CAF Members Deploy to Jamaica to train CARICOM troops for Haiti Mission

Approximately 70 Canadian Armed Forces members deployed to Jamaica to provide training to military personnel from Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations.

Once trained, the personnel were set to deploy to Haiti as part of the United Nations-authorized, Kenyan-led, Multinational Security Support (MSS) mission.

On this new Canadian mission, Operation HELIOS, CAF members provided peacekeeping training, combat first aid training and carried out validation and integration exercises for CARICOM troops.

Chief Warrant Officer Robert Sullivan from the Canadian Joint Operations Command visited the infrastructure for Operation HELIOS in Jamaica on April 15 2024. Photo credit: Corporal Bélynda Casse Canadian Armed Forces. Image courtesy of the CAF.  

Kenyan-led MSS Mission Bolsters Haitian National Police

The goal was to prepare the CARICOM troops to deploy on the Kenyan-led MSS mission and bolster the Haitian National Police (HNP) in their efforts to restore security for the people of Haiti. The Canadian-led training took place at the Canadian Armed Forces’ Operational Support Hub in Jamaica.

“Assisting in the Latin American and Caribbean region is just one way in which the Canadian Armed Forces contributes to global peace and security,” says Vice-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie, Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command. “We are collaborating with partners and international organizations to devise optimal strategies for aiding Haiti, while continuing to facilitate training and logistics support to this operation.”

Personnel for the mission were primarily drawn from the 1st Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment from Valcartier, Quebec. Their deployment lasted approximately one month. Canadian Armed Forces planned to train approximately 330 CARICOM troops from Jamaica, Belize and the Bahamas.

Diplomatic visits are conducted at Camp OSH as part of Operation HELIOS in Jamaica April 22 2024. Photo credit: Corporal Bélynda Casse Canadian Armed Force. Image courtesy of the CAF.  

Canada Supports Mission

This training is just one way Canada supported the Kenyan-led MSS mission, building the capacity of CARICOM partner nations. In February, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly announced an investment of $80.5 million to support the MSS mission.

Operation HELIOS builds on Canada’s ongoing efforts to increase the capacity of CARICOM nations to participate in United Nations missions. In January of 2024, the Canadian Armed Forces led training courses for approximately 300 members of defence personnel from Jamaica, Belize, and the Bahamas.

The training covered a range of topics, including:

  • the protection of civilians,
  • conduct and discipline, and
  • conflict-related sexual violence.

All troops must undergo such training prior to participation on UN-sanctioned peacekeeping missions.

“Canada is committed to supporting the Haitian people, who are striving for a peaceful and more prosperous future,” says Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence. “By helping our CARICOM partners prepare to deploy on the United Nations-backed MSS mission, Canada is stepping up with important contributions to Haiti’s security. We will continue to support Haitian-led efforts to build stability, and we thank all CAF members involved for their contributions to this mission.”

Canadian Armed Forces members clean local park in Jamaica during outreach activity Operation HELIOS ON April 19 2024.Photo credit: Corporal Bélynda Casse Canadian Armed Forces. Images courtesy of CAF. Image courtesy of the CAF.  

Minister Thanks CAF Personnel

Minister Joly says Canada believes in Haitian-led solutions to the political, security and humanitarian crises in Haiti. “I’d like to thank members of the Canadian Armed Forces for their dedication and support towards a successful deployment of the MSS mission, a critical step in restoring security, law and order and democracy in Haiti.  As we’ve said from the beginning, Canada 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.”

In October 2023, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution authorizing the deployment of an MSS mission to Haiti. Kenya volunteered to lead the mission to assist the Haitian National Police in stabilizing security conditions conducive to holding inclusive, free, and fair elections in Haiti. The Government of Jamaica agreed to take on the lead role for planning and pre-deployment efforts for the CARICOM contingent.

Canadian Armed Forces provide Combat First Aid training to Caribbean Community (CARICOM) for Operation HELIOS Jamaica on April 3, 2024. Photo Credit: Corporal Bélynda Casse Canadian Armed Forces. Images courtesy of CAF. Image courtesy of the CAF.  

One of Four CAF Hubs

The CAF’s Operational Support Hub in Kingston, Jamaica, is one of four hubs the CAF maintains around the globe in partner nations that provide logistical support to operations and ensure that CAF members and assets can be quickly brought into the region. The OSH in Jamaica was first activated in 2016.

The CAF is key to Canada’s initiative to provide assistance to the Government of Haiti. Security assistance is one of the four pillars of Canada’s response to the crisis in Haiti, which also includes diplomacy, sanctions, and humanitarian and development assistance.

The CAF also contributes to the Interdepartmental Task Force, led by Global Affairs Canada, which guides Canada’s support and contributions to Haitian-led efforts to resolve the current interrelated political, security and humanitarian crises.

For over 30 years, Canada has contributed to every UN peace mission to Haiti to support stabilization and reconstruction efforts. Contributions have included financial assistance and the deployment of members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as well as correctional officers.

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