Despite communication lapse, minister says relations remain strong between both countries
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — While he has not been advised of the recalls and transfers stemming from the Haitian Embassy in Nassau following a Haitian commission of inquiry investigation, Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield said yesterday that while he has not had an opportunity to speak with Haiti’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Bocchit Edmond, the relationship between the two countries remains strong.
At least six diplomats at the Haitian Embassy in Nassau have been recalled or transferred as the Haitian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reportedly prepares to eventually replace all personnel at the embassy following a Haitian commission of inquiry into concerns of corruption.
According to The Haiti Sentinel, which translated in English an original article by Le Nouvelliste on the recall, Haitian Foreign Affairs Minister Bocchit Edmond told the Le Nouvelliste that the commission’s report revealed “unacceptable situations” at the embassy.
The commission completed its investigation earlier this month, according to international reports.
Speaking to reporters, Henfield said, “I have no other information other than what’s already in the public domain that has been published in the newspapers in Haiti, and has also been published in our papers locally
“I was supposed to speak to the Foreign [Affairs] Minister Bocchit [Edmond], who is still the foreign affairs minister for Haiti.
“We have not been able to connect…”
Asked about the relationship between Haiti and The Bahamas, the minister said the relationship “remains what it is”.
“Haiti is a member of CARICOM; of course we all work very closely with CARICOM
“Bocchit and I talk regularly. In this instance we weren’t able to as we would have hoped. We just kept missing each other. I think we have a strong relationship. I think the relationship must remain strong in the interest of both of our countries.”
Henfield pointed out that there is a large Haitian dispera in The Bahamas; both countries have an embassy in the neighboring country.
When asked whether the issues surrounding the recalls and the apparent lack of direct information has tainted the diplomatic relationship, Henfield said it has not.
He said he plans to speak to Edmond at his earliest opportunity but could not put a timeframe on the matter.
He noted, however, that the primary focus on a meeting with Edmond is about relations with Haiti, and not primarily about Haiti’s investigation of its embassy in Nassau.
“Our meeting is about or ongoing relations with Haiti; about our strategic relations with how we progress with the plans we made when the prime minister visited Haiti and led an entire delegation of Cabinet ministers there. These are ongoing discussions. How do we settle them?
He said priority discussions center around protecting The Bahamas’ borders, coming up with a viable plan to allow the Royal Bahamas Defence Force to assist Haitian law enforcement agencies in policing their maritime space; limiting illegal migration and devising a regulated migration program that will stop “Haitian risking their lives”.