Haiti gang leader ‘Jimmy Cherizier’ says ‘things will get worse’

The leader of one of Haiti’s prominent gangs, Jimmy Cherizier, commonly referred to as “Barbecue,” has expressed a willingness to initiate a ceasefire under certain conditions, including being included in peace negotiations.

In an interview with Sky News on Friday, March 29, Barbecue voiced his skepticism towards the negotiation efforts facilitated by the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM). He stated that he would consider lowering arms if the international community presented a comprehensive plan that allowed for open dialogue without imposing decisions on the gangs.

While acknowledging his respect for CARICOM, Barbecue criticized the negotiation process, labeling it as unrepresentative of the needs of ordinary citizens and a facade to perpetuate the control of corrupt politicians and oligarchs in Haiti.

Barbecue emphasized that the gangs operating in Haiti do not seek to harm civilians but rather aim to free them from corrupt leadership. He emphasized a belief in dialogue over violence, asserting that weapons should be used to liberate the country.

Contrary to reports of a temporary calm in Haiti preceding peace talks, Barbecue described it as merely a tactical pause. He warned of worsening conditions in the near future and stressed the need for strategic planning to advance their cause.

Meanwhile, President William Ruto of Kenya reaffirmed Kenya’s commitment to its mission in Haiti, despite concerns raised by some Kenyans. Following discussions with U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Ruto announced plans to deploy 1,000 National Police Service (NPS) officers to Haiti after upcoming elections.

However, this decision has sparked criticism within Kenya, with voices questioning the prioritization of international missions over domestic security concerns. Dr. Ekuru Aukot, leader of the Thirdway Alliance party, questioned the justification for deploying police officers abroad when Kenya faces significant security threats at home. He urged a careful consideration of national interests and the allocation of resources amidst ongoing challenges.