KINGSTON, July 9, 2021 - Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. Horace Chang is allaying fears that Haiti’s political instability in the aftermath of the assassination of President Jovenel Moise, could cause further security implications for Jamaica.
The Minister said while some may seek to benefit illegally from the turmoil in neighbouring Haiti, the Government understands the growing concern, so the unfolding situation in that country is being closely monitored. He added that everything will be done to dissuade criminal elements from entering Jamaica, noting that of the eighty (80) per cent of homicides committed in Jamaica with firearms, many of these weapons enter the country out of Haiti.
“In a state of instability there will be people moving out of Haiti, and Jamaica is one of the destinations they could go. They [Haitians] mostly go north through The Bahamas to the United States, but you can have individuals coming this way, and of course there is significant criminal activity between Haiti and Jamaica, in what we call the guns for drugs trade. We do not want the individuals involved there coming here for some ‘quiet time’ until they get started again,” Minister Chang said.
He pointed out that even with gradual successes in the fight to end the illicit interactions between Haitians and Jamaicans, the guns for drugs trade is still a major concern that requires constant monitoring to control the flow of illegal weapons and ammunitions.
“It is one of our security challenges and one which we are working on. It has some successes but it’s a big challenge,” said Minister Chang, who was being interviewed on CVM TV on Wednesday evening (July 7, 2021).
Minister Chang said ultimately, CARICOM may have a role in assisting Haiti and suggested that should things become more disorganised, the Organisation of American States (OAS) would then intervene.
“What I think CARICOM can do once the political issues have settled is to work more closely in terms of helping to assist the governance structures and to ensure there’s quality governance and stability in the Haitian society,” the Minister said, adding that “the first black republic was never allowed an opportunity to develop”.