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Translators from Eastern Caribbean may join UN multinational force to Haiti

Last Updated on Friday, 4 August 2023, 12:27 by Denis Chabrol

Barbara Feinstein

A number of Eastern Caribbean nations are likely to send  English to French Creole translators to Haiti as part of a Kenya-led United Nations-backed multinational force, United States (US) Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Caribbean Affairs and Haiti, Barbara A. Feinstein said Friday.

“There has been mentioned, for example, that in the Eastern Caribbean, there are certain countries that have the same or a very similar Creole to Haitian Creole, to the extent that they might be able to provide translators or interpreters is something that could also be of use, she told a news conference.

Patois, a French Creole, is spoken widely in Eastern Caribbean States- Dominica and St Lucia.

The US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State indicated that the deployment of a multinational force to Haiti, with material support from the US as well as other countries, depended on an assessment that would be conducted by Kenya in another few weeks. If that African nation agrees to lead the multinational force, a United Nations Security Council resolution would be sought. “we will be looking to the Kenyans, obviously to lead this effort, should they ultimately agree to lead a multinational force and we will be pushing as swiftly as possible to support in any way that we can,” she said.

Authorities are also expected to consider  a report from the United Nations Security Council outlining options for security assistance that will influence the character and the shape of such a force. Ms Feinstein promised that that the US would be doing everything to ensure “swift passage” of the UN Security Council resolution ” all necessary steps in support of the lead nation to ensure that this activity takes place as quickly as possible in service of the Haitian people.”

Ms Feinstein credited the Caribbean Community’s  (CARICOM) role through consensus-building engagements with Haitian stakeholders by the former Prime Ministers of St Lucia, Jamaica and The Bahamas towards a pathway for elections. “I do want to mention that CARICOM continues to play a vital role in support of enlarging political consensus and and paving a roadmap to elections by convening Haitian stakeholders,” she said.

In particular, she publicly thanked The Bahamas’ commitment to provide troops as well as formal statements or public comments from, among others, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Chile, Canada, United Kingdom, the Dominican Republic and the Organization of American States.  “I think that is evidence that there is strong support for an urgent solution to Haiti security crisis, and offers of support to that end,” she said.

The senior US government official, who is responsible for the Caribbean and Haiti, expected to the regional bloc consisting of the 13 other independent nations to provide even more support. “So I think CARICOM has already made quite a substantial contribution to a very important part of this crisis, which is the political situation on the ground, and we would hope to see continued support from a range of nations to include CARICOM,” she said.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Gutierres and CARICOM leaders have seen the need for a multinational force to tackle heavily armed gangs that are blocking humanitarian supplies to the most needy as well as destabilising the country politically.

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August 2023