News by email Donate


Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

Haiti pic (2)banner.JPG
Haiti pic (2).JPG
World News

Methodist peer blasts UN for failing Haiti as gang violence escalates

by Donna Birrell

A Methodist minister and member of the House of Lords says the escalating violence in Haiti is the result of a failure of years of international policy.

Scores of people in the country have been killed, and more than 15,000 are homeless after fleeing because of gang violence, which has seen thousands of prisoners freed from jails and armed militias roaming the streets.

Prime Minister Ariel Henry has resigned, and there are now fears the violence could spread to other islands in the region—including the Turks and Caicos Islands, which are a British Overseas Territory.

Lord Leslie Griffiths of Burry Port, who was ordained in Haiti and spent a decade working as a minister there, tabled an urgent question in the House of Lords this week asking the government what support it is providing to the Caribbean countries (CARICOM) and the people of Haiti following the collapse in law and order.

He told Premier Christian News: "It's pretty grim. 80 per cent of the capital city is overrun by gangs, and drug running, kidnapping, violence on the streets. It's a terrible, terrible situation. It's difficult to see how we're going to bring order out of this chaos. But people are working on it.

"My two boys were born in a Haitian hospital, the same hospital where it was reported this week, the putrefying body of one patient lay on a bed alongside another bed, where a patient with no doctors to look after him was lying. So you can imagine that's the depth to which it's all sunk. But I have to say that, for some time, it's been allowed to fester in this way."

In 2010, Haiti was struck by a devastating earthquake which killed more than 220,000 people and injured more than 300,000 others. Lord Griffiths said that attempts to get the country back on its feet since then have failed.

"Attempts to put order back have failed magisterially because the United Nations was called in (from 2004 - 2019) and for 15 years sent a troop of 2,500 people from different countries around the world. The consensus is that it was a total disaster and an utter waste of time and money and left the country worse than when it started. So there's complicity from beyond Haiti, as well as a tragedy working itself out within Haiti.

"The UN didn't build one single institution, they didn't leave Haiti better off than it was before. They even introduced cholera to Haiti and now tens of thousands of people in Haiti have died of cholera, that was brought by one of the armies that came under the aegis of the United Nations."

Lord Griffiths says that his question in the House of Lords this week was unprecedented and that he wanted to raise awareness among parliamentarians of the needs of Haiti. He says since then, he has been approached by parliamentarians in Canada and Ireland who want to know more.

"So it is really weaning Haiti away from the traditional liaison with the United States of America and France, both of which have been utterly disastrous, to having networks of friends from other countries, and I'm hoping the United Kingdom can be one of them.

"The UK can play an enormous part in galvanising other countries around the world. We are permanent members of the UN Security Council, for example. So, soft power and influence are abundant in this country. We've lost it a little bit at the moment as we blame each other for everything that happens. But at the same time, the United Kingdom has a hand to play, even if it doesn't have to dig deep into its pockets."

In response to Lord Griffiths' question, Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron said: "The UK is concerned about the worsening violence in Haiti and the impacts on the neighbouring Turks and Caicos Islands. 

"We remain committed to supporting a Haitian-led political solution. We commend the efforts of partners across the Caribbean and beyond to support orderly political transition in Haiti. 

"We urge all parties to move swiftly to bring much-needed security and stability for the people of Haiti and the region. We continue to support Haiti through our contributions to the United Nations agencies and the World Bank, and are committed to help secure the Turks and Caicos Islands, particularly their borders.

"We should always try to learn the lessons of history, particularly when we are trying to help with fragile states. Haiti has always been somewhere we contribute—I think our contribution is £30 million per year through the international bodies—but it is not somewhere where we have chosen to lead. We have left that to the Canadians, Americans and others who have more expertise. The points the noble Lord makes are very good ones."


A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us
Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email