Kingston, Jamaica - Jamaica is ready to participate militarily in an international force in Haiti, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said, an intervention the United Nations has been calling for without success for months to counter record violence by criminal gangs.
'Jamaica will be willing to participate in a multinational security assistance deployment to Haiti under the appropriate jurisdictional parameters to support a return to a reasonable level of stability and peace, which would be necessary for any inclusive democratic process to take root,' Holness told parliament Tuesday.
Stressing Jamaica's 'deep concern' about the situation in their Caribbean neighbor, he said the armed forces and police have been alerted to the possibility of deployment to Haiti.
He said he hoped Haiti could 'start a path towards the restoration of stability... with the full backing of the international community.'
In October, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres relayed a call for help from Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry, asking the Security Council to send a multinational emergency force to help the Haitian police overwhelmed by gang violence.
But while some countries have indicated they are ready to support such a mission, none seem ready to take the lead. The United States and Canada, to which all eyes had turned, were very cautious.
During the last meeting of the Security Council on Haiti at the end of January, U.S. representative Robert Wood stressed the need for the international community to 'help Haiti address insecurity,' without explicitly addressing the sending of a military force.
The U.N. has stressed that gang violence and the humanitarian emergency have reached levels 'not seen for decades.'
And last week, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres repeated his call to deploy a specialized armed force 'as a matter of urgency.'
Malta's Ambassador Vanessa Frazier, who chairs the Security Council in February, welcomed Jamaica's announcement.
'A multilateral security force is very important and is required on the ground in order to stabilize the situation in Haiti and protect the interests of the population,' she said on Wednesday.
No new meeting of the Security Council on Haiti has been scheduled so far.