US commander heads to Haiti

February 8, 2013
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Published: Friday | February 8, 2013 Jamaica Gleaner


Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer

A HIGH-LEVEL American who has responsibility for military matters in the Western Hemisphere is headed for Haiti to get a glimpse of the earthquake-rocked country.

General John Kelly, commander of the US Southern Command with responsibility for the 45 countries in the Western Hemisphere, including Central and Latin America as well as the Caribbean, has expressed sorrow for Haiti’s predicament and promised to do all in his power to assist the impoverished country.

Kelly lamented that there are indications that hope is fast disappearing in a country that has over the years seemed to have been bedevilled with more than its share of tribulations, including the range of natural disasters.

His comments came as one of a reported 25 small vessels that left Haiti last week landed on Jamaican shores.

Kelly, who visited Jamaica last Wednesday, left on Thursday for Haiti.

“The Haitians have fallen on some very troubled times with the earthquake as well as some other issues. I will be meeting with Haitians officials, police and some of the non-governmental organisations that are providing support,” Kelly told The Gleaner.

Tough times

“Haiti has fallen on some pretty tough times and anything we can do to help those poor people is the right thing,” asserted Kelly.

He added: “I think that it is not only poverty, or a lack of jobs and to certain degree, a lack of food, but it just doesn’t seem to be any hope there, said Kerry. “I don’t know what I can do personally but I think by going there and getting a sense of what’s on the ground, I will appreciate the problem a little bit more.”

A 7.0-magnitude earthquake shook Haiti in January 2010 killing an estimated 222,570 people and creating major infrastructure and social challenges for the already impoverished country.

General John Kelly, commander of the United States (US) Southern Command, was in the island yesterday and met with The Gleaner’s Gary Spaulding for an exclusive interview at the residence of US Ambassador Pamela Bridgewater. Pick up your Sunday Gleaner this weekend for Kelly’s views on corruption, drug trafficking, Jamaica’s military and the island’s neighbour, Haiti.

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