A group of Haitians evicted from a four-bedroom house in Bonnetts, Brittons Hill, St Michael late Thursday night, are saying that they paid between US $2,000 and $3,000 to an agency that promised them accommodation and work once they landed in Barbados.
All nine men said they were told that they would get a better life.
However, the Haitians told Barbados TODAY that the promises made in their homeland, held no weight.
“We are hurting because the people that did this to us are our own. We just wanted a better life. We did not come for trouble. We paid to come and now we are here there is no work for us. We went to the town, we went to construction sites, we went all over looking for work.
“We heard that other people from our countries are here working, but we can’t find any work. You don’t know my country like we do, it is very hard,” said one of the young men who spoke fluent English.
He stressed that this was a difficult situation for the others, since many of them came from poor families and had a difficult task putting together the money to get here.
Not only have they not been able to find work, the limited funds they came with seemed to have run out.
But last night the Haitians’ nightmare worsened when they were evicted by landlord Anthony Mayers who told Barbados TODAY that he was fed up with a situation where the numbers in the house had more than doubled, and it was being kept “dirty”.
Around 1 a.m., former Government Senator and Chairman of the National Assistance Board Pastor Dr David Durant responded to a call to rescue the young men who he took into the shelter of his Restoration Ministries Church, where they were fed and allowed to spend the rest of the night.
The Haitians are now calling on local authorities to help them find temporary accommodation, with some of them indicating they would accept assistance with getting tickets to return home, as they have realized that their dream of a better life in Barbados may never become a reality.
“I need the authorities to see what can be done to help the situation. I know it is a difficult situation and I am appealing to corporate Barbados if they can help to at least try to get them back home. What I have realized is that they came here on a false notion that once you get to Barbados you can get work, and that is not true,” Dr Durant said.
“Whichever agency in Haiti is giving them this information, is not giving them correct information. So these guys came here, they put all their money in this thing and then they meet up with this disappointment. So we want to keep the face of Barbados clean, and we don’t want it to appear as though we turned our back on our fellow Caribbean men, leaving them in the streets, in the cold and in the rain,” Durant said.
The pastor said he contacted Minister of Elder Affairs and People Empowerment Cynthia Forde, and CARICOM Ambassador in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, David Comissiong, to assist with offering a solution to the problem.
Each of the Haitians was granted a six-month stay in Barbados and prohibited from working.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Comissiong who gave his assurance that he was looking into the matter and doing what he could to help, said that though the men are in Barbados legally, they should not be seeking work. He noted that there have been similar cases here where churches have had to step in to help Haitian visitors.
“I have put out a call to the Haitian Barbados Friendship Association to see if they can help as well. So what we need to do now, is these Haitian visitors need to return home as soon as possible because they don’t have resources to remain in Barbados, and we have now to try to find some helpful Barbadians that might be willing to offer some short-term accommodation until we can get them back home,” Ambassador Comissiong said.
Landlord Mayers, the owner of the house previously occupied by the visitors told Barbados TODAY that he charged them BDS$1,300 per month, including light and water. He said they have been there for four months, and paid him the rent every month.
However, Mayers said though the water bill reached about BDS$1 200 in only one month, he really evicted them because of the condition of the house.
“They keep the house too dirty. The bathroom got in dirt as thick as my hand. And the toilet bowl black like if they never scrubbed it. The kitchen was dirty too,” Mayers said.
According to the landlord, while only five men came to him to rent the house, he was surprised that about 15 of them were living there at the time they were evicted.