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Haiti | Insecure Ambassador Dennis Hankins warns armed gangs, but what about their sponsors, asks Dr Renaud

  • May 29, 2024
  • 3 Min
  • 11

Boston, May 29, 2024 – Guest on the show Point from Radio Télé Métropole Tuesday morning, the American ambassador accredited to Haiti, Mr. Dennis Hankins, without tongue in cheek, issued a severe warning to the armed gangs operating in the country. Mr. Hankins made it clear that these criminal groups have two choices: go to prison or die.

These words echo the alarming situation in Haiti, where armed gangs impose their law, plunging the population into constant terror. The ambassador’s remarks were seen as an attempt to deter criminals, reminding them that their impunity could soon end.

However, this position, although laudable, leads Dr Josué Renaud, head of the human rights organization NEHRO, to ask practical questions about its application. According to him, the large national penitentiary center, like many other prisons in the metropolitan region, was demolished by the same gangs, so that the idea of ​​imprisoning them seems illusory in the current circumstances.

In addition, Mr. Renaud draws attention to a decisive aspect that Mr. Hankins did not address: “the fate of the individuals responsible for the distribution of weapons to gangs”. “These powerful suppliers, who generally operate with impunity, are at the heart of the problem of weapons proliferation in Haiti causing total chaos.”

Without targeted action against these actors, he argued, “ any attempt to neutralize gangs risks being ineffective«.

The immediate future of security in Haiti, concluded the leader of New England Humans Rights Organization (NEHRO), based in Massachusetts, “ will depend on the ability of the new Haitian authorities – CPT/Conille Administration – and the international community to simultaneously tackle the symptoms and roots of the organized crime problem«.