U.S. Government Intends to Lift Arms Embargo on Haiti
- Friday, December 02, 2011 8:18 AM
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (defend.ht) - The United States intends to lift the 18-year arms embargo place on Haiti following the 1993 military coup d'etat against former President Jean Bertrand Aristide.
The announcement came during the visit of the Assistant U.S. Secretary of State, William Brownfield, who made the announcement alongside Director General of the Haitian National Police, Mario Andresol.
"The United States is now open to the idea of â€‹â€‹providing weapons to the Haitian National Police... under the conditions established by the two governments," said the U.S. official at the joint press conference. According to AlterPresse, Brownfield said the U.S. initiated "dialogue with the Government of Haiti" on the subject.
For Brownfield, the first step toward lifting the blockade was the establishment of a professional and well-trained police force. "The Haitian police has reached this level," he said. Brownfield said that during his working visit to Haiti, which began on the same day, he found "significant progress" at the police, which has in its ranks a "very professional staff."
AlterPresse reports PNH Director General Mario Andresol as having submitted a five-year plan for the development of the police, which will rise from 10,000 to 16,000 members in 2016.
The police force is currently just below the 4,000 mark.
"The strengthening of the police is a key point (...) and we expect support from many of our partners, including the U.S.," says Andresol.
Andresol believes that strengthening of the police is needed to enhance the fight against drug trafficking, which intensified in the country after the 2010 earthquake.
The most affected regions are the South, Northwest and Central, where, apart from the traffic, there was a high consumption, according AndrÃ©sol, highlighting the danger it poses to young people.
Andresol indicates that the number of officers of the Brigade for the fight against drug trafficking (BLTS) will soon move from 200 to 300 agents.
William Brownfield, noted a decrease of drug trafficking in the Caribbean, but warned that the networks could again establish bases of operations.
Related 12.01.2011: U.S. government to Strengthen Cooperation with Haitian police
Related 11.28.2011: Commission Members on New Haitian Military Force Still Unknown