A custom sign stands outside Christian Aid Ministries in Titanyen, north of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday. A gang kidnapped 17 members of the U.S.-based missionary group on Oct. 16. (AP Photo/Joseph Odelyn)
By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
FOREIGN Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell spoke on the safety of the Bahamian diplomats in Haiti after international media reported the kidnapping of American and Canadian missionaries in that country.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had previously announced that diplomatic staff posted to the Embassy of The Bahamas in Haiti returned to Haiti on Sunday, October 10, and have resumed normal operations.
Mr Mitchell said: “Well right now as I understand it, it’s not permitted to travel to Haiti back and forth, although the unlawful irregular migrants don’t seem to let that worry them, but there’s been no change in the travel advisory (banning travel).
“The problem is that there are Bahamians who’ve been stuck in Haiti since February and they need to come home and I think we have to actively work on trying to change that to go back to the status quo.
“In terms of the embassy, the embassy is open again. The latest information I have, we had a team from the Defence Force go in advance to see the security situation, it appears to be okay, but it’s watched all the time and we’ll do everything we can to ensure that they’re safe and if there’s any problem we’ll pull them out.”
16 American citizens and one Canadian were kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday.
Mr Mitchell also spoke on diplomatic appointments.
He said: “We’ve got a sign off over the last week because you know the prime minister has to do that under article 112. So first we’ve got to have... agreement from the other side for the people we nominate. Once that’s done, we’ll make the announcement but should be shortly, within a month if not weeks.”
Asked if the diplomatic appointments will be new or familiar faces, he noted it will “be a mix of both”.