The U.S. State Dept. is ramping up efforts to bolster the capabilities of the Haitian National Police (HNP), which is preparing for national elections in December while contending with continuing violence and domestic turbulence.
Narco News Bulletin

State’s Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), which in May 2004 restarted its Police Advisory Group (PAG) in Haiti, intends to deploy a program director/senior advisor to the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince to coordinate the group’s activities. The facilitation of weapons sales from the U.S. to the government of Haiti will be among the many responsibilities of the new advisor, according to a personal services contracting-document that the State Dept. on Friday uploaded to the federal Electronic Posting System database.

The document acknowledged that the advisor’s role as weapons-purchase facilitator “is a very controversial and delicate area as Haiti is subject to a U.S. weapons embargo, and these purchases require a waiver of the embargo and Congressional approval.” Consequently, the advisor must ensure that U.S. Mission officials and senior INL managers “are kept apprised of the status of such requests.” He or she also will be required to regularly brief congressional staff, while providing “expert commentary on law enforcement weapons and non-lethal equipment requirements and utilization.” Providing short-term security as Haiti gets ready for its long-delayed election day, and perpetuating that stability into the future, “remains the dominant U.S. and [United Nations] policy goal in Haiti,” the document points out. From the standpoint of recent Haitian history, it claims that:

The situation in Haiti changed dramatically in February 2004 with growing levels of violence leading to the departure of the Haitian President and a change in the Haitian government. While the US and others provided a near-term military presence, the United Nations committed to the long-term deployment of a military and police stabilization force to assist Haiti’s reestablishment of security throughout the country. Hence, the priority of Haitian National Police support programs will remain crucial to the success of US policy goals to and beyond national elections...”
The selected candidate will be responsible for supervising the PAG, which consists of up to six contract criminal justice experts. Serving simultaneously as senior advisor, the incumbent will report to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Latin America Programs regarding programs whose stated goal is to improve security in Haiti. He or she will be the primary U.S. liaison with the HNP director general and the U.N. Civilian Police Commissioner.

In the absence of a permanently assigned Narcotics Affairs Section at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, the program director also will serve as the narcotics/crime advisor to the American Mission chief. Additionally, this slot involves the provision of regional law-enforcement expertise to the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic. It will serve as “a catalyst and conduit for information exchanges on global drug control issues, and on strategic efforts in the areas of law enforcement and judicial and criminal justice system reform,” according to the document.

INL-funds dedicated to the PAG program topped $9.5 million in fiscal year 2004, then rose to $14.3 million in FY-2005. The incumbent, who will earn between $72,622 and $107,017 annually, will have oversight of those funds. The amount slated for PAG is separate from U.S.-supported HNP assistance programs, which totaled $24 million for FYs 2004 and 2005.

Those initiatives, for which the program director likewise will be responsible for implementing, have involved and will continue to involve “significant expansion of the size of the HNP, basic and in-service training programs, infrastructure improvements, and vehicle and equipment procurement components,” the contract document says.

The incumbent will provide “professional advice and assistance in the development and acquisition of weapons, ammunition and non-lethal law enforcement equipment for the HNP,” it continues. “Based on extensive internal and external research, [he or she] determines [the] best procurement strategy, ensuring that the Bureau’s funds dedicated to these projects are managed in the most efficient and effective manner.”