two months ago. André-François Giroux is confident. I'm an optimist, I'm at a point where I hope things will start to improve," says the ambassador.

 

Translated by CHIP editors

 

Posted Dec. 8, 2023