Jamaica to take Haitian Orphans and World Bank employees

National Security Minister Dr. Horace Chang says government has agreed to accommodate some Haitians, who were displaced due to the ongoing crisis in that country.

Dr. Horace Chang

The announcement came after the latest uprising of violence. Thousands of Haitians have been protesting against the government under Prime Minister Ariel Henry, primarily due to soaring crime rates and economic instability. On March 3, 2024, the AFP news agency reported that Haiti’s National Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince was mostly empty after an estimated 4,000 inmates escaped in a mass jailbreak.

Since last year the Jamaican government has come under fire from human rights lobby group Freedom Imaginaries for its rapid return policy towards Haitian migrants. On February 28, the government rejected the asylum applications of 37 Haitian refugees who arrived in the island by boat last July.

Haitian refugees arrived in Jamaica

Dr. Chang said the areas to which the Haitians were repatriated were not as volatile as Southern Haiti including the capital Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas.

In a turn of events, the Security Minister, said the Jamaican government will take some Haitians. According to Chang, Jamaica will take children from one orphanage as well as about 53 World Bank employees. The National Security Minister said the government is boosting its efforts to manage and secure Jamaica’s transnational borders as violence escalates in neighbouring Haiti.

Dr. Chang, who was addressing Thursday morning’s session of the Standing Finance Committee, said the country cannot afford a flood of Haitians at its borders.

He said Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith have been working alongside international and regional partners to help bring stability to the crisis stricken nation.

Dr. Chang also disclosed that Jamaica is not predominantly the target destination for those fleeing Haiti – with most fleeing to North America, whether through the Bahamas or by travelling through South America.

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