US looking towards Caribbean countries for translators to be part of multi-national force
US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Caribbean Affairs and Haiti, Barbara A Feinstein.

WASHINGTON (CMC) – The United States on Friday, said it expects several countries within the Eastern Caribbean to send translators to Haiti as part of a Kenya-led United Nations-backed multinational force, as efforts continue to end the escalating violence between armed gangs and police in the French-speaking Caribbean Community (Caricom) country.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Caribbean Affairs and Haiti, Barbara A Feinstein, told a news conference that “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.”

St Lucia and Dominica are two countries within the 15-member Caricom grouping capable of communicating in the French creole or patois language widely spoken in Haiti.

Feinstein told a virtual news conference 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.

In a statement over the last weekend, Kenya’s Foreign Minister, Alfred Mutua, said his country’s commitment is to deploy a contingent of 1,000 police officers to help train and assist Haitian police restore normalcy in the country and protect strategic installations.

Last year, Haiti’s Prime Minister, Dr Ariel Henry, sent an urgent appeal to the UN asking for “the immediate deployment of a specialized armed force, in sufficient quantity” to stop gang warfare.

Last month, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed to the UN Security Council and major potential contributing countries to act fast to create the conditions for the deployment of a multinational force to Haiti.

Guterres said that a UN expert’s estimate that Haiti needs up to 2,000 additional anti-gang police officers is no exaggeration.

Last month, Caricom leaders at their summit in Trinidad and Tobago expressed “grave concern over the deep humanitarian, security and governance crisis,” in Haiti.

Feinstein said that if Kenya 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.

Feinstein promised that Washington would be doing everything to ensure “swift passage” of the UN Security Council resolution and “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.”

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