mercredi 20 août 2014

Haiti's Local Community To Benefit From Cruise Passengers - Pm Lamothe

Haiti's prime minister, Laurent Lamothe, announced that an agreement has been reached between the Haitian government and the Royal Caribbean Cruise lines to add two dollars on the fee paid by each tourist visiting the northern Labadie seaside resort to fund social projects benefiting the local community.
Lamothe said the additional fee will help fund social and economic projects in the benefit of the local population living in the Labadie (also Labadee) village, outside the Caribbean country's second largest city, Cap-Haitien, in the northern region.
Lamothe said he has met with Royal Caribbean's CEO, Adam Goldstein, and they have concluded that the company will pay US$12 per visitor instead of the US$10 paid so far. The agreement will take effect in March 2015.
"We will invest the money in improving the Village environment, in building schools and health centers for the Labadie village population," Lamothe told the Haitian-Caribbean News Network (HCNN).
"We want to make sure the local population can directly benefit from the big cruise ships they see coming to their village," explained Lamothe. About 600,000 cruise passengers visited the Labadie site in 2013.
The Haitian prime minister said he urged Royal Caribbean to also invite cruise passengers to visit a number of tourist sites in surrounding areas, such as the Sans Souci Palace at Milot, and the Citadelle, a UNESCO world heritage fortress built nearly two centuries ago, near Cap-Haitien.
Haitian authorities also announced a series of measures to increase security and set up or repair basic infrastructure in targeted areas to facilitate the excursion which will be offered to visitors.

Haiti Humanitarian needs overview

Priority Needs
1 Basic services, protection and durable solutions for IDPs
An estimated 104,000 people remain internally displaced in Haiti in 172 camps almost five years after the 2010 earthquake. Basic services in camps, including WASH and health, have declined faster than the pace of return or relocation of the displaced. As of June, 8,234 displaced families living in 46 camps are considered at risk of forced evictions (low and high risks). 56,506 people are living in 53 camps considered to be at particularly high risk of flooding. An estimated 17,099 households or 69,399 IDP individuals are not currently targeted by any return or relocation programs. Return, relocation or local integration solutions need to be intensified to prevent continued displacement in deteriorating living conditions and with acute protection needs.
2 Health and WASH related to the cholera epidemic
Despite a significant reduction in the incidence of cholera, Haiti continues to host the largest cholera epidemic in the western hemisphere. 6,406 suspected cases and 45 fatalities have been registered between January and June 2014. Estimates suggest that up to 15,000 cases may be registered by the end of 2014, against the originally envisaged number of cases (45,000). 20 communes in four departments have been identified as the worst affected areas.
3 Severe food and nutrition insecurity
2,6 million Haitians continue to be affected by food insecurity including 200,000 people facing severe food insecurity. Whilst the spring agricultural season may improve the situation in some areas, the early end of the rainy season and El Niño could further deteriorate food security conditions, particularly in the North. The prevalence of Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) amongst children under five stands at 6.5% whilst 10 communes in country have a GAM above the 10% emergency threshold with an estimated 100,000 children under five affected by Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAG).
4 High vulnerability and low resilience to natural hazards
Haiti ranks as one of the countries with the highest exposure and vulnerability to multiple hazards including hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, landslides and droughts. According to national authorities, 500,000 people could be affected this year not only by floods during the cyclone season but also by the effect of El Niño. 60 communes are the most vulnerable according to the national contingency plan.
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.

Former Haitian Leader Challenges Judge Conducting Criminal Inquiry

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Haiti’s former president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, has decided to challenge a judge conducting a criminal inquiry into acts of corruption, misappropriation of public funds and laundering of drug money blamed on his administration from 2001 to 2004.
The dean of the capital’s first instance court, Raymond Jean-Michel, confirmed on Tuesday that he has received, from Aristide’s lawyers, a copy of a motion seeking recusal and disqualification of Judge Lamarre Bélizaire on the grounds of bias.
However, law experts are divided on whether the challenged magistrate should refrain from further actions in the case, while the request for recusal is being studied by higher judicial authorities.
“I received on August 14, a copy of a request for recusal filed by former president Aristide against Judge Lamarre Belizaire,” Jean-Michel told the Haitian-Caribbean News Network (HCNN) on Tuesday.
“We’ll communicate the request to the judge for comment and further steps provided by law will be taken,” said Jean-Michel.
Last week, Belizaire issued an arrest warrant for Aristide, who failed to comply with a summons to appear before the magistrate. Aristide’s lawyers said the former president did not receive the summons, which was sent to his residence, but the judge believed he deliberately chose not to appear.
Aristide and over 30 of his current and former allies have been banned from leaving the country following accusations of embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars in public funds and laundering drug money.
Aristide’s lawyers claim the judge is now obligated to stop all proceedings in the case regarding serious acts of corruption blamed on the former leader, but other lawyers argue that the arrest warrant against Aristide is still valid and that the judge may proceed with the criminal inquiry while relevant judicial authorities examine the request for recusal. The inquiry into Aristide’s administration was initiated in 2005.
Following the issue of the arrest warrant on August 13, several hundred militants gathered outsideAristide’s residence in the Tabarre district in a show of support for the former leader.
They burned tires and erected barricades, blocking the main street leading to Aristide’s home and to the nearby US embassy in Haiti. “We are here to support president Aristide, the population’s leader, and if they want to arrest him, they should arrest all of us,” a 36-year-old protester, Marie Jocelyne Charles, told HCNN.
Last week, pro-Aristide protesters also attacked a UN vehicle, prompting two UN staff to flee for their lives. UN soldiers, in armoured vehicles, were immediately deployed in the area to restore order.

First-Look At Raoul Peck's Haiti-Set Mystery Loosely-Based On Pier Paolo Pasolini's 'Teorema'

Set to make its world premiere at the 39th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) next month is Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck's latest work, titled "Murder in Pacot," which we first alerted you to in May, when it was wrapping up principal photography.
The feature film is loosely inspired by Italian director, Pier Paolo Pasolini's 1968 drama/mystery "Teorema," which starred Terence Stamp as a mysterious stranger who injects himself into the home of a wealthy Italian family, and seduces everyone in it, including the maid, which leads to each of them reaching some unique epiphany, leaving viewers (and the characters in the film) wondering who this enigmatic, nameless visitor is: Christ, or the Devil?
Director Pasolini adapted the screenplay of "Teorema" from his own novel.
Peck's "Murder In Pacot" will be set in a plush neighborhood in Port-au-Prince, Haïti, and will tell the story of an upper middle class couple struggling to rebuild their lives amid the rubbles of their luxurious home, which is now in ruins, after the earthquake, in 2010. In desperate need money, the two intellectuals decide to rent the still-standing part of their mansion to a high-level foreign relief worker of unspecified nationality. The man brings with him a beautiful 17 year old Haitian girl from a modest background, whose malevolence will eventually reveal itself.
Alex Descas and Nigerian-German singer Ayo star as the couple; Thibault Vinçon is the high-level foreign relief worker; and newcomer Haitian actress Lovely Kermonde, is the young girl.
"Murder in Pacot" was written by famous novelist Lyonel Trouillot, Pascal Bonitzer and Raoul Peck.
The film is co-produced by ARTE, the World cinema Fund (France) and the European ACP.

It was shot in what was described as an exceptional location in Haiti: a three level Villa in a neighborhood already totally rebuilt; "A neighborhood I drove through everyday while shooting my documentary “Fatal Assistance,” is today hardly recognizable, and is the location of one of the most styled and selective Haitian hotels," said Peck. That hotel being The Inn at Villa Bambou.
"Murder in Pacot" is a TIFF Masters selection for this year's installment of the festival, one of the top movie showcases and a favored platform to unveil Oscar contenders, which will run from September 4-14.
Needless to say, I'm most certainly intrigued, and I'm looking forward to what Monsieur Peck has been cooking up for us next!
No trailer yet, but within this post you'll find first official still images from the upcoming film.

Little Haiti Country Club Brings Community to Growing Art Scene, Won't Last Forever

By Kat Bein Tue., Aug. 19 2014 at 1:30 PM
The door of the Little Haiti Country Club bears the Club's
 logo. It is free to be enjoyed by the public, but will close
Friday,  Aug. 22. All photos provided by Sarah Moody

If these walls could talk, they'd have one strange story to tell.
It's a story of poppin' bottles, and a story about saving souls. It's a story about music, and creativity, and at the heart of the tale, it's a story of community.
That's the vibe the Little Haiti Country Club goes for, located just off NE Second Ave. between 83rd Street and 82nd Terrace. It's a place that feels ever in transition, its future strangely unknown and exciting. But whatever it is right now, it all comes to an end Friday, Aug. 22.
The old building, now the home of a motley crew of 30 local artists, used to be a club called Chateau; more recognizably, it was a church. Art in every form imaginable is proudly displayed in the three great rooms, in the old offices and daycares, and on the altar. Sometimes bands come through to practice or perform, and the artists like to think the walls appreciate their presence.
"Everything was here and we didn't really change anything. We kind of fell in love with it in a lot of ways," says Sarah Moody, one of four producers of the Little Haiti Country Club exhibit. "Really it all happened really comfortably, and beautifully, and organically. Once Tara (Long) and I were given keys to this space, we made sure we burned sage and incense every single day. We're making sure that the vibes are right in here. We have done that from pretty much the first time we walked in."
(Left) Douglas Hoekzema's "Sixty60Seconds" uses
a controlled pendulum and white paint to create visual
representations of one minute 60 times, representing
an hour in total. (Right) Michael Vasquez represents
a space in trasition with enlarged photographs
of a construction site and found objects.
The LHCC is a first and foremost a group effort. Alex Saa, a mutual landlord of many of the artists involved, mentioned to participant and long-time Little Haiti resident Bhakti Baxter an intention to create a large exhibit focused on Little Haiti artists. The name and logo of the LHCC was already being kicked around jokingly for a while at Baxter's studio.
The guys talked to Moody, Long, and her associates, about creating a grand month-long exhibit featuring artists working and living in Little Haiti, and they loved the idea.
"I really like curating shows," Moody says. "I like making shows happen. I like bringing people together. I call myself a connector of sorts. I like to make sure that we get the right things and people here that should be."
With the idea, producers, and a long list of artists young and old in mind, the last thing they needed was a space. Just in the knick of time, the old church "serendipitously" fell into their hands. They worked for about a week putting it all together, all the artists moving in their work - some painting, or sculptures, or rooms covered with zines - and everyone fell into the vibe rather nicely.

Haitian children's choir promises moving night in Chesterfield

CHESTERFIELD — Pastor Scott Masters of the Asbury United Methodist Church didn’t have a direct connection with Haiti before the January 2010 earthquake.
He knew of its poverty and Haiti’s designation as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. But it wasn’t until after the earthquake, when the small church in Chesterfield began doing what it could to raise money and awareness for its victims, that Masters became more intimately involved.
“For us it meant (helping provide) hygiene, cleanup kits, things like that,” Masters said. “Through that, we discovered the Haitian choir.”
Although Masters has never been to Haiti, for the third straight year a taste of Haitian culture will touch the Monadnock Region. On Wednesday, Grace Community Evangelical Free Church in Spofford will host the Hope Haitian Choir at 6:30 p.m.
The two churches forged a partnership for the concerts two years ago, as Grace Church features the larger sanctuary.
Admission is free though donations will be accepted. All proceeds will go to missionary work in Haiti, Masters said.
The choir, which consists of 16 children ages 7 to 15, is nearing the end of its month-long, 24-concert tour in the Northeast. A majority of concerts are held in Maine, with a sprinkling in New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts. It will finish up with a brief visit to New York and New Jersey.
The choir is the brainchild of Chuck and Barb House of Boothbay, Maine, who coordinate everything from auditioning the singers in Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince to obtaining visas, immunizations and plane tickets. The couple began missionary work in Haiti after adopting a baby son from the Central Plateau region in 1990.
“They are amazing, dedicated people,” said Masters, who attended Keene State College and graduated from Franklin Pierce University.
Barb House is a music teacher and performer; she directs the choir and has written some of the songs it performs. They audition different singers every year in Haiti for the trip to the U.S. Meanwhile, Chuck takes care of many of the logistics. Bringing 16 Haitian children to the U.S. is no small challenge.
Since its inception in 2012, every year the choir has tried to raise money for projects in Haiti. This year is an ambitious one — the couple is trying to build a church and school in Lamarre, an impoverished village that’s the hometown of their adopted son.
Masters said he was awestruck by the talent of the singers the first time he heard them. In addition to singing, the children share stories of what it’s like living in Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake and how it affected their lives.
“These children have touched our hearts and continue to remind us of something powerful,” said Masters, who has two children of his own. “If these children can find hope in such hardship, we most certainly should be able to find it in ours. … We were so deeply moved by these moments, we devote our year to education and mission. They change us.”
The children stay with host families in the U.S., and Masters says his family has hosted in the past although they are not this year. The children sing almost every night — tonight they are in Pepperell, Mass., and Thursday they will move on to Salem, Mass.
The tour wraps up next week, and they will return to Haiti Aug. 28.
“Anyone who attends will find it a very moving experience,” Masters said. “We’re a small church and the conditions in Haiti are incredibly hard. (The concert) puts a face on the missions we’re trying to help. It really is an amazing night.”