New Haitian arrivals housed at Portland church
Gareth Davis Sr, Gleaner Writer
The 31 Haitians, including a one-month-old baby, who landed in Rocky Point, St Thomas, shortly after 3 pm Saturday are being housed at the Port Antonio Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The Haitians arrived less than two weeks after 67 of their countrymen were repatriated.
The group comprises 15 adult males, five adult females, five girls, and six boys, including the baby.
They claim to have fled their earthquake-ravaged homeland due to economic hardships and starvation.
They were escorted to shore by the marine police and the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard, who were on patrol in the Rocky Point area.
Information Minister Daryl Vaz told The Gleaner Saturday night that the Haitians would be housed at the church.
"It will be a temporary arrangement," Vaz said. "It is not clear how long they will be accommodated, but the state agencies, private groups, and individuals are providing them with humanitarian assistance."
The Haitians were screened and processed in St Thomas by health officials and were transported late Saturday night to the Seventh-day Adventist facility where they will be housed indefinitely.
Red Cross social worker, Perlita Thomas said the Haitians received meals upon their arrival in St Thomas, and were provided with breakfast and lunch yesterday in Port Antonio.
Some of the Haitians had their passports and birth certificates.
In the meantime, health officials have indicated that all 31 Haitians are in good health.
On March 29 the 62 Haitians who landed in Portland were transported back home aboard a Jamaica Defence Force coast guard vessel, after spending six days in the parish
Five other Haitians, including a 16-year-old boy who landed illegally on February 12, were also transported home in that group.