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We Are The Caribbean

Welcome Haiti’s New Prime Minister

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After receiving his blessing from the President of the Republic, Jovenel Moïse, the new Prime Minister, Joseph Jouthe, officially took office, during a ceremony held at the National Palace.

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After receiving his blessing from the President of the Republic, Jovenel Moïse, the new Prime Minister, Joseph Jouthe, officially took office, during a ceremony held at the National Palace. Jouthe is the fifth Prime Minister chosen by Moïse. He has taken the full measure of the current crisis in the country stating, “The situation is serious. We are living today in a precarious socio-economic situation which could lead at any time to a humanitarian disaster. Our country is dying.” In his speech on the occasion, Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe also called for a truce.

“Leave the country in peace,” he says. “The political leaders are all my friends. Give me a truce, I don’t want any more disorder in the country. Whether moderate or radical opposition, they are all my friends. I will not betray my friends but leave me in peace.” He presented the three axes around which his government action will be articulated:

[vc_message icon_fontawesome=”fas fa-check”]The restoration of the security climate[/vc_message][vc_message icon_fontawesome=”fas fa-check”]The reduction of social inequalities[/vc_message][vc_message icon_fontawesome=”fas fa-check”]The revival of the economy[/vc_message]

With regard to the first axis, Joseph Jouthe promised to continue, maintain and strengthen the fight against insecurity which, according to him, was initiated by the outgoing Prime Minister. In this sense, he promised to accompany the police. “The PNH is a special force that deserves special treatment,” he said.

Regarding the reduction of social inequalities, Joseph Jouthe announced that his government will help the most vulnerable with concrete measures. While promising to fight against corruption and smuggling, he claims to be able to bet on four strategic institutions: the Directorate General of Taxes (DGI), Customs, the National Police of Haiti (PNH) and the armed forces of Haiti ( FAD’H) to boost the recovery of the economy.

The President of the Republic sees this new government as a major positive change in the governance of the country. Developing a budget is its primary requirement for this new government. “We have to work with financial partners, especially the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to have a new budget. It is by this budget that we will judge your government,” he said.  The last national budget has not been made for 2 years.

The United States, which has positioned itself as an unconditional ally of President Jovenel Moïse, has supported the government. “The United States is ready to work with the new government of Haiti and its Prime Minister,” said the American embassy in a tweet. “The United States urges the Haitian government to respond to the needs of the Haitian population by urgently addressing questions related to public security, the revival of economic growth and the organization of free, fair and credible legislative elections as soon as it is technically possible to.”

We hope that the addition of the new Prime Minister will be the light at the end of the tunnel that we all have been praying for.

New Developments in Medicine for Haiti

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Whether it is to exchange ideas, to think, create or to innovate, Banj is Port-au-Prince’s unrivaled networking spot and workplace. With the work of several Haitian developers, Radiokam was one of the two first startups to join the Accelerator program in Banj, in May 2019. The server continues to modernize the technology sector in Haiti, particularly the world of medical imaging. Dr. Djinaud Prophète, project initiator along with Marc Alain Boucicault, Banj founder, officially launched Radiokam, a platform which will allow clinics to access quality interpretation of medical tests online. As a business-to-business platform, clinics and hospitals registered at Radiokam will send their exams that will be analyzed by certified radiologists. Haiti has an estimated 40 radiologists for 12 million people. This platform will help mostly for hospitals in remote areas that have no access to radiologists at all.

If you visit a hospital in Haiti, the first thing you see is people waiting outside. Many of those having traveled for miles on foot and some even had slept there the night before waiting for care. This might lead you to believe that there aren’t enough hospitals in Haiti, but the problem isn’t a lack of hospitals, instead it’s a lack of primary care as well as anything close to the needed public investment in health care. Radiokam is set to help change that.

“With Radiokam, doctors, radiologists, from anywhere will not need to travel for exams. And with these interpretations, the doctor will be able to provide care adapted to the situation of his patient,” said Doctor Prophet. This program is also “a solution that will make life easier for patients in remote areas, who are forced to come to the capital to have their radiography done,” according to Dr. Prophète.

How it works?

To join Radiokam, just go to its website [www.radiokam.com] and create an account as a doctor, hospital or radiologist and fill out the membership form. The service is available 24/7 to satisfy users. Being a “Business to Business” platform, clinics and hospitals registered at Radiokam will send their exams which will be analyzed by certified radiologists. Depending on the method chosen – express, fast, routine – the applicant will receive their results in less than 6 hours, between 6 and 24 hours or between 24 and 36 hours.

 

Services include

  • Interpretation Radiography
  • Mammography Interpretation
  • Computed Tomography (CT) Interpretation
  • Hysterosalpyngography (HSG) Interpretation
  • Interpretation Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Sonography Interpretation
  • Nuclear Medicine Interpretation

The next step for Radiokam: find one or more investors to support it. But the fact remains that it will need an ecosystem – with hospitals, customers satisfied with the service – that keeps it running.

Daughters vs Sons

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Growing up in a Caribbean household means two very different things, even being raised under the same roof by the same people, for daughters verses sons, stemming from the fact that many mothers “baby” their sons while are much harder on their daughters. Even if they are unaware that they are doing so, it is safe to say that there are some thinking biases to how parents respond and react to their child based on their gender. The only fair way to parent is by keeping it an even playing field for everyone. In many ways the style of parenting that doesn’t make the playing field fair can affect their child’s relationships, opportunities and overall quality of life.

In this, perception is everything. We know no parent deliberately means to belittle their own child. In many cases, survival skills are being taught, which should be praised but it’s more about how things are taught than what is actually being learned. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the chosen child or not, the perception of unequal treatment has damaging effects for all siblings. For example, daughters doing the chores while sons get to play. The less favored kids (the one doing the chores) may have ill will toward their mother or preferred sibling, and being the favored child brings resentment from one’s siblings and the added weight of greater parental expectations.

  • Some positives

Long-term effects of being the favored child are not all negative. There are, in fact, lots of advantages – including a bolstered self-esteem. The favorite child often grows up feeling confident and powerful with an attitude of ‘I can get things done.

The overlooked child, who didn’t have to do the ‘pleasing dance,’ may have been free to experience the things he or she wanted to experience and to be the person he or she wanted to be.

  • Negative effects                                        

On the flip side, in the long-term, favorite children may struggle with intimate relationships when they find that no one can possibly love them as much as the parent who favored them.

They’re more likely to be depressed because they spent so much of their lives trying to court parental favor that they may not have developed their own personality.

On the other end of the extreme is the unfavored child, who is often on the receiving end of the parent’s anger.

The unfavored child perhaps stands to suffer the most – even long after he or she has left home whether it be through depression, weakened self-esteem or a chronic need to feel special.

In many cases, sibling relationships are strained as resentment from favoritism breeds.

Just be aware and change the behavior to something more consistent. For instance, switch off different responsibilities in the household to give a fair chance for everyone to experience the task. We will find, if we break the bad cycle of favoritism many of the little issues we all picked up from the way some of us were unfairly raised will not be passed on to the generations to come after us.

Natural Beauty

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Our diet isn’t just about what we put into our mouth. We also eat with our eyes, referring to the idea that in the things we surround ourselves with heavily influence you. Anything that touches our skin goes into our blood stream within 30 seconds. We also “eat” with our noses, what we inhale can also have effects on us depending on the chemical that are added to things such as perfume to keep them smelling sweet. Research shows that our (ethnic women) beauty products are the dirtiest on the market. Stemming from just using what we had available to us, Caribbeans have looked to the earth for everything they need for many years, including beauty products.

According to the Environmental Work Group (EWG), many of the mainstream products that target Black women contain toxic and harmful ingredients. Health hazards linked to ingredients in those products include cancer, hormone disruption, and developmental and reproductive damage. For example, one study in the EWG report found that Black Americans had higher urinary concentrations of parabens, the hormone-disrupting chemicals commonly used as preservatives in personal care products, pharmaceuticals and foods.

With that being said, we have gathered a list of natural beauty product you can start using so your beauty regime can become less toxic for your body.

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A form of carbon that absorbs other substances on the surface it’s applied to, making it great for face masks and scrubs.

Great in skin and hair care as it’s easily absorbent and leaves the skin and hair feeling soft.

Super versatile, used in face and beard balms, hair waxes, candles, soap and more.

Technically Bentonite Clay is aged volcanic ash, and when mixed with water (for a stronger clean, use Apple Cider Vinegar) it becomes ‘charged’ which allows it to absorb toxins. Whilst food grade Bentonite Clay can be bought for detoxifying toxins, chemicals, heavy metals and other impurities from the body, we use it for the same purposes but on the skin in a face mask.

Although Cocoa Butter is solid at room temperature, it melts when in contact with the skin making it the perfect candidate for lotions, creams, balms and soap.

  • Castor Oil– Another oil rich in fatty acid, particularly Omega 5, perfect for keeping the skin moisturized. Also great in soap and massage oils
  • Coconut Oil– Rich in in fatty acids and with excellent healing properties, Coconut Oil has a multitude of uses including make-up removal, hair treatment, massage oil, moisturizer and soap.
  • Manuka Extract– Manuka oil has proven to be a protector against harmful microbes, which is great in any skincare products including soap.
  • Olive Oil (Organic) – Olive Oil is great for moisturizing and restoring skin and hair

The natural sugars and antioxidants in honey help to increase lather when used in  soap and works well when mixed with oil.

Shea Butter comes from a tree called Karite which is found in several African  countries; the butter is pressed from the seeds of the tree for use in soaps, creams and cosmetics. The vitamins and fatty acids found in Shea Butter make it a natural moisturizer and protector of the skin’s natural oils.

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If you know of any other natural remedies to add to a beauty regime, let us know. We’d love to hear how turning back to the earth benefited you.

10 Years Later…

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On January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake shook the city of Port-au-Prince. It was one of the world’s most significant natural disasters on record. Never before had the world seen an earthquake of this magnitude strike an urban setting, and the impact was serious. Two hundred thirty thousand people were killed, 300,000 were injured. In and around the city, buildings collapsed, leaving 1.5 million people homeless. Those who arrived to help in the days that followed the quake say they will never forget arriving into the city just after the earthquake struck. The destruction was everywhere. There were dead bodies lying in the streets, and residents wandering around. It was like a bomb had dropped on the city. But through it all, Haitians showed to have extraordinary resilience through their struggle, and hardship.

The world responded with urgency, compassion, and generosity. Billions of dollars were raised, and aid organizations implemented massive relief and recovery operations. It was, after all, the first independent nation of Latin America and the only country in the world established following a successful slave revolt. It is this inherent fighting spirit that has enabled people to withstand enormous challenges thrown at them. While legitimate questions were raised about overall aid effectiveness and efficiency, there is no doubt that many lives were saved, and Haiti was significantly helped back on the road to recovery. But resilience is not inevitable. Many more struggled immensely to survive. Ten years on from the earthquake, Haiti has actually regressed. The causes are multiple, but negligence and lack of attention are key drivers of the current crisis.

We start 2020 with a country that is both highly vulnerable to climatic disaster and facing a massive — and massively underreported — hunger crisis. Data supplied in October by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) revealed that 3.67 million people need urgent food assistance. Inflation is close to 20 percent, and currency depreciation has been crippling for poor Haitian families.

Not enough seems to be being done. The current annual budget is a fraction of what it was in the post-earthquake period, and the total of donor investment is grossly insufficient. Last year, the UN appeal for Haiti was less than one-third funded by international donors making it among the most under-funded humanitarian crises in the world. The lack of interest, action, and funding is shameful.

In 2010, the world responded to the crisis with speed and extraordinary generosity, but 10 years in this country is in no way adequately prepared for the next one. We can and should do so much more to protect the people of Haiti.

On the bright side, the government seems to be putting positive reinforcements into play as the new year commences.

Announcements have been made about the remodel project for the National Palace along with restoration of power throughout the island.

Though it may not look it from a wide view, these small steps being made now is what we hope will be the foundation of a better environment for our people in the years ahead.

Maxine Waters’ Message to President Moise

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Maxine Waters, U.S. Representative for California’s 43rd congressional district, has been talked about in the news for making civilians tuning in to house meeting chuckle by her remarks. She has even been made into a meme that stayed relevant for quite some time. This time, her name in the news is no laughing matter. During the December 10 Western Hemisphere Subcommittee of Foreign Affairs Committee hearing entitled, “Haiti on the Brink: Assessing U.S. Policy Toward a Country in Crisis”, the congress woman made the following statement:

[vc_cta h2=”” color=”white” add_icon=”left” i_icon_fontawesome=”fas fa-quote-left” css=”.vc_custom_1576609436129{background-color: #ffffff !important;}”]“Haiti is indeed a country in crisis, and we are long overdue for an honest assessment of the policies of the  United States towards Haiti as this crisis has developed.

In April of this year, I led a delegation to Haiti, which met with residents of the Lasalin neighborhood of Haiti’s  capital and surrounding areas, who described acts of unconscionable violence that occurred in November of 2018. The Lasalin massacre resulted in the deaths of at least 71 civilians, in addition to the rape of at least 11 women, and the looting of more than 150 homes. Survivors expressed concern that government-connected gangs, working with police officers, carried out the attacks to punish Lasalin for participation in anti-government protests.”[/vc_cta]

She then went into explaining to the other members present in the meeting what the protests were a chain reaction of, which we know is due to the poor treatment of Haiti’s people as well as the large sum of money that went missing under President Moise’s ruling.

[vc_cta h2=”” color=”white” add_icon=”left” i_icon_fontawesome=”fas fa-quote-left” css=”.vc_custom_1576609442715{background-color: #ffffff !important;}”]“The Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) has verified that Haitian security forces were  responsible for at least 19 killings since September 15, and attacks on journalists have steadily increased in recent months. Moreover, Amnesty International reported that Haitian police have repeatedly used excessive force during recent anti-government protests, including unlawfully firing live ammunition at protesters and indiscriminately launching tear gas. These acts of violence are alarming and raise grave concerns about human rights in Haiti.”[/vc_cta]

She closes by saying:

[vc_cta h2=”” color=”white” add_icon=”left” i_icon_fontawesome=”fas fa-quote-left” css=”.vc_custom_1576609449211{background-color: #ffffff !important;}”]“The U.S. State Department needs to understand that the concerns of the Haitian people  about corruption in their government cannot be ignored, and an inclusive dialogue cannot take place without respect for human rights.

The president of Haiti needs to take responsibility for the current political crisis in his country, and the protests will not stop until he does.”[/vc_cta]

Haitian-Americans are pleased to see someone taking talking about the crisis as serious as the congress woman is. Non-profit organizations especially are anxious for these issues to be resolved so they can get back to helping their people. Since the violence started over a year ago, many regular missionaries have not been able to make their way to Haiti, which hurts them because they know this is the one time many Haitians get the proper attention they need (medically, mentally, etc.).

It is the hope that the conversations about Haiti keep happening so more can be done to restore order on our island. Even something as simple as bringing the crisis up in conversation is a step in the right direction because it is opening the eyes of many people who are unaware of what is going on and we all know the more people working towards one goal, the better.

Be Vigilant This Holiday Season

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Holidays are supposed to be a joyous time – but scammers can replace the joy of the season with the headaches of fraud. Throughout the season, make sure you are taking these simple precautions to keep yourself and your loved ones protected.

  1. Phishing emails– Phishing is a type of online scam where criminals send an email that appears to be from a legitimate company and ask you to provide sensitive information. Popular ones include the personalized letter from Santa to your child, solicitations from unknown third parties that offer gift cards or discounts in exchange for taking a survey, fake delivery confirmations and fake renewal requests for things like insurance coverage.
  2. Fake Charities– Unfortunately, fake charities often pop up during the holidays to take advantage of people’s generosity. Thoroughly do research on any new charities that ask for your money. Legitimate charities will be happy to answer your questions, not wanting to do so should be the big red flag you need to let you know you could be about to fall for a holiday scam.
  3. Social Media Scams – Be aware of posts on social media sites that appear to offer vouchers or gift cards, holiday promotions or contests, or shared linked from known friends. These scams can lead consumers to participate in an online survey that is actually designed to steal personal information. In this day in age, we post absolutely everything but, in this case, consumers should not post pictures of event tickets on social media sites. Scammers can create a ticket using the barcode obtained from the photo and resell the ticket. Protect ticket barcodes as you would credit card numbers.
  4. Phone Scams –In general, you should not give your personal information over the phone in any call that you did not initiate. Some phone companies have done us the favor and labeled certain calls as “spam risk” so you already know to ignore who is calling. In the cases that the call has not been labeled as such, use your best judgement.
  5. E-cards – Holiday e-cards are increasingly popular, but they can contain viruses. Verify them separately with the sender before opening.
  6. False Websites – Online-shopping bargains may be unusually good for a reason. Scammers may create slick websites offering merchandise at cut-rate prices without any intent of delivering – or worse, as a front to steal and misuse your account information. Before you order from a website, verify both that the company is legitimate and that you have not been directed to a spoof of their website. Do not use external links; enter the correct company URL in your browser. Look for “https” in the header – the “s” reflects a secure web page.
  7. Gift Cards – You can buy major retailers’ gift cards almost anywhere now – even at gas stations – but check them carefully. If the activation codes are exposed, scammers may have already copied and used the information, leaving you with a worthless card.
  8. Use Credit over Debit – Credit cards will not protect you from scams, but they can limit the damage. Your liability for defective/undelivered items or fraudulent use of your card is $50, which many credit companies will waive. Debit cards are linked to your bank account, so it is easy for thieves to drain your account without your knowledge.

We hope that these tips can protect your personal information and keep you safe. If you have heard of any other fraud schemes and would like to share, comment below.

Happy Holidays!

The US has Plans to Aid Haiti and the Bahamas

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The US Department of State released the following statement:

[vc_message icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-quote-left”]“Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale will travel to The Bahamas on December 5 and to Haiti on December 6. In Nassau, he will meet with Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, National Security Minister Marvin Dames, disaster response authorities, and USAID implementing partners. They will discuss U.S. support for Hurricane Dorian recovery efforts and the U.S. commitment to ongoing bilateral cooperation. In Haiti, Under Secretary Hale will meet with Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, Foreign Minister Bocchit Edmond, and other political leaders. They will discuss the pressing challenges facing Haiti and the need for an inclusive national dialogue and a functioning government capable of restoring order, maintaining rule-of-law, expanding the economy, and serving the Haitian people.”[/vc_message]

In the aftermath of the Category 5 storm that hit the Bahamas earlier this year, the government has deported hundreds of undocumented Haitian migrants. The strongest storm on record to hit the Northwest Bahamas left thousands displaced, hundreds still missing and at least 70 dead. Dorian destroyed the two largest of the six Haitian shantytown communities on Abaco. In the days immediately following the storm, the government announced that it had suspended the deportation of immigrants in the affected areas. However, just two weeks after this declaration, non-regularized individuals were warned that they “are not safe” and told to “go home” if they lost a job as a result of the storm. That act alone has generated lots of ongoing criticism from various United Nations agencies as tensions continue to increase over the matter.

Hale met with Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of National Security Marvin Dames, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) implementing partners and other government officials. The group was reportedly discussing the longstanding and enduring partnership between the two countries, as well as America’s continuing support for The Bahamas in the wake of the devastating storm. But, civilians in the states and on the islands alike don’t seem to be too trusting of these meetings.

Like anything else, only time will tell how much work will stem from these meetings being held so it may be too soon to mark a stamp of un-approval. Caribbeans of Haitian and Bahamian decent just feel a little uneasy about this random someone who they feel, at this time, may not do much but add fuel to the fire. The biggest concern people have voiced is questioning the real reason behind the visits. Some feel the US just stepped in to be a moderator for the start of the conversations and aren’t sure if they will actually lend a hand where it matters most.

Giving aid to despondent nations is a humanitarian gesture and promises several benefits. However, critics are also correct in saying there are loopholes in the system.

The best way to address this is to come up with a structural design to ensure aid is given to the right recipients and that it is properly implemented, with utmost focus on corruption.

In this case, unfortunately, only time will tell the real benefits to come from Hale’s visit, but we will surely be keeping an eye out.