Canada to Begin Military Training Support for Haiti in Jamaica

The Canadian government will send 70 soldiers to Jamaica to prepare Caribbean Community (CARICOM) forces to combat gang wars in Haiti.

The military training is part of the UN’s response to the continuing violence between multiple armed groups aiming to take over parts of the country. The death toll from the conflict increased to more than 1,500 by March, according to the UN.

Under Ottawa’s “Operation Helios,” the Canadian Armed Forces will teach CARICOM personnel core peacekeeping and combat first aid skills. The operation will also incorporate exercises between participating troops to boost tactical support for local Haitian forces.

Most Canadian trainers will be drawn from the 1st Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment. Sessions will be held at Ottawa’s Operational Support Hub in Jamaica, commonly used for Canadian Air Force logistics missions throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

Approximately 330 CARICOM warfighters from Jamaica, Belize, and the Bahamas will receive training under Operation Helios.

Multinational Security Support Mission

The UN strategy passed in October 2023 stipulated that the military operation for Haiti would leverage “multinational security support” instead of an official union force to coordinate with the Haitian National Police in maintaining peace across the country.

The deployment will run for a year and include a review after the first nine months.

For this cause, about 1,000 Kenyans will be sent to Port-au-Prince, while partner nations plan to contribute more than 2,500 military personnel.

Canada’s Contribution

Before Ottawa’s latest announcement, the government pledged 80.5 million Canadian dollars ($59.4 million) in February to advance the Multinational Security Support Mission for Haiti.

A month earlier, Canada completed a pre-requisite training course focusing on civilian protection, conduct and discipline, and conflict-related sexual violence for approximately 300 CARICOM troops.

The project is mandatory for service members participating in UN-sanctioned peacekeeping missions.

Soldiers of Task Force 41, Canadian Army, search a structure for enemy role players at the urban patrol training during the Golden Coyote training exercise on West Camp Rapid, Rapid City, S.D., June 16, 2016. Paintball ammunition was utilized for the exercise to make a realistic training experience for the Soldiers.
Canadian soldiers conducting urban warfare training. Photo: Spc. Rebecca Glidden/US National Guard

“I’d like to thank members of the Canadian Armed Forces for their dedication and support towards a successful deployment of the [Multinational Security Support] mission, a critical step in restoring security, law and order and democracy in Haiti,” Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly stated.

“As we’ve said from the beginning, Canada believes in Haitian-led solutions to the political, security and humanitarian crises in Haiti.”

“We will continue to engage with Haitian stakeholders, CARICOM and international partners to strengthen the security and justice sectors, as well as to protect the people of Haiti and encourage Haitian-led efforts to restore peace, law and order, and prosperity in the country.”

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