Canada imposes sanctions on two Haitian elites
A police officer runs away from tear gas during a protest to demand the resignation of Haiti's President Jovenel Moise in Port-au-Prince,Haiti, Wednesday, February 10, 2021. Haiti has lurched into fresh political crisis amid allegations of a coup attempt and an escalatingdispute over when the presidential term of Moise should end. United States authorities have been warned against the deportation of Haitians, especially at a time when there is political unrest in their country. (Photo: AP)

OTTAWA, Canada (CMC) – Canada has imposed sanctions on two Haitian elites in response to acts of significant corruption that are fuelling the political and economic crisis in the country.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said that Canada is imposing additional sanctions under the Special Economic Measures (Haiti) Regulations on Charles Saint-Rémy, a businessman and associate of former president Michel Martelly, and former member of parliament, Arnel Bélizaire.

“Canada is continuing to fight against corruption in Haiti by imposing more sanctions against elites who are supporting the criminal gangs that are terrorising the country. Canada will continue to work with the international community to support the people of Haiti so they can emerge from this crisis and restore peace and security in their country,” Joly added.

The sanctions impose a dealings prohibition on them, effectively freezing any assets they may hold in Canada. These individuals are inadmissible to Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, she said.

Canada said it has reason to believe these individuals are using their status as high-profile elites in Haiti to protect and enable the illegal activities of armed criminal gangs, including through drug trafficking and other acts of corruption.

“These gangs and their supporters continue to terrorise vulnerable populations in Haiti with impunity and are precipitating a humanitarian crisis in the country that includes the resurgence of cholera. They are also committing unspeakable violence against affected populations and impeding the delivery of critical services and humanitarian aid,” Joly stated.

Canada said the sanctions it has imposed are intended to put pressure on those responsible for the ongoing violence, including widespread sexual violence, and instability in Haiti.

“These people must stop providing funds and weapons to criminal gangs in Haiti. Canada condemns the weaponisation of sexual violence in Haiti that is devastating the lives of so many across the country,” Joly condemned.

On January 11, this year, Canada airlifted a commercial delivery of specialised vehicles to Haiti and in December last year, it conducted a diplomatic mission in Haiti to encourage greater unity among key stakeholders toward a political path and process for democratic elections.

Since November last year, Canada has imposed sanctions under the Special Economic Measures (Haiti) Regulations against 15 Haitian elites in response to the egregious conduct of Haitian political elites who provide illicit financial and operational support to armed gangs.

Canada and the United States, have, over the past few months, placed sanctions on several Haitian politicians, including Joseph Lambert, former Senate president Louri Latortue, accusing them of abusing their “public position by participating in corrupt activities that undermined the integrity of Haiti’s government".

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