Caribbean leaders attending an annual trade bloc meeting say they will not send a force to Haiti to help stop worsening gang violence in that country.
The spiraling violence in Haiti has been a key topic at the 15-member CARICOM meeting in the Bahamas with Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry asking for an international military intervention to stop the gang attacks in his country.
When asked by VOA's Creole Service about possible troop involvement in Haiti, Grenadian Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell said, "No, we are not sending troops. That much I can answer."
In October, Haiti requested help from the United Nations Security Council and has suggested the U.S. and Canada lead a force. No such intervention has come together, and neither country has offered to take the lead.
The prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, said Friday that CARICOM was working on a project for strengthening the Haitian police and security.
He told VOA's Creole Service that a working group set up to help resolve the crisis in Haiti would expand to include political actors there who signed a December accord. That agreement aims to pave the way for new elections in Haiti and the establishment of a transitional council.
Gonsalves said the effort would help Haiti move toward both a political and a security solution.
"Let them work in tandem," he said.
Also Friday, Haiti's prime minister welcomed action by the United States and Canada to sanction Haitian individuals believed to be connected to the gang violence.
Henry also said that Haiti sanctioned two more Haitian politicians with alleged ties to the gangs.
Haiti has seen a surge in killings, rapes and kidnappings blamed on gangs emboldened since the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moise.
At the opening meeting Wednesday, CARICOM Secretary-General Carla Barnett reiterated the preference for finding a Haiti-led solution to the country's challenges.
"Even as progress is being made on some fronts, CARICOM and indeed the wider international community continue to struggle to help Haiti resolve its multifaceted crises," Barnett said. "We will continue our efforts to assist all stakeholders in Haiti to ensure a Haitian-owned resolution to the crises."
Barnett said the region's leaders "will have to show the resilience and fortitude of the Haitian people" in resolving regional challenges and improving the lives of people in the Caribbean community. She added that the goal is creating a "safe, sustainable, prosperous and viable community for all."
In addition to leaders from CARICOM's 15 member states, representatives from other nations, including Canada and the United States, are participating in the meeting.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Thursday that Canada would send navy vessels to Haiti for intelligence-gathering as part of efforts to mitigate the gang violence.
Some information in this report came from The Associated Press.