News

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.

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.

U.N. Withdraws from Haiti

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As we know, Haiti is experiencing one of its worst social, political and economic meltdowns in years. The United Nations (U.N.), driven most by initial pressure from the United Kingdom with the United States and others supporting, is exiting after 15 years. The U.N. began withdrawing military soldiers in 2017 with the closure of its U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti (known by its French acronym MINUSTAH).

MINUSTAH has helped the Police Nationale d’Haiti to restore control of many neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince once controlled by gangs. A smaller Mission, MINUJUSTH, followed on 16 October 2017, composed of police and civilian staff. MINUJUSTH will assist the Government of Haiti to develop the Haitian National Police (HNP); to strengthen Haiti’s rule of law institutions, including the justice and prisons; and to promote and protect human rights. The overall efforts of the U.N. family in Haiti, including MINUJUSTH and the UN Country Team, will be guided by a longer term, common vision under the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, as peacekeeping gradually gives way to development priorities.

For decades, the UN has stood with the Haitian people, supporting them in their quest for democracy, stability, security and the strengthening of their institutions and responding to many humanitarian disasters (helping to rebuild the nation after the tragic earthquake of 2010 and after Hurricane Matthew in 2016). The security situation in Haiti has vastly improved since the Mission’s establishment in 2004: kidnappings are down by over 95% and rates of homicides are among the lowest since 2013.

The U.N.’s decision came as the political gridlock between Moïse and his opponents went into a fourth week with businesses and schools still shuttered, and Haitians unable to leave home due to the protests and burning tires and barricades cutting off cities. While urging all sides to talk, the U.N. has also found itself thrust in a political melee. Thousands of protesters recently marched to the U.N. headquarters in Port-au-Prince to demand that it stop supporting Moïse, who faced a fraud-plagued presidential vote only to be accused of corruption and mismanagement during his 32 months in the presidency.

But for all the success the U.N. points to, critics highlight its failures. They look no further than present day Haiti, where after the U.N.’s last foreign police unit, 130 officers from Senegal, left on Sept. 30, local police officers have had their stations and cars set on fire, and guns taken by protesters. But the U.N., which has failed to get to the root of the dysfunction due to sovereignty concerns, isn’t totally to blame.

Haiti had five different governments during the U.N.’s 15-year presence, and all failed to transform Haitian society. While Haiti was dysfunctional 15 years ago, many problems have worsened.

Today, nothing works — not the courts, not schools, not government ministries.

Trouble in Trinidad

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Police announced that they rescued 65 men and four women from the Transformed Life Ministry (TLM) Rehabilitation Centre in Arouca, Trinidad, during a sting operation early this week. The victims were ranged in ages from 20 to their 60s and most of them were found “in cages and some handcuffs. Local police described the conditions as “slavery” in the largest human trafficking ring in the country.

Some of them say they have been tor­tured. It is such a big­ger pic­ture with prof­it be­ing made out of this. Some believe fam­i­ly mem­bers de­lib­er­ate­ly send­ing their loved ones there and were extract­ing the prof­its from the fam­i­lies. Human trafficking, according to the U.S. department of Homeland Security, involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act. Millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide annually, including in the U.S.

A member of the ministry speaking on condition of anonymity to the T&T Guardian denied that the people found at the facility were being trafficked and noted that the centre is simply a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion home for people who want to come out of drug ad­dic­tion.

[vc_message icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-quote-left”]It is not hu­man traf­fick­ing. It is a re­hab so the pas­tor have the place gat­ed to prevent them from run­ning   away. These peo­ple’s par­ents sign con­tracts and agree. They al­so view the places. … So why would fam­i­ly put their love one there if they saw it? Nobody there is in chains, etc., they are ly­ing. God hear me it is a lie, “the ministry mem­ber said.[/vc_message]

In the days following, it was still unclear how the victims were being used for profit, but officers said the “barbaric” scene they encountered at the ministry showed evidence that the victims were being tortured.

[vc_message icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-quote-left”]Per­sons are seen in cages, hand­cuffed … per­sons were be­ing tor­tured. We saw tasers and ba­tons … and again this is a sit­u­a­tion of vir­tu­al mod­ern day slav­ery,” said officer Griffith.[/vc_message]

At least six people have already been arrested in connection with the ministry which promised to use the Gospel and expert training to “serve male ex-prisoners and deportees by providing safe transitional housing, developmental and rehabilitation programmers, to promote healthy reintegration into society.”

The ministry was founded 19 years ago by pastor and ex-convict, Glen Awong, who said he was called to serve while doing a seven-year stint at the local Golden Grove Prison.

[vc_message icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-quote-left”]Despite adverse conditions and lack of resources, Glen ministered to the spiritual needs of the prisoners with a strong desire to impart the new found grace and message of God’s redeeming and restoration powers, that can change the ‘worst’ individual and remove the stains left behind from a life without God,” the ministry said.[/vc_message]

Awong’s work in the prison with other inmates attracted the attention of prison officials and it earned him early release from prison for good behavior. He continued visiting with inmates after his release and conducted Bible classes with other former inmates until they found a physical space to house the ministry.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families effected, and we ask that yours be too. If you know any new developments on the story, share in the comments.

Richard E. Myers II, of Kingston, JA, Recently Nominated for US Federal Judge

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Richard E. Myers was born in Kingston, Jamaica and lived there for several years before migrating to Miami (at 10 years old) and later to North Carolina (at 14). Myers received his education (Bachelors, Masters and Law Degrees) from the University of North Carolina. It wasn’t until the events of 9/11 that he decided to pursue becoming a Prosecutor. Throughout his career, he has worked in several positions including Prosecutor, Defense Attorney, Journalist and now a Law Professor at his alma mater.

On August 14, Trump nominated the professor to be a federal judge in the Eastern District of North Carolina. The post has been vacant since January 2006, making it the longest federal judge vacancy in America. The position has been vacant for 13 years due to the habit of US Senators in blocking the confirmation of nominees (this is done by a simple majority vote that is required to confirm or reject a nominee).

Myers is seemingly a good pick. North Carolina’s two senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis have both voiced their support for Myers as the new federal judge. In a statement, Tills said, “Myers’ prosecutorial work, as well as his well-deserved reputation as one of our state’s best legal scholars provide him with the background and qualifications required to serve the Eastern District with distinction”.

If Senate accepts Myers’ nomination, even though blacks account for 30 percent of the district’s population, he will be the Eastern District of North Carolina’s first black federal judge.

As a race, it is always heartwarming to see a black man do great things such as these, but it is particularly great to see it being done by a man who once used to be known as just an immigrant.

We are never able to forget that one point in time, we were all just descendants of immigrants. We sure have evolved, haven’t we? Now we move mountains as political figures, preachers, teachers, doctors, CEOs and the list goes on and on. Because of one brave decision made by the head of a household to pack up and move their family on to better, we get to reap these beautiful fruits of our ancestor’s labor.

I want you to take a moment think of something you are thankful for having the opportunity to accomplish as a direct effect of your family taking the plunge to move on to better, smile and thank God. May you continue to bless the world with your gift and pass on the same idea that anything is possible with a little hard work and intent to your future generations.

Haitian Family Reunification Parole Programme in Jeopardy

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In this new age, thoughts and actions pertaining to immigration are ever-changing. We hear about raids in neighborhoods where people are encouraged to stay inside, lock all doors and do not open for anyone under any circumstances. We hear about children coming home from school to find an empty home as a direct effect of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid. We hear a new update about the harsh realities families of immigrants living in this country are facing every single day. We sympathize with these families but never stop to think that one day, it could be us. This is not meant to scare, but to inform. The Trump Administration recently announced that the United States is ending the “Haitian Family Reunification Parole Programme”.

To break it down: the programme was originally launched in 2016, under the Obama Administration, which allowed thousands of Haitians who had already obtained an immigrant visa based on family reunification to wait in the country with their family for their green card to be available. Family reunification meant that the presence of one or more family members in a certain country enabled the rest of the divided family or only specific members of the family to immigrate to that country as well. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has said that the decision is in line with the 2017 Decree 13767 on improvements to border security and immigration enforcement.

In a quick summary, the order limits access to asylum (the protection granted by a nation to someone who has left their native country as a political refugee), expands the use of detention, enhances enforcement along the U.S. – Mexico border, and ensures that parole into the U.S. is exercised on a case-by-case basis.

“Family reunification must be used on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. USCIS is committed to exercising this limited power in a manner that preserves the integrity of our immigration system and does not encourage foreigners to enter the United States illegally,” said Acting Director of USCIS, Ken Cuccinelli.

Many public and political figures, have spoken out on the matter including head of the Family Action Network, Marleine Bastien, who said the stance taken by the United States is wrong. She feels, especially with the political crises in Haiti currently at a record high, that now is not the time for the Trump Administration to be rolling back protections for Haitian families.

If you have already applied to adjust status to lawful permanent resident (LPR), this termination will not affect you. But, an estimated 50,000 Haitians who currently have temporary permission to legally live and work in the United States are set to lose that benefit on Jan. 2, 2020. A new extension was given by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in February of this year as a result of one of several Temporary Protected Status (TPS) – related lawsuits challenging the Trump Administration’s decision to end TPS for Haitians and Central Americans.

Our political figures on the right side of the issue are fighting for the protection of our people. Until a definite decision is made, all we can do is continue to be aware, if you are so inclined, offer help and continue to pray for the state of this country.

Minds Up, Stigmas Down: Live Mental Health Panel

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Raising awareness of the importance of mental health in Caribbean culture helps to normalize and ends the stigma… Many people suffer in silence because they don’t know how to seek help…We want to dispel the myths and taboo surrounding mental health…

TUNE IN to @islandtvnetwork or @Lunionsuite IG, Twitter and Facebook (@TheHaitianAmerican) Live streams Wednesday, Feb 20th for a packed discussion on mental health in the Caribbean community, featuring an amazing panel of mental health professionals.

Moderator:
Marline Francois-Madden, LCSW @marlinefrancois

Panelists:
Mathew Jean, LMFT @matjeanius
Sara Elysee, LMHC @saraelyseeofficial
Franchesca Fontus, LMFT @franchescafontus_
Georgia Bryce, MFT @georgiabatpllc

Island TV