vendredi 22 août 2014

Escaped Prisoners Feared To Be Among Detained Haitian Refugees

ROYAL Bahamas Defence Force officials have picked up more than 200 illegal Haitian migrants in two separate incidents that took place between Tuesday and Wednesday.
After the arrests, officials expressed concern that some of the immigrants might have been a part of the group of criminals who took part in a prison break in Haiti earlier this month.
According to officials, at 7:46 pm Tuesday, while on routine patrol, HMBS Arthur Dion Hanna apprehended 124 Haitians aboard a white 55-foot sailing sloop 26 miles west of Flamingo Cay, near Ragged Island.
The 100 men, 16 women, and eight children were taken into custody and subsequently taken to the Coral Harbour base where they were handed over to Immigration officials for further processing.
A little over 12 hours later, at 8am Wednesday morning, defence force marines stationed at the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park apprehended 100 Haitian nationals aboard a sailing sloop 10 miles southwest of Warderick Wells Cay. Officials believe even more immigrants were still in the area.
When The Tribune arrived at the Coral Harbour base yesterday afternoon, 80 of those migrants were on base before being turned over to Immigration officials for processing. At the same time, defence force officials had been sent to retrieve the remaining migrants.
While being handed over to immigration officials, one of the Haitian nationals, a lady, apparently fainted and had to be carried onto the bus by immigration officers. Her present condition is not known.
Up to press time, no final count of the immigrants picked up in the second exercise had been given.
While speaking with reporters, Senior Lieutenant Ricardo Barry said the Defence Force had “no confirmation” that some of the migrants might have been some of more than 300 prisoners who recently escaped from a prison just outside the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.
It is a big concern for us, and it’s something that we’re mindful of,” he said.
At this particular time the Royal Bahamas Defence Force is working in concert with Immigration and our medical team to ensure that persons coming into Coral Harbour are secure.”
The Tribune received reports that some of the migrants might have been “hostile”, however the officer said he had “nothing on record” about any resistance or hostility from the migrants. RBDF Commodore Roderick Bowe, in a press statement, issued his thanks to the Cuban Border Guard, the United States Coast Guard, the warden at the Exuma Land and Sea Park and the mail boat community “for their assistance” in the two apprehensions.

Haiti judge orders arrest of former president Aristide

Thursday, August 21, 2014 | 11:15 AM
PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti (CMC) – A judge who has issued an arrest warrant for former president Jean Bertrand Aristide says he expects the police to bring the former head of state before him by force if necessary.
Lawyers representing Aristide have filed a motion seeking to have investigating judge Lamarre Bélizaire removed on the grounds of bias.
But the judge told the Port au Prince based news website, Haitian-Caribbean News Network (HCNN) that he had not revoked the warrant in light of the motion filed the former president.
"I issued an arrest warrant for Mr Aristide and I don't know what takes the police so long to bring him before me, because they know where he is," Belizaire said, adding “I heard rumours that I had waived the arrest warrant.
“I want to say that it is absolutely false. The warrant still holds and I am still the judge in charge of the inquiry and nothing has changed in that regard," he said, that he would continue his work in conformity with existing laws, without any form of abuse.
"I don't have any particular problem with anybody. I am a judge and I am only doing what the law requires me to do and that is all I can say for now," Belizaire added.
Aristide and several of his former colleagues have been accused of embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars from the State through his organisation, Aristide for Democracy Foundation and other organisations during the period 2001-04.
Aristide, a former Roman Catholic priest, and his colleagues including Mirlande Liberus, Yvon Neptune, Jean Nesty Lucien and Gustave Faubert, have also been banned from leaving the country.
The Dean of Port Au Prince first instance court, Raymond Jean-Michel, confirmed Tuesday that he had received a copy of a motion seeking recusal and disqualification of Justice Bélizaire on the grounds of bias.
Aristide's lawyers said their client did not receive the summons which was sent to his residence, but the judge believed he deliberately chose not to appear. Aristide's lawyers argue that the judge is now obligated to stop all proceedings in the case regarding serious acts of corruption blamed on the former leader, but legal observers say 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.
Supporters of the former president have been gathering near his home in the Tabarre district, in a show of support for the former leader, who spent seven years in exile in South Africa before returning to the country in 2011.
Last week, a spokesman for Aristide's Lavalas Family party, Ansyto Felix, said efforts to prosecute the former leader were part of a plan by the Michel Martelly administration to persecute political opponents, on the eve of crucial elections and in the face of popular discontent, "The government of President Martelly and Prime Minister (Laurent) Lamothe is doing nothing to solve the problems and meet the needs of the population," he said.


By Samica Knight
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Summer break is winding down, and while some kids spent the last few months shopping and sleeping late, one group recently returned from a trip they will never forget.
The local teens traveled to Haiti on a mission to help change the lives of a group of orphans. The impoverished country is still working to rebuild after the deadly earthquake four years ago. While on their trip, there were constant reminders that these kids were far from home.
Riding in the back of a loud diesel work truck was far from the air-conditioned, seat-belted vehicles they're used to. Sweating and sitting on wobbling chairs, volunteers from the Houston non-profit Help For Haiti, Inc. were now in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
Their reasons for coming on the trip were all very different.
"My dad sent me here because he said I'm ungrateful," said 18-year-old volunteer Bria Adams.
She, like many others, had never traveled this far outside of their comfort zone and were unprepared for what they would face when they got to the third-world country.
"I didn't think it would be this bad. I didn't think it would be this hot," said teen volunteer Billis Gordan. "It smells like the outdoors, and I kind of smell a lot of dog poop and stuff. It feels muggy."
Not having electricity or technology was definitely not something they were used to.
"This is the first time I've been away from my phone," said teen volunteer Zarissa LeBlanc.
Perhaps one of the most difficult things for the teens was living without central A.C.
"My night was horrible because I didn't bring a fan. I couldn't feel air, I thought I was dying," said 18-year-old Bria Adams about battling her mosquito net at night. "I think I started crying. I was aggravated not getting any sleep."
Their mission was to set up a summer camp for about 70 children who call Haiti's Canaan Orphanage home.
"All of the kids have been rejected, some of them since birth. So they don't know the true meaning of love. They don't know what true love is," said Sister Gladys Mecklembourg with the Canaan Christian Community.
It didn't take long for the volunteers to bond with children on the playground and in the classroom.
"We're at an orphanage and the kids just want to be hugged, they want to be touched," said president of Help For Haiti, Inc. Johnny Jones. "They want to smile at you, and how can you not react to that?"
It was a tough adjustment for these Houston teens, but their mission to help change the orphanage ended up changing them.
"The thought of not having your parents, you know, and they can still smile and live another day, and I don't know how I would get through it," said an emotional LeBlanc.
"It makes you realize how much you should appreciate your parents," Adams said. "I would talk to my parents more. I don't really talk to them now that I'm older."
Just when they thought their goal was to bring happiness to a group of orphans, they left with a renewed happiness themselves.
"Just seeing what they go through and how they're still happy. Their happiness makes me happy," said Gordan in tears.
Map My News

Titans Cheerleader Finds Mission Trip to Haiti Rewarding

Titans cheerleader Ashley found her recent mission trip to Haiti rewarding after working to help underprivileged children.
By Danielle Bertiger
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Recently, our very own Ashley A. traveled to Haiti with the organization i’mME, whose mission is to empower orphans to find their true identity with the cultivation of families, orphan care, and stewardship.
More than 78 percent of Haitians live on less than $2 per day and 60 percent of Haitian children under 14 are orphans. The work that this organization does is incredible, as seen through our interview with Ashley about her journey.
What sparked your interest to go? I traveled to Kenya in 2007, which was my first encounter with third world poverty, and ever since that humbling and inspiring experience I have felt called to serve children in impoverished nations. I went to Kenya as a young woman forming her identity, and I returned to America forever changed.
After living in Africa’s largest slum for a month, my eyes were opened to true darkness and devastation, yet amidst this chaos and despair, I saw such joy, sincere faith and selflessness in the people I met. They were barely surviving and hardly owned a single material possession, yet were full of The Lord’s Spirit. Since then, I have felt an urgency to be among that kind of community once more, but for seven years I patiently waited upon the Lord to open that door again.
I was introduced to i’mME through Preserve the Light, a Christian organization for professional cheerleaders, because they had established a friendship with David Nelson, former wide receiver for the NY Jets. PTL offered an invitation to apply for a trip to Haiti as guests and volunteers of i’mME. I was overjoyed at the mere mention of this opportunity and quickly sent in my application!
What is your most treasured memory of the trip? My team and I arrived only a few days after the i’mME house had welcomed seven new children from a nearby orphanage that did not have the financial means to care for all the children. David, Patrick, and Lauren from i’mME, brought those who were the most severely malnourished into our home to provide emergency care. These children ranged from eight months to five years old and were on the verge of death due to illness and starvation. Since we lived with them, we nurtured and cared for them day and night as if they were our own.
One specific moment that will forever be in my heart was when we brought an orphan named Prosper to the i'mME house from the orphanage. I was overcome and in awe of God’s grace and abundant love. That entire ride home tears of joy relentlessly streamed down my face as I watched Prosper in the front seat filled with excitement and assurance knowing that he would now live; for the first time he felt safe and loved. The parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 became so real to me as I witnessed this child be found and brought home just as the son was found and welcomed home by his father with rejoicing and feasting.
It was such an honor to be a part of this beautiful moment as Christ gave new life to this child of His. I will forever hold in my heart the memories of seeing the children eat pizza for the first time, sing "Jesus loves me" before meals, dance to Michael Jackson in the evenings, hold their arms up to be held, or giggle when putting on some cool sunglasses and a new outfit. Although we cared for them tremendously, it was apparent they equally cared for us. I am forever grateful for the second family I gained that day.
Are you planning any future trips such as this? I now sponsor Robensley, a child who I fell in love with from the i’mME house in Haiti, so while I continue to support his growth, happiness, and health from Tennessee, I also hope to visit again within the year to hold him again. I am invested in those friendships and wish to remain involved with their mission. It is such a blessing to be a part of this family. I can testify that their presence in Haiti is creating significant transformation.
What is your advice for those wanting to go on mission trips?
Christ calls us to, “go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to all of creation,” (Mark 16:15). He doesn’t say you have to go to Kenya or Haiti, only that you must “go.” There is poverty near and far; people who are poor in spirit and/or poor financially exist in every place.
This is my advice.
(1) Pray and seek wisdom for the Lord to direct your steps.
(2) Research organizations or church groups before committing to join their team, so that you know if your vision aligns with theirs. Different groups have different approaches and you want to feel safe and at peace being in such an unfamiliar place.
(3) Prepare yourself to be comfortable being uncomfortable. I was covered in sweat, dirt, and tears the entire time. Vaccinate yourselves before going, pack appropriately in regards to clothing, medicines, and bug spray, familiarize yourselves with the customs and culture of your destination, and submit to your vulnerability. There’s beauty in giving it all up for His glory and immersing yourself to identify with those you are seeking out.
(4) Trust Him. He is all-knowing, all-present, and all-powerful. The Lord will guard and protect you on your travels.

Caribbean Export assists Haiti

THU, AUGUST 21, 2014 - 6:00 PM
THE CARIBBEAN EXPORT Development Agency (Caribbean Export) recently held a series of high level meetings in Haiti aimed at strengthening relations with the country and setting the agenda for the agency’s commitment to supporting Haiti’s buoyant private sector.
In a meeting with Haiti’s Minister of Trade and Industry Wilson Laleau, Caribbean Export’s executive director, Pamela Coke-Hamilton said “Haiti has a role to play in integrating the Caribbean in to the world economy and there is a need to drive production and the export capacity”.
The delegation of Caribbean Export also met with National Authorising Officer of the European Development Fund Jean-Edner Nelson who expressed his gratitude for Caribbean Export efforts to drive the amalgamation of Haitian people into the Caribbean.
The meetings in Haiti were part of a road show the agency is undertaking to raise awareness regarding the grants that have been awarding to firms across the region under the Direct Assistance Grant Scheme.
In Haiti, eleven firms have been awarded grants with a total value of some US$324 000 over the 9th and 10th EDF with five of those being awarded in the most recent call for proposals. The companies were Caribbean Craft; Délicious Fruits, SA; Gade, SA; Kenscoff Manufacturing, SA and Produits des Iles (PISA), SA. These firms represent the agro-processing, manufacturing and creative industries.
Caribbean Export said with an overall increase of 200 per cent of grant funding awarded to Haitian firms between the 9th and 10th EDF, the results are encouraging. However, given the location and size of Haiti, it noted that the opportunity for growth is immense and the country has the potential - and is poised to become - the exporting centre of the region.
The agency will be hosting their annual Caribbean Exporters Colloquium during Caribbean Export Week and it is hoped that there will be significant involvement from Haiti in the activities.
Caribbean Export opened an office in Haiti in 2012 to facilitate the bi-national programme between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Now with a full complement of staff, it is anticipated that the team will not only develop stronger trade relations between Haiti and the Dominican Republic but also with the rest of CARICOM. (PR/NB)

Art mission helps Haitians heal through creative arts

By Dianne Tennyson
Aug 22 2014 12:01 am
I had the privilege of participating in Project Haiti in May with the nonprofit ArtReach Foundation. As a registered art therapist, I helped facilitate a two-week program at the Ecole Mixtre des Sibert in Port-au-Prince to train teachers, their students and community leaders.
The ArtReach mission is to heal and aid the development of children who have experienced war, violence, or natural disaster through the expressive arts of music, drama and dance.
ArtReach is an established leader in the therapeutic use of creative arts, having now helped more than a million children with projects in Bosnia, Lebanon, Jordan and the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Art therapy is a creative, nonthreatening venue for children dealing with trauma. Children are not only less articulate verbally but are often afraid to express themselves, so the metaphors of art are a powerful, direct means to deal with the intense emotions of horror, loss, sadness, anger, and isolation. Increased self-awareness, decreased anxiety, energy and empowerment increase a child's self-worth and confidence and help reconcile emotional conflict. This improved well-being increases their chances for a successful, fulfilling life. Any age can benefit from art therapy.
I have been to Bosnia twice with ArtReach. Most everyone I worked with there saw a family member murdered or raped during the war. They experienced the unthinkable. And while these trips were intensely memorable, my recent trip to Haiti has affected my life much more deeply. My Haitian "students" made me consider what is important in life. Having nothing, they know how to have fun with nothing! I haven't turned on the TV since I've been home.
I was shocked at the living conditions I saw while riding to the school from the Port-au-Prince airport, and again at the contrast provided at the Sibert School where Shadrick St. Louis was headmaster. It is a safe haven of hibiscus blooms, fruit trees and vegetables, a luscious oasis of hope in this, the ruins of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere,
As a witness to the life-changing effects of art therapy for many years as a therapist, I was still amazed at the response of one adult participant who presented us with a model house he created out of salvaged cardboard, construction paper and glue after attending five days of our workshop.
He cut intricate windows, doors and rooms for his house and had written Imagination Healing Center over the front door with the ArtReach logo above. This was his dream for Haiti; a place where Haitians could heal through the power of their imagination. He was so inspired by our workshop, he had traveled 18 miles by three different "tap-tap" rides (motorcycles) to deliver his gift.
Our team wept, knowing how many days it took him to create this amazing evidence his life had been changed so profoundly. His dream now was not simply of food, water, or jobs, but for sharing with his struggling country the healing he had experienced through the arts.
Two of our adult participants had never drawn before, since Haitian's educate using only rote memorization. It was incredible to see the joy of these two discovering a creative way to express themselves, teach and heal.
Another participant was so inspired he arrived at 7 a.m. to stay with us more than 12 hours to share a poster showing Haiti after the earthquake, Haiti now with new hope, and a future Haiti with water, food, vegetation and happiness. He could barely contain his excitement at what he had learned! A withdrawn 4-year-old boy did not want to participate the first day. But by the third day, he had been transformed into an outgoing, vivacious child we all wanted to bring home.
Our group participants also created mandalas, experiencing the power of sacred circles and universal symbols used in the world's religions and cultures for refuge and healing through what Carl Jung called the language of our unconscious self. They also created and walked a large labyrinth designed for psychological centering and meditation.
Haitians desperately want the education ArtReach offers, tools with which to cope and rebuild a new and better life. Help us continue our mission by donating generously, or for more information, go to www.artreachfoundation.org. The public can help by sponsoring a child at the Sibert School for $1 a day through www.heartinhaiti.com. And for more information about the Vincent's private art therapy practice, or Dianne's art school, visit www.artconnects.us or contact Dianne Tennyson Vincent, MAT, ATR at 843-870-7236.
Dianne Tennyson of Mount Pleasant has degrees in nursing and art, and a master's degree in art education. She has served as an art therapist for "Expressions of Healing," a cancer support group with Roper Hospital. She has her own art school, Art Connects.

Massive Haitian Refugee Rescues off Bahamas

By George Backwell
Friday, August 22, 2014, 12:29 AM
Coast Guard crews and Royal Bahamian Defence Force (RBDF) rescued more than 400 Haitians illegally migrating in three separate at sea interdictions in the span of 11 days, informs the US Coast Guard.
Monday, an aircrew aboard a Coast Guard C-130 aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater located a 40-foot sail freighter riding low west of Ragged Island, Bahamas. Her Majesty’s Bahamian ShipArthur Dion Hanna arrived on scene the following day and safely disembarked 124 Haitian migrants and transported them to Coral Harbour Base for further processing. The vessel was grossly overloaded with 100 males, 16 females and eight children.
Thursday, the RBDF interdicted approximately 180 Haitian migrants aboard another dangerously overloaded sail freighter illegally migrating northwest of Great Exuma Island, Bahamas. There was no Coast Guard involvement in this case.
Earlier, crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Paul Clark interdicted and safely disembarked 101 Haitian migrants aboard an overloaded sail freighter before turning them over to the RBDF.
“I want to express my thanks and appreciation for the assistance received from the United States Coast Guard in providing critical information which culminated in the apprehension of the migrant vessel,” said Commodore Roderick Bowe, commander of the Royal Bahamian Defence Force.
Cronin added, “We will continue to diligently patrol the waters with our interagency partners to rescue and repatriate undocumented migrants who take to the sea. There is a controlled, safe, and legal means to enter the United States and we urge people to follow that process.”
In fiscal year 2014, the Coast Guard 7th District estimates that 4,921 Haitians, 3,216 Cubans and 539 Dominicans have attempted to illegally migrate via the sea. These numbers represent the total amount of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic.

A Haitian immigrant student who holds Temporary Protected Status doesn't qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Immigration officials consider individuals with TPS to be in the U.S. lawfully, and thus not eligible for DACA, the program President Obama created for undocumented youth
Friday, August 22, 2014, 2:00 AM
Q: I AM here with Temporary Protected Status. Should I apply for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals? I am a political science student at Hunter College, CUNY. In 2010 when a terrible earthquake hit in my birth country of Haiti, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services granted me TPS.
Name Withheld, New York
Because you already have legal status, you don’t qualify for DACA, the program President Obama created for undocumented youth. USCIS considers individuals with TPS to be here lawfully and thus not eligible for DACA. In some ways, TPS is a better status than DACA. TPS holders have an easier time getting travel permission. In any event, neither status provides a direct path to permanent residence.