By LETRE SWEETING
PRIME Minister Philip Davis yesterday met with Bahamian diplomatic officers recently evacuated from Haiti, who expressed being “okay” despite an “abnormal” incident involving the country’s law enforcement.
The officers returned to the country on Monday.
“We will continue to monitor the situation in Haiti, to tell them when they ought to go back, because it is important that we understand what is going on in Haiti, for intelligence to ensure that we could continue to protect our borders from the migration and the only way we’re going to be able to do that is to have a presence in Haiti,” Mr Davis said.
Captain Godfrey Rolle, chargè d’Affaires of The Bahamas’ Embassy in Haiti, was one of the seven diplomatic officers brought back from Haiti. He has been stationed in Haiti since August 24, 2022.
Mr Rolle said yesterday at a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that he never expected to spend his birthday — January 26 —facing potential danger in Haiti, and having to leave.
“Haiti, it is indeed a country of ebbs and flows. But what happened on that day was abnormal. So, it was thought best for us to return home,” he said.
Mr Rolle added that “military force is needed in Haiti” for any kind of resolution to be made in the country.
“As it stands now, in my opinion, there can be no resolution, with what’s going on now, unless there is a station of some sort of military force,” he said.
Mr Rolle recounted the “abnormal” incident that prompted a temporary, but immediate involuntary departure order from Prime Minister Davis last Thursday of all Bahamian diplomatic personnel out of Haiti.
“We’re used to the police and their blockings on the road. And we’re used to police seeing a diplomatic plate on the car and beckoning us and making a way for us to go past whatever blockage there is, so that is what we expected when the police beckoned to us,” Mr Rolle said.
“But when we got there, it was a different ballgame. In fact they said they want us out of the car. We said that we were diplomats, but they were not in any kind of state to have any sensible conversation with us and so I believe we managed the situation very well. Things did not escalate,” he said.
It was reported earlier that the Chargè said they had been stopped by Haitian police and relieved of their vehicle and weapons as part of a protest by the Haitian National Police against their own authorities.
Mr Rolle said despite his recent experience in Haiti and its current state of unrest, he and his team are eager to return and serve their country, pending security assessments from The Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“Let me speak for myself and, of course, my colleagues. I’ve been in Haiti before, I think we all are aware of the situation in Haiti. There are times when it can be volatile,” Mr Rolle said.
“For us as diplomats, we’re given information that allows us to make a sensible decision as to when we can leave our residences and go to the embassy or when we work from home. So, it’s a matter of adjusting to the situation. And so, it’s not been very difficult for us to do that,” he said.
“We all live in secure areas. The embassy is secure in fact, the ministry has just boosted the security at the embassy and that is an ongoing process. So, I don’t, or let me put it this way, nobody has come to me to say that they have any extraordinary concerns about anything,” Mr Rolle said.
He added that there are still some Haitian staff at the embassy with whom they are in contact.
Mr Rolle said he expects to see the completion of the security assessment of Haiti “fairly soon”.
He also said the government of the Dominican Republic was very helpful and instrumental in his and his team’s safe evacuation from Haiti.
Sickened 1 month, 2 weeks ago
I am really curious as to why they are 'eager to return'? What about that post is attractive? Seriously. It is, and has been, a war zone. Is there good food and entertainment still going on in the area of the embassy or their homes? I can't imagine there being much free time or ability to explore the country. Also, they mention gathering intelligence. Personally I would down play this aspect, as there are gangs involved with the transportation of Haitians by boat to The Bahamas. If they suspect you guys are actually affecting their business... be careful.
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