PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis pictured previously with Haiti President Jovenel Moise, who has been assassinated at his home. The Bahamas embassy in Haiti has been ordered closed in the wake of the killing.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
THE Bahamas has closed its embassy in Haiti and will beef up border security at home as precautionary measures after Haitian President Jovenel Moise was assassinated at his home yesterday.
Foreign Affairs Minister Darren Henfield said the embassy will remain shut until a way forward is determined.
“In any event, we were operating sparsely because of the pandemic,” he said.
Haiti’s First Lady Martine Moise was hospitalised after she was shot in the overnight attack. The Haitian President had ruled by decree for more than two years after the country failed to hold elections and the opposition demanded he step down in recent months, contributing to a precarious political situation in the country.
Mr Henfield said The Bahamas’ four diplomats in Haiti are currently safe.
“They are following instructions of authorities to remain indoors and it’s calm in Haiti at the moment, but we don’t know what will take place later as the shock of this event wears off,” he said.
“We are very cautious about how (to) treat this situation. Any civil disruption in Haiti has a tendency to impact negatively on The Bahamas because of our nearness geographically. We are going to beef up security on the borders to keep our borders safe.
“Any Bahamian who is in Haiti – I’m advised it’s maybe five or six of them – they are advised to follow instructions of the authorities. We are assured by Haitian authorities that things are calm and under control.”
In a statement yesterday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said the government is “deeply saddened” by the developments in Haiti and “strongly condemns the actions of the perpetrators”.
He said: “This morning, we awoke to the very sad and disturbing news of the death of Jovenel Moise, the President of the Republic of Haiti, who was killed at his residence at about 1am today, Wednesday, 7 July 2021.
“The Heads of Government of CARICOM at its 42nd meeting, which concluded on 6 July 2021, discussed the ongoing situation in Haiti and offered its assistance in finding a peaceful resolution to the political crises.
“I have been in contact with the Honourable Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, chairman of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs remains in contact with our embassy in Haiti. All staff are safe. The embassy is monitoring the situation.
“We pray for the people of Haiti and for a peaceful resolution to the political crises.”
Progressive Liberal Party leader Philip “Brave” Davis noted the assassination with “shock and regret”.
“We are shocked by this heinous act of violence and offer to the government and people of Haiti our prayers and support during this difficult time,” he said.
According to the Associated Press, Bocchit Edmond, the Haitian ambassador to the United States, said the attack “was carried out by foreign mercenaries and professional killers — well-orchestrated.”
He also said they were masquerading as agents of the US Drug Enforcement Administration, which has an office in the Haitian capital to assist the government in counternarcotics programmes.
The heavily armed gunmen reportedly spoke Spanish or English, AP reported, citing Haiti’s interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph.