A leading Caribbean prime minister this week labeled embattled Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry as a big part of the political problem in strife-torn Haiti, saying that he should find a way to share power with other political groups, which oppose his continued presence while the international community prepares to send a multinational peacekeeping force to stabilize the country perilous security situation.

Antigua’s Gaston Browne also wants the US, France, Canada and the UK to send troops to the country to work alongside police and soldiers from Kenya, Caribbean nations and others, which have pledged to contribute security personnel to Haiti in the coming weeks, saying these western nations have superior equipment, training and manpower that could minimize the power and influence of heavily armed gangs controlling parts of the capital and other areas since the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moise. Brown and other leaders are attending a regional heads of government summit in Guyana.

Browne said that Henry “barely has any legitimacy” and the 15-nation grouping of mostly former British colonies should be aware of the perception that the multinational force is headed to Haiti to help keep him in power despite simmering opposition demands for his resignation. The leaders and representatives from the US, Canada, and France have held several sessions with Henry and his delegation since Sunday as they try to grapple with the situation in the bloc’s poorest and most populous member state. He was due to leave Tuesday for a United Nations conference in Kenya.

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne. Gov’t of Antigua and Barbuda

“No disrespect. My dear friend Henry is part of the problem, and many in Haiti believe that the interventions that the stakeholder groups plan (are) intended to prop up Henry. Now, even though that is not so, we have to deal with that perception, and we are of the view that Henry has to transition and to become an honest broker and to have a power-sharing agreement with the others in Haiti, so it doesn’t appear as though we are trying to stabilize Haiti for his benefit for him to continue. At the end of the day, he barely has any legitimacy. We have to be careful that perception is not seen as the reality of the Haitian people, which could only inflame the situation,” PM Browne said as he worried about the future of Haiti with the level of opposition to PM Henry’s continued role in government.

“So I am certainly of the view that even before any intervention is made in Haiti, to stabilize Haiti and to restore Haiti to peace and prosperity, that the political situation with Henry has to be addressed and he has to be as magnanimous as possible and he himself has said that he does not wish to stay on so if indeed he is an interim, let’s say president, then she should not have any problems having a power sharing agreement with the other political stakeholders in Haiti. So I believe that Henry has a pivotal role to play and could be the one who can effect urgent changes that could accelerate the establishment and operationalization of the multilateral group to stabilize Haiti. “

Bahamian Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell had said on Sunday as well that the continued opposition to Henry’s presence in government remained the main stumbling bloc to peace even though the region is uncertain what will happen after if he resigns or is removed.

Browne, meanwhile, argues that the multinational force of mostly Third World countries so far should be “augmented by troops from the US and certainly from France and Canada as well. Now for some reason I think that Canada, France and the US but they were told, perhaps erroneously so, that they were dissuaded from having troops on the ground. That expertise is needed on the ground even to subdue the gangs because the last thing we want is to have a mission that will fail. This mission has to be successful,” he said as he tore into France for not making a big enough financial contribution to the force. The US has already pledged $200 million, while a donor pledging conference in Brazil last week raised more than $100 million as well.

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