Help for Haitians

UK Barbados Nation - - NEWS - na­tion­ By Maria Brad­shaw mariabrad­[email protected]

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

CARICOM coun­tries.

“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

Caribbean des­ti­na­tion.”

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.

(Pic­tures by Christoff Grif­fith.)

REV. DR DAVID DU­RANT (fac­ing, partly hid­den) and CARICOM Am­bas­sador David Comis­siong (back, right) speak­ing with the Haitians at the Sal­va­tion Army’s head­quar­ters.

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