So this is what I found out after a little bit of hunting for stories. I wanted to know what the impact of all of those escaped prisoners in Haiti had, and from what I have found out, it ain’t pretty. These guys are trying to organize gangs in the slums, they are raping women in the relief camps, they are getting back to the business of selling drugs and organizing, and the Haitian police and security forces are still overwhelmed.
Worse yet, the UN is doing a terrible job of coordinating the relief and security efforts, and all those US and International military teams are leaving in the near future. These criminals are still loose and just counting the days until the good guys leave so they can really ‘go to town’ with their criminal ventures. The Haitian authorities have tried to get the local populations to turn in these criminals, but because there are so many, it is still a huge issue. Even the Dominican Republic is getting worried about all these folks, and beefing up security efforts to stop them at the borders.
My thoughts on the whole deal is that private security coupled with the local national security they will hire, could totally help in securing the populations as these military units leave. They can also help buy some time as law enforcement continues the hunt for these criminals. And we are not talking about a couple criminals here and there. We are talking about 5,000 to 7,000 escaped criminals, with a good percentage who are violent criminals. These guys are free, and they will do all they can to take advantage of a country that is in disarray. And guess what, they are!
Here is another issue that really irks me. These reporters who keep ignoring these facts, and continue to slam my industry as being disaster capitalists, are only helping out these criminals. I have a news flash for you folks, criminals like the idea of ‘less security’ and not ‘more security’. They also like ‘unorganized security’, as opposed to ‘organized security’. My industry will provide that organized security, because that is what we do for a profession. There is nothing dishonorable or unethical about what we do, and in my view that service has value. If these folks don’t want to recognize that value, then they will continue to see a population at risk in Haiti. There will continue to be more rapes, more murders, and more gang/drug related problems during the rebuild of that country.
My industry is also more adept at working with local national security and getting the job done based on the contract than the UN. I would suggest that companies like ITG/Steele Foundation, could do a better job of organizing the security effort there than the UN, any day. Just look at what the UN has done in places like the Congo, and tell me they are the best organization for the job in Haiti? Or better yet, how do you fire the UN if they do a poor job in Haiti? At least with private industry, you can actually fire poor performing companies.
One more thing. It looks like escaped prisoners are one of the main culprits of looting and crime after that earthquake in Chile. Anyone else seeing a pattern here? After these quakes, disaster response should include security forces tasked specifically to contain the prisons and recapture these criminals. Especially if the criminals are violent and criminally insane (which is the case with Haiti). They are a threat to crippled society and to the relief effort, and to not respond to that during the initial attack and extended attack is pure negligence in my opinion. We must call upon every resource we can to stop that, to include using private industry, and to not do that is just stupid and irresponsible in my book. But don’t take my word for it, just read all the reports that I have collected for your reading pleasure below. –Matt
P.S. – I posted five stories below, if you are interested in reading the entire update.
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR
March 2, 2010
UNITED NATIONS — Humanitarian efforts by the United Nations in Haiti have lacked sufficient coordination with local organizations in delivering aid and establishing security, according to an independent assessment released on Tuesday.
One consequence was a surge in the sexual abuse of women and girls living in camps for the displaced, with some young girls trading sex for shelter, said Emilie Parry, an aid consultant who helped write the evaluation of the United Nations’ effort for Refugees International, a nonprofit organization that advocates on behalf of refugees.
“Women reported to us that there has been a lot of violence and sexual abuse at nighttime,” Ms. Parry said, noting that there is no system of nighttime patrols in the makeshift camps where many displaced people have been living.
“By all accounts, the leadership of the humanitarian country team is ineffectual,” said the report, based on 10 days of evaluations in February. The report, titled “Haiti: From the Ground Up,” also acknowledged that the scale of the disaster made the response a singular challenge.
Closer work with Haitian organizations, as well as better knowledge about conditions, would also enhance the ability of local groups to deal with problems long after the international groups left, Ms. Parry said.
The report suggests a number of ways to improve the delivery of aid, including allowing more participation by Haitian organizations whose leaders are now living among as many as several million displaced earthquake victims.
While the United Nations does not actively discriminate against such groups, it effectively bars them through a lack of advertising and the system of passes that are needed to attend meetings, Ms. Parry said. Appointing liaison officers dedicated to such groups would help, the report suggests.
It also recommended that the United Nations appoint one person responsible for leading the team distributing humanitarian aid in the country, rather than have the responsibility be among many tasks taken on by senior management.