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US warns citizens about Haiti


US warns citizens about Haiti

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PORT AU PRINCE – The United States has urged its nationals not to travel to the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country of Haiti, because of the high level of crime, civil unrest and kidnapping.

 “Violent crime, such as armed robbery and carjacking, is common. Kidnapping is widespread. Kidnappers may use sophisticated planning or take advantage of unplanned opportunities. Victims have included US citizens,” the US Department of State said in a statement.

It warned that demonstrations, tyre burning, and roadblocks are frequent, unpredictable, and can turn violent.

“Local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents. Emergency response, including ambulance service, is limited or non-existent.”

The statement by Washington follows one issued by the US Embassy here urging the Jovenel Moise government “to meet the needs of the Haitian people by urgently addressing public security, restarting economic growth, and organising free, fair, and credible legislative elections as soon as technically feasible”.

Earlier this week, President Moise, announced the appointment of Joseph Jouthe as the third person to hold the position of prime minister since he came to power in 2017. He said the appointment was not coincidental.

Jouthe, a trained civil engineer, is considered an experienced policymaker. He was environment minister and interim finance minister, and also worked for the humanitarian agencies.

Washington said travellers are sometimes followed and violently attacked and robbed shortly after leaving the Port-au-Prince international airport.

“The US Embassy requires its personnel to use official transportation to and from the airport. Robbers and carjackers have attacked private vehicles stuck in heavy traffic congestion and often target lone drivers, particularly women driving alone.

“The US government has limited ability to provide emergency services to US citizens in some areas of Haiti. US government personnel are discouraged from walking in most neighbourhoods. Only adult family members over the age of 18 are permitted to accompany US government employees assigned to the US Embassy in Port-au-Prince,” the Department of State added.