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MD of Bonnyville Reeve in Haiti as Turmoil in Country Continues

Reeve Barry Kalinski of the Municipal District of Bonnyville (MD of Bonnyville Photo)

Barry Kalinski, Reeve of the Municipal District of Bonnyville, is currently stranded in Haiti, where civil unrest has intensified over the last week.

Kalinski embarked on a mission trip with the Mission of Grace orphanage on February 26, 2024.

Earlier this month, Haiti's government declared a state of emergency in response to a daring attack on the nation's largest prison in Port-au-Prince, and local police stations. The assault resulted in casualties among police and prison staff, allowing around 3,500 inmates to escape.

Jimmy "Barbecue" Cherizier, a prominent gang leader in Haiti, claimed responsibility for the attack and asserted that the jailbreak aimed to destabilize the Haitian government, as reported by international media outlets.

The unrest, primarily centred in the capital city of Port-au-Prince, led to the cancellation of all commercial flights, hindering Reeve Kalinski's ability to return home to Bonnyville.

Despite the challenges, M.D. Administration released a statement Thursday saying that they are maintaining regular communication with Reeve Kalinski, who assures them of his safety while expressing uncertainty regarding his return timeline.

In Reeve Kalinski's absence, Deputy Reeve Crick has temporarily assumed the duties of the Reeve following Section 152 of the Municipal Government Act.

Amid escalating violence in gang-infested Haiti, embassies of the United States, Germany, and the European Union have initiated the evacuation of their personnel. Canada's Embessay released a statement on Thursday, “In these difficult times, Canada’s embassy will continue to support Canadians who remain in the country, as well as Haiti and the Haitian people. Canada’s ambassador to Haiti will also remain in the country and continue to engage Haitian stakeholders and international partners toward the implementation of the political agreement. We will continue to support Haitian-led solutions to the political, security and humanitarian crises."

“The embassy of Canada in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, remains temporarily closed to the public. However, we continue to provide consular services to Canadians requiring assistance in Haiti. "During this period of uncertainty, our thoughts are with Reeve Kalinski for his safety and prompt return, as well as with the people of Haiti as they navigate through these turbulent times," MD of Bonnyville news release stated.


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