Regional… responsibilities

Whenever Haiti comes to mind, two old sayings rush to mind – “a friend in need is a friend indeed” and “fair weather friends”. Well, Haiti has been more than a friend – it’s been an inspiration for the historic role it played in defeating the army of the great Napoleon Bonaparte to eventually create the first black Republic in the Western Hemisphere!! Before Simon Bolivar!!
But the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse back in 2021 by Columbian mercenaries – evidently hired by Haitian Business interests – further intensified the endemic crisis. Roving gangs had already been controlling vast swathes of Port au Prince and its suburbs and Haiti’s police and armed forces appeared incapable of bringing them to heel. The business class prospered because no matter how poor and chaotic, there’s more money to be made in chaos!! Deployed UN forces were similarly ineffective – for the same reason of becoming corrupted – and had to leave.
Some Haitian groups feel that the US has played a role in the chaos from behind the scenes to keep Haiti unstable. They haven’t forgotten the US supporting France’s extraction of reparations – there can’t be another word for it! – from Haiti to compensate for their “loss” after they were kicked out!! That debt was only paid off in the last decade and was one of the main reasons for Haiti’s underdevelopment. The US landed marines to ensure Haiti’s acquiescence – even as they trained Haitian troops for the dictatorships they permitted to develop!
But hey! – countries will do what they hafta do when it’s in their interest, no? Even though your Eyewitness is stumped on what the US gains right now with an unstable Haiti. More refugees floating to Florida?? After Moise’s assassination they’ve followed through in bringing many of the assassins – with connections to the highest levels of Haitian politics – to justice. But aware of the historical fears of the “US marines landing”, they’re pushing for a UN-backed force with the boots coming from Caricom and Africa.
For a while CariCom played a “hold me; loose me“ role – even as several African countries supported the idea. One hitch surfaced when Kenya’s Supreme Court ruled that the Executive can’t commit police on foreign missions. So it was very heartening for Pres Ali at the Caricom HoG meeting to place the need to bring stability to ait at the top of the agenda. The US announced that Benin had committed 2000 troops and they were contributing US$200M to the US$600M that might be necessary for the mission. Let’s hope all the kinks are straightened before December.
But whatever happened to the Opposition who were shedding crocodile tears about Haiti a while back when Haitians were being trafficked to Brazil??

Your Eyewitness is pretty chuffed at the launching of a Suriname-Guyana Chamber of Commerce (SGCC). For too long we’ve allowed our unfortunate history of the British ousting the Dutch from Essequibo, Demerara and Berbice – while Suriname remained Dutch – to keep us apart. Imagine that we’re so similar in our colonial oppression that created a similar culturally plural society – and yet separated just by a river narrower than the Essequibo – have stubbornly resisted integrat.
Suriname becoming a member of Caricom in 1996 offered an opportunity – but maybe because the new PPP government was more focused on getting us out of the mess the PNC had left us, efforts were desultory. Anyhow, we’re soon gonna have a bridge across the Corentyne River and this should make the physical integration even more pronounced that the backtrack route ht served up to now! Suriname soon joining us as an offshore oil producer should push the integration impetus further since collaboration in exploiting our O&G resource would produce – at a minimum – economies of scale.

…oil profits
Exxon’s contesting Chevron’s purchase of Hess’ share of the Stabroek O&G play. The US #! Oil company says #2 Chevron can’t simply walk in and emjoy the value #1 created.
But what about the sanctity of the Hess’ contract??!!