The Dominican Republic has refuted claims regarding a proposed Canadian-led joint security coordination unit meant to address the ongoing crisis in Haiti, its neighboring country.
Roberto Alvarez, the Dominican Foreign Minister, clarified, “The Dominican Government confirms that it has not discussed, agreed, or granted any authorization for the installation in our territory of an office to coordinate support for the Haitian National Police.”
Alvarez’s response followed an earlier announcement from Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly. She asserted that the joint unit would enhance global efforts to establish peace and security in Haiti, stating, “This cell will enhance international efforts in security assistance, working closely with the Haitian National Police and the United Nations to foster a sustainable environment for long-term peace and security in Haiti.”
In addition to this proposal, Canada announced a support package that includes $13 million in aid for development and anti-crime initiatives in Haiti. Haiti continues to grapple with a series of challenges, including natural disasters, political instability, and increased gang violence.
Following the Alvarez statement, Canada’s foreign ministry announced that it would continue its partnership with 20 countries and international organizations to strengthen the Haitian police force and improve security measures.
The absence of democratically elected federal leaders and increased gang control, particularly in the capital city, have aggravated the situation. This gang-related lawlessness has resulted in a significant increase in violence, kidnappings, and public safety concerns.
Historically, relations between the Dominican Republic and Haiti have been strained, and the current instability in Haiti is causing concerns about potential spillover effects across the border. Amidst the unrest in Haiti, the Dominican Republic has begun constructing a border wall to deter migrants and asylum seekers. There has also been a rise in deportations from the Dominican Republic, leading to allegations of xenophobia and racism.
Despite the urgent need for international assistance to suppress gang activity and restore peace in Haiti, nations like Canada and the United States are reluctant to lead an international force in Haiti. In reiterating the Dominican Republic’s stance, Homero Figueroa, spokesperson for Dominican President Luis Abinader, affirmed, “For historical reasons, the Dominican Republic cannot participate in any initiative that commits it to carry out direct actions in Haiti.”