There is a growing humanitarian crisis in Haiti – a member state of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) – and Guyana has pledged its full support to regional and international efforts now demanded in a bid to resolve the situation, President Dr. Irfaan Ali said on Tuesday.
Over the past few weeks, gang blockades at a critical fuel port have crippled economic activity in the country. This has exacerbated overlapping health and security crises on the island of over 11 million inhabitants.
“… the humanitarian crisis is immense now and we are ready to fully support (them),” President Ali told reporters at the sidelines of an event in Georgetown on Tuesday.
The President’s comments came hours after he joined his regional counterparts for a virtual late-night meeting on the situation on Monday. Following that meeting, he said that the CARICOM is deciding how best to respond to the needs of the country.
Beyond CARICOM, Reuters reported that the United States (US) and Mexico called for the United Nations’ (UN) support for a security mission to Haiti amid the gang blockades.
Asked if Guyana would opt to send in troops for any sanctioned peacekeeping effort, the President only said that discussions are still evolving.
“All the CARICOM states we are very careful with how we handle the situation,” he said.
Already, however, Reuters reported that Bahamian National Security Minister Wayne Munroe said that the Bahamas would send in troops or police to Haiti as part of a peacekeeping force if asked to do so by the UN or CARICOM.
Haiti is facing dire shortages of basic goods and a paralysis of economic activity due to the blockade of a fuel terminal by gangs, which has halted transport and left many without food or clean drinking water amid an outbreak of cholera.
The ongoing violence has been on the increase since the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse in July, last year.