Written by 7:16 am Travel

“WE FEEL ABANDONED”: Bahamians and residents remain stranded in Haiti

“Why do you’ve us locked in another country? People can go to the US and we will’t get back home”

Foreign Affairs minister says govt working on an answer

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A Bahamian citizen and two other men, including a everlasting resident of 16 years, said yesterday they feel abandoned by the federal government of The Bahamas after traveling to Haiti in March and being unable to return on account of an ongoing travel ban.

Bahamian Deangelo Cooper, 34, who works for a personal security firm, said he’s unsure about his job status, having been unable to report for work in over 4 months.

He traveled to Haiti via Turks and Caicos for vacation.

Asked whether he had considered traveling to the US after which onto The Bahamas, Cooper said he doesn’t possess a US visa to accomplish that.

“I’m attempting to survive, attempting to cope,” said Cooper, who has been staying with friends in Port-au-Prince.

DeAngelo Cooper.

“I don’t speak no Creole. So, I actually have to learn Creole so I can attempt to communicate so I can eat.

“People in another country send me money after they can and that ain’t daily.

“I used to be doing security home and [I] used to do concert events and parties and so forth.

“…In the mean time, I don’t know what’s going to occur.

“Why do you’ve us locked in another country? Everybody else can travel except us. People can go to the US, and we will’t get back home. I feel abandoned.”

A travel ban on Haiti was issued in mid-February for 21 days.

The ban has been prolonged several more times since then.

Following the ban, Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield said the federal government was concerned residents traveling from Haiti could pose a greater risk of spread of the virus, especially as Haiti had yet to implement a vaccination program.

Haiti began its vaccination program in recent weeks.

Of Haiti’s 12 million population, around 12,000 have been vaccinated.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Darren Henfield.

When contacted yesterday, Henfield said the federal government had been concerned about verifying COVID tests from Haiti, but he believes the matter has been resolved.

He the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is trying to seek out a approach to get Bahamians and others who reside in The Bahamas to return to the country.

He was unable to supply a timeline.

Henfield said: “We’re right where we were to start with, but we were working within the ministry and with the Ministry of Health to make special efforts to attempt to get those individuals who have documents [who] are normally resident in The Bahamas, to return to the country.”

Meanwhile, Guy Cherubin, a everlasting resident and businessman, said he traveled to Haiti on March 23 to establish an organization.

He said being stranded has strained his family and his construction company.

Guy Cherubin.

“With the ban decision, I cannot understand it as you’ve huge countries, superpower countries [such as] France, Canada and the US that wouldn’t have a ban of Haiti,” Cherubin said.

“Those countries are accepting coronavirus tests from Haiti.”

Cherubin said his daughter visited The Bahamas from Ohio, but he was unable to be together with her.

He also said he missed out on two construction projects after he couldn’t follow up on his bids.

“I used to be called but because I couldn’t be there physically, I used to be unable to get those projects.

“I feel abandoned.”

He urged the federal government to maneuver swiftly to get them home.

Benjamin Pierre, 48, who own two barbershops in The Bahamas, traveled to Haiti on March 21 to bury his nephew.

“I went to the Bahamian embassy in Haiti before it closed due to the assassination and I explained my situation,” he said.

“I sent my documents and I haven’t heard anything. I cut Minister Marvin Dames’ hair. I’m his barber.

Mikerny Dorce prepares for travel to Haiti on March 17, 2021. He has been stuck within the country since.

“My shops are suffering. I actually have a whole lot of customers but because I’m not there, nothing can occur. I’m fighting to pay the bills and there’s nothing I can do.”

Mikerny Dorce, a Haitian national who has a Bahamian spousal permit that may expire this month, said he’s frightened about having to start out over and being stuck in Haiti indefinitely.

Dorce traveled to Haiti to go to his three children in March.

He lost his job in May at Baker’s Bay on account of his inability to return to work, he claimed.

He said: “You have already got a stagnated system with immigration. I don’t find out about my status and what’s going to occur after it expires.”

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