Press Statement from the Minister of National Security Hon. Wayne Munroe on Haiti

Minister of National Security Wayne Munroe KC

STATEMENT| As Bahamians are well aware, the situation in Haiti continues to deteriorate, putting pressure on our borders as many attempt to flee the crisis.

With more than one hundred thousand square miles of ocean to patrol in The Bahamas, our own security requires a comprehensive and aggressive plan to protect our borders, which we continue to implement.

We have made significant new investments in the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, with hundreds of new recruits, an expansion of our Defence Force fleet, and new equipment and enhanced technological capabilities.

We have also strengthened cooperation with key partners like the United States, Turks and Caicos, and Cuba in order to fortify our ability to patrol our borders.

Last year, we repatriated a record number of migrants. We now have a facility in Inagua that allows for faster processing and repatriation.

We have been very clear that although we are a compassionate nation, our country is in no position to bear any additional burdens. That is why, at the Summit of Americas in June of 2022, hosted by the United States, our Prime Minister refused to sign a pledge that included a commitment to receive refugees. Twenty-one countries in our hemisphere, including fellow Caribbean nations, signed this agreement, but the Prime Minister refused and is clear that he will continue to refuse.

In fact, earlier this year, the United Nations called for countries in our region to halt repatriations, and once again, Prime Minister Davis refused. We will continue to stand strong in this position.

We know, however, that with more than one hundred thousand square miles of ocean to patrol, we will continue to see a substantial number of incursions into our waters until the situation in Haiti stabilizes.

For that reason, we continue to work with regional and international partners to address the security crisis.

Last month, CARICOM determined that there was a need to create a Humanitarian and Security Stabilization Corridor under a United Nations Security Council Resolution.

Earlier this week, we welcomed the Government of Kenya’s decision to commit 1,000 personnel to lead a potential multinational force in Haiti under such a resolution, just as we previously welcomed the Jamaican government’s announcement that they would send officers.

We note that Canada has already deployed a CP-140 Aurora long-range patrol aircraft to provide much-needed surveillance and reconnaissance capacity and has also supplied specialized vehicles for the Haitian National Police.

Because stabilizing the situation in Haiti is important to our national and regional security, The Bahamas continues to express our willingness to send up to 150 personnel to assist the Haitian National Police, in the eventuality that a multinational stabilizing force is authorized and materializes. We anticipate that Bahamian personnel would largely be engaged in offering technical and training support to the Haitian National Police.

There are no easy answers for Haiti. But as long as the situation there continues to deteriorate, we will face the very expensive and growing burdens associated with incursions into our waters.

The Prime Minister has emphasized that any involvement of Bahamian personnel will be contingent on negotiations to ensure the effort has widespread support in Haiti, is designed to be effective and results-oriented, and minimizes risk to those involved.

We thank former Prime Minister Perry Christie for his continued efforts to support dialogue in Haiti as a member of the CARICOM-led Eminent Persons Group, which also includes former Prime Ministers Dr. Kenny Anthony of St Lucia and Bruce Golding of Jamaica.