By Joe Colas
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (HCNN) -- Haitian authorities said on Wednesday the security situation has significantly improved in Haiti, but acknowledged that a lot remains to be done in order to provide the Caribbean country's police with the means they need to fully accomplish their mission.
Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe
Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe and police chief Godson Orelus said Haiti is safer today than it has been in past years, because of a series of efforts made by the country's leadership to reinforce, better train and equip the more than 10,000 officers who make up the Haitian National Police (HNP).
"The country is much safer today even though we continue to face significant challenges in terms of funding we need to provide more adequate means to the police," Lamothe told HCNN on Wednesday.
"It is obvious that we have more security today. For instance, we registered only two kidnappings for the month of July. Compared to what was happening before, this is a record," Lamothe explained.
"But we want zero kidnapping and we want to make sure all criminals are where they belong, which is jail," he said
Lamothe, who is also chairman of the High Council of the Haitian National Police, said the government is working at increasing the number of police officers available. He said many policemen did not have a gun or had one that was not fit for their mission.
"We have provided the police with more adequate weapons and other logistical means to help them better face the armed criminals," Lamothe said.
"We have improved intelligence and increased training for them," stated the top government official, explaining that the police need many more means to fully carry out their mission.
The Haitian government has been promoting Haiti as a tourist destination and a good place for investors to do business.
"Security is very important for us because the Haitian people deserve to live in a safe environment," Lamothe said.
"But also, if we say Haiti is open for business and if we are inviting tourists to visit the country, security is a prerequisite," stated Lamothe.
Haiti's police chief, Godson Orelus, said the improvement in the overall security situation is due to regular operations conducted by different police units to dismantle gangs and prevent criminal activities.
"We have dismantled most of the gangs and arrested many of their members and their leaders," Orelus told HCNN.
"One of the important factors in the successes of police operations is the cooperation of the population, who now have more confidence in the work we are doing to protect them from bandits," said Orelus.
Government authorities plan to increase the number of police officers to some 15,000 within the next couple of years, compared to about 10,000 now