A Haitian who has been living in Barbados from age seven, is appealing to Barbadians to give his fellow countrymen a chance following the eviction of 15 of them from a rented house at Bonnetts, Brittons Hill, St Michael.
Evans Marcellin, 45, said he would be the first to admit that the number of Haitians coming to the island has increased since the visa requirement was lifted back in August.
Marcellin told Barbados TODAY that many of the men and women from the French speaking country, are coming to Barbados to experience a different culture, and is adamant that they should be allowed to do so.
The Haiti-born Marcellin, who is in the process of working with Barbados Ambassador to CARICOM David Comissiong to establish a Barbados and Haiti friends association, said the influx of Haitians can be managed.
The 15 Haitians who are now hoping for financial assistance to return to their homeland were said to have paid between US $2500-$3000, to an agency in Haiti, with the assurance that they would receive accommodation and jobs when they landed in Barbados.
Last week, Ambassador Comissiong made it clear that while CARICOM nationals are granted six months to stay on the island, they are prohibited from working unless they have signed up under the Skilled Nationals Programme and can work without a permit.
However, Marcellin, said that while he agreed with Barbados’ policy, he believed Haitians will continue to come and look for work, and that the situation could be managed. According to him other CARICOM nationals, including Jamaicans and Guyanese come to the island to visit, and end up working.
“Whenever foreign persons land in a country and the citizens of that country have a good idea that they are coming for a job, everyone gets tensed. At the same time, there are certain jobs that the Bajans are not going to do, and those jobs the Haitians would do. But at the same time, rules are rules and regulations are regulations.
“When Haitians leave Haiti, they come to Barbados looking for work. But Guyanese were coming way before this CARICOM thing and were getting work. Guyanese are still coming and are still getting work. From the time a Guyanese leave Guyana he already has his job there for him. Haitians are not the only persons coming to Barbados that ain’t required to work that working,” he said.
Marcellin also suggested that Haiti had much to offer to Barbados, and other CARICOM nations.
“So all I am trying to do here right now is to assemble a little Haitian community. But I have to scan them. I need to know who you are and what I am working with,” he said.
Marcellin said Haitians allegedly being asked to pay exorbitant prices to get to Barbados was not a scam. He noted that most of them know that if they borrowed money, they would be required to pay interest.
“Nothing in this world comes easy. There is nothing in this world that is for free,” he said.
Nine of the evicted young men are currently staying at the Salvation Army Hostel in Bridgetown. Marcellin confirmed that he had been in contact with the group, and had been working closely with Ambassador Comissiong to find a solution to their plight. [email protected]