We would go back to help, say local Haitians
Adrian Frater, News Editor
Haitians Durome Bernadin (left) and Vivian Joseph display photographs of their loved ones in their home country, which was hit by a deadly earthquake on Tuesday. - Photo by Adrian Frater
While most of them were fed up with the impoverished state of life when they fled Haiti for Jamaica, several members of the local Haitian community said they would gladly return to their homeland at this time to assist relief efforts in the aftermath of Tuesday's devastating earthquake.
"I would be happy to go back to Haiti to help right now," said 46-year-old Vivian Joseph, a female member of the Haitian community in Mount Carey, St James.
"What I saw on the news look very bad and I would be willing to go back and help relieve some of the pain."
Joseph, who has been crying since Tuesday night as she ponders the possible fate of family members she has been trying without success to contact, said she would not be at peace with herself until she gets some definite news about her family.
Durome Bernadin, a naturalised Jamaican from Haiti, who was the captain of the boat that brought the first group of Haitian refugees to Jamaica in 1991, said he would be happy to return to Haiti this time to assist in the international effort to resettle his homeland.
"Although I am a naturalised Jamaican, I still love Haiti and would want to help in whatever way I can," said Bernadin, who has five children living in Haiti.
"I am now a carpenter and I am sure I could help in the rebuilding of Haiti."
Louis Bert, who at age 30 is one of the younger members of the Haitian community in Mount Carey, said he would return to Haiti immediately if given the opportunity.
"My mother and other members of my family are there and I am not satisfied with just worrying about them. I would love to go and help them as well," he said.
"I am worried sick about the situation and I would just love to be able to go there and do what I can to help."
Ex-Haitian soldier Edner Fillisma, who has been living in Jamaica for the past nine years, is calling on the local Haitian community to mobilise themselves with a view to coming up with ways to assist Haiti.
"I am calling on all Haitians in Jamaica to come together in order to assist our fallen Haitians," said Fillisma.
"I pray that the almighty God will have mercy upon them."
Where to donate
National Commercial Bank (NCB) has set up a number of accounts to aid in the relief effort for Haiti. Donations can be made at any NCB branch islandwide.
The accounts are:
The United Way Disaster Fund #061048596.
Food For the Poor #TBA.
Donations of kind (canned/non-perishable food, clean clothes, linens, bottled water, toiletries, etc.,) can be dropped off at any NCB branch islandwide.
The Jamaica Association of Transport Owners and Operators (JATOO) has set up a collection point at 35 Lyndhrust Road, where donations in kind can be left and passed on to legitimate relief agency or agencies.
Jamaica Jazz and Blues
TurnKey Productions, producers of the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, have introduced a food-relief programme to assist the victims of the earthquake. A friend of the organisation, Roxanne Hurley, is still missing.
TurnKey will collect and package non-perishable food items from patrons attending the annual festival for delivery to the impoverished nation. Patrons may also leave donations at select ticket outlets to be announced.
Information will be made available at: www.jamaicajazzandblues.com.
The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) has activated a pledge desk. You can call 906-9674-5 and 754-9077-8.