Delays Plague International Police Force in Haiti

Citing logistical issues, an advance team of Kenyan peacekeepers packed up and left Haiti, leaving the troubled island nation in the hands of armed gangs.

A senior Kenyan official who declined to be named as they are not the official spokesperson said the bases are still under construction and crucial resources including vehicles are needed before deployment of the first 200 police officers from Kenya can take place. The deployment was due to start this week, but President William Ruto said it would be delayed for three weeks.

U.S President Joe Biden on Thursday expressed deep appreciation to Ruto, who was on a state visit, for the deployment to help quell gang violence in Haiti.

The United States has agreed to contribute $300 million to a multinational force that will include 1,000 Kenyan police officers and others drawn from Jamaica, the Bahamas, Antigua and Barbuda and other countries.

Situation in Haiti

It is hard to believe, but Haiti was once one of the world’s richest countries. But all this wealth went offshore. From about 1700 to 1800, French-owned and slave-operated sugar plantations, in what was then called Saint-Domingue, made their owners fabulously wealthy. The French exploited native islanders and imported slaves in many other ways as well.

A group of slaves led by former slave and former French General Toussaint Louverture used the French Revolution to cover their own independence movement. Louverture’s successor, Jean-Jacques Dessalines (later Emperor Jacques I), declared Haiti’s sovereignty on New Years Day 1804, after which Haitian forces massacred most remaining Frenchmen. 

Haiti became the first independent nation in the Caribbean, the second republic in the Americas, the first country in the Americas to officially abolish slavery, and the only country in history established by a slave revolt.

The salad days ended quickly, and it has been mostly downhill for Haiti ever since. The first century of independence was characterized by political instability, international isolation, crippling debt payments to France, and a costly war with neighboring Dominican Republic. 

This political volatility and foreign economic influence prompted a twenty-year U.S. occupation (1915 to 1934). Rather understandably, the Norteamericanos are not very popular in Haiti today. Making matters worse, the Americans propped up a dictatorship under the Duvalier family (1957–1986), which brought state-sanctioned violence, corruption, and economic stagnation, because the Duvaliers were anti-Communist. 

Following a coup d’état in 2004, the United Nations intervened to stabilize the country. Things were finally looking up until 2010, when Haiti suffered a catastrophic earthquake, which was followed by a deadly cholera outbreak. The toibled country lapsed into a socioeconomic and political crisis marked by riots and protests, widespread hunger, and increasing gang activity. 

Many are hopeful that a new provisional government, helmed by the Transitional Presidential Council, can stop the bleeding. The TPC claims it will organize elections and ride off into the sunset by 2026. Typically, however, when unelected people obtain political power, they do not willingly surrender it.

Contractors in Haiti

United States forces are unwelcome in Haiti and the international police force plan is in shambles. So, the burden mostly falls on private military contractors in three key areas.

Provide Security

When tough gangs roam the streets, an even tougher group of men and women must reclaim these streets. Private military contractors provide the necessary determination and muscle.

Double Deuce bouncer James Dalton (Patrick Swayze) famously said that security personnel should be nice until it is time not to be nice. That is an apt summary of a security contractor’s job in a place like Haiti.

Security is largely preventative. Fences keep people out and cameras force them into hiding. Personal security is much the same. An intimidating group of contractors stationed at a corner is usually enough to keep a market quiet.

If push comes to shove, security contractors are very well-equipped and, if necessary, can ask for heavy fire support. Contractors don’t win all their pitched fights, but they do win most of them.

Distribute Aid Relief

A sack of flour is more valuable than a sack of coins in Haiti, at least to most people. Money is practically worthless in a high-inflation and insecure environment. Even if you get to the market in one piece, your money will not go very far.

Contractors help ensure that aid relief arrives at its intended destination and does not end up in the hands of armed gang members or other malefactors. Haiti’s train-wreck infrastructure system comes into play as well. Someone needs to safely get these supplies from Point A to Point B.

Furthermore, when aid supplies arrive at their destinations in a timely fashion, as protected by contractors, people believe their government cares about them, making them less likely to associate with rebellious and violent gangs.


Rebuilding infrastructure usually begins with large projects, like bridges, hospitals, power plants, and schools. Most displaced people will not return home until such basic services are in place.

Contractors generally supervise these construction projects. Someone else, usually a group of engineers in the United States, draws up the blueprints. Local Haitians do most of the work, so they have some money in their pockets and so the community feels invested in the project. Both these things reduce the likelihood of sabotage and other such acts.

A few contractors also provide security at construction projects, a point that takes us back to the beginning of this section.

Injury Compensation Available

The lost wage replacement benefit, perhaps the most important Defense Base Act benefit for injured contractors, is based on the average weekly wage. To calculate the AWW, a Defense Base Act lawyer must include:

  • Lost Current Income: The last six or eight paychecks might not adequately reflect an injured contractor’s current income. Pay raises are common. Job changes are common as well, and a truck driver in Haiti makes a lot more money than a truck driver in Houston.
  • Lost Future Income: This category usually includes additional income opportunities, like prorated signing bonus payments, missed performance bonuses, and lost overtime opportunities, that a deployment-based injury or disease causes an injured contractor to miss.
  • Non-Cash Income: Most paychecks include 401(k) matching contributions and other non-cash income. They also include expense reimbursements and per diem allowances. Injured contractors deserve compensation for all these losses.

Usually, the Defense Base Act replaces two-thirds of a victim’s lost wages for the duration of a deployment-related temporary or permanent disability.

For more information about DBA medical bill payment benefits, contact Barnett, Lerner, Karsen, Frankel & Castro, P.A.