Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell said yesterday The Bahamas removed its diplomatic staff from Haiti, following the recent kidnapping of 16 Americans and one Canadian.
The individuals were kidnapped by Haitian gang members in late October and were held for $1 million in ransoms.
“What happened was the kidnapping of the, I think it was American citizens and others…the situation did not seem to be very stable, even though the people who are there — because we have a defense force team and we also have a diplomatic team— felt that they were safe and secure. Out of an abundance of caution, we felt it was necessary to have them withdraw,” Mitchell told reporters when asked about the withdrawal of diplomatic personnel from the country.
He said Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) personnel are still in Haiti.
Mitchell said the situation is “touch and go” and the government continues to monitor it.
“We’re not like other large countries where you can just send helicopters there with a force and just airlift people out,” he added.
“You have to be sensible and look out for the security of people. Generally speaking, notwithstanding what happens in day-to-day political life of Haiti, Petion-Ville is quite safe.
“But, as I said, I just felt that out of an abundance of caution, it was necessary to bring the diplomats home and then we will make a decision about the RBDF.”
On October 29, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised that The Bahamas’ embassy in Haiti had been closed.
It said the decision was the result of the “deteriorating security situation on the island”.