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Foreign Affairs Minister Jean Victor Géneus revealed in a tweet last week that the Haitian government sought technical and institutional help from the international community to strengthen the operational capacities of the national police. Mr Géneus hopes to control the increasing instability and security risk that has consumed the country in recent years. At the recent meeting of the UN Security council, the Minister stated that what the country needs is increased international support for its beleaguered security forces not a replacement or control from foreign entities. Haiti does not want foreign forces to replace the PNH and come to do the job for them but rather Haitian leaders envision the renewal of the BINUH mandate and its capacity strengthened in order to provide effective training to the Haitian National Police. The PNH is the only national force that the nation has to confront the lawlessness and criminal insecurity that has affected even foreigners and diplomats in the Country. The problems of acquiring armored vehicles and other lethal and modern weapons continue to put the PNH at a disadvantage to face organized criminal gangs who can easily obtain such items through smuggling. Despite the courage and determination shown in recent weeks, the police are simply outgunned and outnumbered and the sooner we receive assistance from the international community, the sooner we can act to put an end to this horrible and existential threat, that is the criminal gangs. 

Other leaders in the region also expressed their concerns about the situation in the country and called for elections in order to return to constitutional order. Brazil’s permanent representative to the UN, Ronaldo Costa Filho said his country, which will assume the presidency of the UN security council next month, had hoped to arrange a visit to Haiti next month before the vote, but the security conditions in Haiti and BINUH’s insufficient resources to guarantee the security of the mission caused cancellation of such trip. The Dominican Republic’s representative to the UN, Jose Blanco Conde told the Council that Haiti had no institutional mechanism to deal with the security crisis and that a new peacekeeping mission was the only solution. Mr Blanco-Conde noted that though one of the main objectives of the last peacekeeping mission was to ensure the restructuring of the police force, the current Secretary General’s report indicated that the issue has yet to be resolved. Mr. Blanco-Conde added that it is clear the PNH has not yet developed the capacity to maintain order and control the many armed gangs that terrorize the population. Recalling a warning the Dominican Republic gave the international body three (3) years ago, the Dominican Republic, which is not a council member but is Haiti’s closest neighbor, warned of the negative consequences of reducing the United Nations peacekeeping mission, and today we are reaping the results of this disastrous decision. According to the Dominican diplomat, immediate peacekeeping is the only way to combat the violence and chaos, as there is a threat of major bloodshed caused by a potential escalation of clashes between criminal gangs and possible mobs of people robbing foraging properties. The leader warned that it is urgent to change our approach before the situation spirals out of control and poses a possible threat to regional security. 

Meanwhile in a note to the government, the association of Haitian industries and the Democratic popular sector called on the interim government to take adequate measures to combat crime and armed gangs. According to the association, the whole country is a victim of acts of kidnapping, which must stop! People need to go about their business in peace. It is a fundamental right of which many people are denied. In addition to these issues, the dysfunction of customs, leads to scarcity of basic necessities, which also causes serious losses, linked to the impossibility of exporting national products.  ADIH further deplores the constant shortage of fuel, the acts of kidnapping, the daily thefts of armed gangs, noting that for about a month, the General Administration of Customs (AGD) has been perpetually on strike, paralyzing the course of the daily activities of its members, importers and exporters in general. The Haitian Customs Association had called on customs employees to observe a work stoppage starting from July 1, 2022, to demand the release of Roosevelt Réjouis, the deputy director of AGD who was kidnapped on May 30, 2022.

In other news, middle school exams, examens de 9ème année fondamentale, began yesterday across the nation and the end of day assessment indicated that the exams were conducted in relative peace, According to the regional director of education in the Northwest Department, Max Eddy Augustin, the exams were a success with 12,364 students admitted to the exam in the 10 communes in the Department, crediting the national police for their role in making sure things went on without a hitch. The only issue was moving the exams centers in La Croix St. Joseph to Collège Nazaréen de La Coupe due to security concerns around the safety of the students. Though there were shots heard throughout the morning in such hotbed neighborhoods in the capital city, such as Tabarre, Pernier and Torcel, the education minister appeared on the radio to assure parents and students that there will be measures in place to protect them. Those with cards to take the exams but unable to go to their assigned test center should be able to go to any test center to take the tests, Also, students who fail to pass the exams for any reason will have a new date scheduled by the Ministry of Education. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education has fixed the start of the new school year on Monday, September 5, 2022, while proposing a nine (9) day training for teachers and educators and principals.

Finally, as Rhum Barbancourt continues to celebrate its 160th anniversary, the beverage company that has been deemed a national treasure decided to make cosmetic changes by way of its logo. Through rebranding the company has decided to include the slogan “Haitian Since 1862” in its logo and the new bottle tops will be made of cork. The company further stated that the new changes reflect a perspective for the company to open up more to the international market. According to brand manager Thaïs Élie, the changes reflect not only 160 years of excellence but also innovation. Delphine Gardère, the CEO of the company stressed that these changes do not in any way translate into change in taste as the same quality rum will be produced. All the 3, and 5 star and the reserve du domain will not change. The only change will be the white rhum which will become 55, thus an overproof rhum.

Dela Harlley

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