Help for Haitians
NINE OF THE HAITIANS who were stranded in Barbados have been given temporary housing at the Salvation Army’s Hostel at Reed Street, The City.
The other six have sought private accommodation.
The Haitians, all men, came to Barbados between November and December after being told that they could find jobs here; but they ran out of money and were evicted from the house they were renting.
Pastor David Durant of Restoration Ministries rescued them from the streets last Friday and publicly appealed for accommodation, food and money to get them back to Haiti.
He thanked the Salvation Army for taking in the men and also revealed that a citizen had turned up at his Brittons Hill church and offered $1 500 to help with the airfare.
“I am really hoping that the scam will be broken now it has been revealed,” a concerned Durant said about the Haitian scheme. “People don’t need to be placed in a position where they take up their savings and go and borrow money to put in the hands of people who promise them things that don’t exist. I am hoping that the Haitian government will do something to stamp this out so that the young people will not be victimised in this way. So at least that good will come out of this,” he said.
Also echoing similar sentiments was CARICOM Ambassador David Comissiong, who was at the hostel to greet the men and provide them with vital information about their unfortunate situation.
He told the Barbados Nation that unscrupulous people in Haiti were taking advantage of the new CARICOM regulations which removed the requirement of Haitians to have visas in order to travel to
“Once that took hold back in June/july, we have had a much greater number of Haitians coming to Barbados,” he said, while pointing out that immigration officials were obligated to put a six-month stamp in their passport when they arrived.
He said some Haitians were extending their stay and, as a result, their tickets became invalid.
“Compounding it is that there are unscrupulous people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic that are selling this idea to some unsuspecting Haitians that if they pay them money, and I understand it is somewhere between US$2 500 and
US$3 000, they can guarantee them both accommodation and a job in Barbados.
“So some of these poor unsuspecting people are duped and are coming here with the wrong idea. When they come here they realise that they are not legally entitled to work, that there are no jobs available in Barbados and that Barbados is a very expensive
He, too, thanked management at the Salvation Army for opening its doors to the Haitians.
Initially, the Haitians were fearful that they were facing deportation, but both Comissiong and Durant were able to allay their fears.
They, however, told them they must find money to return to Haiti or travel to another destination.
The men need a total of $9 000 to get back to Haiti.
REV. DR DAVID DURANT (facing, partly hidden) and CARICOM Ambassador David Comissiong (back, right) speaking with the Haitians at the Salvation Army’s headquarters.