Appointment of Mr. Gerald Oriol Jr. as Special Advisor in Haiti
PRESS RELEASE | September 15, 2016, Port au Prince, Haiti.
Mercy & Sharing is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Gerald Oriol Jr. as Special Advisor in Haiti effective immediately. Mr. Oriol will provide council to the board and managerial staff of Mercy & Sharing in Haiti, which currently offers, among other services, a residence for 127 abandoned children (65 of whom suffer from disabilities), three schools educating 1,200 children each day, free medical clinics, a church, a therapy and rehabilitation center, nutrition and hydration programs serving thousands each day.
Commenting on the appointment, Mercy & Sharing’s President, Robin Hamill states, “We are thrilled to welcome Gerald to our team! Gerald brings a unique perspective to the issue of disabled people, particularly children, in Haiti and his management experience is first rate. An appointment of this significance indicates Mercy & Sharing’s deep commitment to lifting Haiti up after more than 22 years working in Haiti.
Mr. Oriol says, “Mercy & Sharing has a proven track record of getting things done in Haiti. I am very pleased to be joining this organization that was founded by Susie Krabacher; her passion for the most vulnerable people in our society was a compelling reason for me to join Mercy & Sharing. I look forward to working with the Mercy & Sharing team to take the organization to a new level of advocacy for abandoned children and those with disabilities”.
Gérald Oriol, Jr., commonly known as Ti Gérald, was appointed Haiti’s Secretary of State for the Integration of Persons with Disabilities by President Michel Martelly in October of 2011. From 2011 to 2016, he directed a staff of approximately 70 personnel working from seven offices throughout the country, which provided services to an estimated one million disabled persons. While in office, Oriol outlined the following objectives for the Bureau of the Secretary of State for the Integration of Persons with Disabilities (BSEIPH): advance the rights of persons with disabilities in Haiti; provide access to education for children with disabilities; create economic opportunities for persons with disabilities; promote the development of a physically accessible environment; and further develop the resources and capabilities of the BSEIPH.
In his post as Secretary with the disability portfolio, Oriol collaborated directly with organizations such as USAID, the World Bank, the European Union, the United Nations, and the Organization of American States. He represented Haiti at disability conferences in Qatar, Ecuador, Panama and the United States.
Oriol also has extensive experience in the private and non-profit sectors. Prior to his appointment as Secretary, Oriol worked for several years as a consultant in the drinking water industry. He is also a shareholder in TECINA SA, a Haitian company specialized in the study, management and performance of construction projects.
In 2006, Oriol co-founded Fondation J’Aime Haiti [I Love Haiti Foundation], a non-profit that champions the rights of disabled and impoverished persons in Haiti. J’Aime Haiti developed several notable programs including L’Espoir par L’Education [Hope through Education], which awards scholarships to children of low-income families.
Oriol received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Florida and his Master of Liberal Arts from Harvard University.
HaitiChildren is a U.S. based non-profit organization (doing business in Haiti as Mercy & Sharing) providing care and education to abandoned, orphaned and disabled children in Haiti. Since 1994, we have cared for Haiti’s most defenseless children and established a reputation for excellence in our community-based programming. We take abused, abandoned, and disabled children from a vulnerable state of being hurt and broken and provide comprehensive care until they become independent and thriving. 100% of HaitiChildren’s US expenses are funded by its board meaning that all donations received go directly to programming in Haiti.
Media Contact: Robin Hamill, President
firstname.lastname@example.org | 970-925-6520
New hope for Haiti’s most vulnerable
Aspen nonprofit signs historic agreement to aid island nation’s abandoned children
When the catastrophic earthquake of 2010 leveled Haiti’s most populated areas, Aspen resident Susie Krabacher’s abandoned baby care unit in the nation’s largest hospital also crumbled.
Officials asked the founder of HaitiChildren, a locally based nonprofit organization that serves 5,200 people a day in the country, to leave after she criticized certain aspects of the hospital’s operations.
Robin Hamill, the group’s president, said Krabacher was particularly vocal about the facility “cherry-picking” healthy children for adoption by North American and European families while scores of other children with disabilities or AIDS or another illness were, and still are, simply abandoned…
Article by Chad Abraham, Aspen Daily News Staff Writer
HaitiChildren Graduation Ceremony
HaitiChildren’s first ever graduating class at the John Branchizio School in Tabarre, Port-au-Prince.
The US Spent $33 Million on Haiti’s Scrapped Elections — Here is Where it Went
Haiti’s electoral council announced yesterday that new first-round presidential elections would be held in October after a commission found widespread fraud and irregularities in the previous vote. The prospect of the new vote — to be held alongside dozens of parliamentary seats still up for grabs, has raised questions about how it could be funded. The previous elections — determined to be too marred by fraud and violence to count — cost upward of $100 million, with the bulk of the funding coming from international donors.
But now, donors are balking. Last week the State Department’s Haiti Special Coordinator Ken Merten said that if elections are redone “from scratch” than it would put U.S. assistance in jeopardy. It “could also call into question whether the U.S. will be able to continue to support financially Haiti’s electoral process,” Merten added. In a separate interview, Merten explained:
We still do not know what position we will adopt regarding our financial support. U.S. taxpayers have already spent more than $33 million and that is a lot. We can ask ourselves what was done with the money or what guarantees there are that the same thing will not happen again.
So, what was done with the money? Could the same thing happen again?
To begin with, that figure seems to include money allocated in 2012 – years before the electoral process began. Local and legislative elections, which former president Michel Martelly was constitutionally required to organize, failed to happen. A significant share of this early funding likely went to staffing and overhead costs as international organizations or grantees kept their Haiti programs running, despite the absence of elections. It’s also worth pointing out that many millions of that money never went to electoral authorities, but rather to U.S. programs in support of elections…
Under new rules, an American couple finally has a word for Haitian child: daughter
Story by Jacqueline Charles
Dan Cruz holds 7-year-old Angelene while visiting the U.S. embassy in Port-au-Prince on Friday. He and wife Julie became the first American couple to adopt a Haitian child under the country’s new international regulations.
The first time Dan and Julie Cruz met the little girl with the wide eyes and bright smile, she looked up, stretched out her arms and silently motioned to be picked up.
“It was an awesome moment,” recalled Dan, 35, about meeting Angelene, who was abandoned by her parents before her fourth birthday, and can neither hear, speak nor sign. “It was more than we could have ever imagined; lots of tears.”
The Cruzes encounter with then 5-year-old Angelene at a Port-au-Prince orphanage a year ago was among the steps in what U.S. and Haitian officials are now calling a moretransparent and predictable adoption process. It reached its culmination Friday as the family arrived at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince to get Angelene’s travel documents.
Instead of the old adoption visa, Angelene received an IH-3 Hague visa, signifying that Haiti had finally come into full compliance with the Hague Adoption Convention regulating international adoptions. Not only is 7-year-old Angelene the first Haitian adoptee to receive the special Hague visa — which will make her an automatic U.S. citizen as soon as her flight comes into U.S. airspace — but her new parents became the first Americans to adopt under the new inter-country regulations.
Read more here »
Haiti protest demands justice for 3 slain deaf women
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Hundreds of protesters marched in Haiti’s capital on Friday to demand justice following the brutal killings of three deaf women who were tortured, stoned and left in a gully by attackers.
Mickelson Jean, leader of a Haitian association for the deaf, was one of roughly 300 people who marched in Port-au-Prince to call attention to the recent slayings. The women lived in the coastal village of Leveque where scores of homes are reserved for deaf people and their families.
“These murders are an act of absolute barbarism and we must have justice,” Jean said.
The three women were killed as they were trying to return home by foot late at night because a bridge had collapsed, preventing public transport from Haiti’s capital. They all worked as street vendors and went into Port-au-Prince that day to stock up on supplies.
Jentullon Joel, the police commissioner in Cabaret near where the killings took place two weeks ago, said arrest warrants have since been issued for two men, and three women are being held for questioning.
Joel said that one of the female suspects told investigators that her husband killed the deaf women because he feared they were “lougawou,” a Haitian Creole word for vicious supernatural creatures who fly at night.
But Nicole Phillips, a lawyer representing the victims’ families, believes that story is “a false defense to try and justify a heinous crime.” Mob violence is common in Haiti and experts say there is a widespread acceptance of the killing of perceived evil-doers.
Phillips alleged that one of the victims was known by members of the family who attacked the deaf women. “They only came to this house late at night and asked for shelter because one of the victims knew them,” she said.
Phillips, an attorney with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, is hopeful that the case can shine a spotlight on the vulnerability of disabled Haitians and the obstacles to justice they face.
“It’s a case that’s emblematic of violence that occurs against deaf people, particularly women who can’t scream if they are attacked,” she said.
Original article written by David McFadden on Twitter: www.twitter.com/dmcfadd
HC FEATURED IN WORLD OF CHILDREN BLOG CARNIVAL
HaitiChildren is featured in the World of Children Award Child Protection Blog Carnival. The Blog Carnival pulls together stories that represent the global breadth and depth of thinking and on-the-ground work that we and our fellow World of Children Award Honoree organizations are providing to protect children. Visit the Blog Carnival to read stories from fellow Honoree programs protecting children from child-trafficking, abuse, neglect, and the vulnerabilities associated with being poor, orphaned, or disabled in countries as widespread as Colombia, Nepal, Sierra Leone, Mexico, India, Ukraine, and Haiti. | Read More
Bogus Election or Provisional Government?
Article by Yves Pierre-Louis and Kim Ives.
According to Haiti’s Constitution, President Michel Martelly should pass power to his successor on Feb. 7, 2016. However, due to his foot-dragging in holding elections during his five years in power and widespread fraud in the first two rounds of on-going elections, Haiti is in a full-blown political crisis, and the scheduled Feb. 7 transfer of power from one president to the next is not going to be smooth, peaceful, or democratic.
What will happen next is anybody’s guess, but, at this writing (Jan. 19), there are two likely scenarios.
The first is that Martelly, with the support of Washington and its allies, holds a third and final round of elections now scheduled for Jan. 24 (after being postponed previously from Dec. 27 to Jan. 17). The problem is: who will vote?
The entire political opposition and most of the population cried foul after violence and fraud plagued rounds on Aug. 9 and Oct. 25. Election observers, a legal challenge from the Lavalas Family party, as well as a presidentially appointed Evaluation Commission, have confirmed there were almost universal irregularities in both elections. In the past two weeks, four of the nine members of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) have had to resign after being outed for flagrant corruption.
While some of the worst fraud occurred in legislative races, President Martelly’s chosen successor, previously obscure banana exporter Jovenel Moïse, supposedly came in first with 33% of the vote, despite a respected Brazilian exit poll indicating that he came in fourth with just 6%.
Would-be second-place presidential finisher Jude Célestin, part of a “Group of Eight” coalition (G8) with seven other leading runners-up, called the Oct. 25 election a “ridiculous farce” and, despite pressure from a high-level U.S. State Department delegation two weeks ago, has refused to participate in the second-round. He said he wants no part of “a selection aimed at the coronation of a prince.”
This would leave Mr. Moïse going to a presidential run-off unopposed. Already in the last round, only a near record-low 26% of registered voters dared or bothered to show up. A Jan. 24 turn-out would likely be even punier. Any unopposed “victory” Mr. Moïse might score that day would be very controversial and fragile.
The second scenario is that a transitional government would be formed to reorganize elections. The big questions in that case are: how will it be formed, for how long, and by whom? Furthermore, what would be its mission?
A provisional government, or “transition,” as it is commonly referred to, was first proposed over two years ago, on Sep. 29, 2013, by a national forum of popular organizations organized by the Dessalines Coordination party (KOD). The forum proposed that a 13 member “Council of State” drawn from key sectors of Haitian society form a government with a supreme court judge, similar to the arrangement which successfully carried out the 1990 “transition” from the military dictatorship of Gen. Prosper Avril to the successful election of Pres. Jean Bertrand Aristide on Dec. 16, 1990.
Today, however, Haiti is militarily occupied by the United Nations Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH), which enforces the agenda of Washington, Paris, and Ottawa. They are guns and bayonets behind U.S. pressure to continue on with Martelly’s discredited elections, and, should that fail, would surely try to control the formation of a transitional junta.
This is why the KOD warned during its 2013 forum that free and fair elections were not possible with either Martelly or MINUSTAH. Today, almost the entire country agrees.
As a result, in recent weeks, numerous propositions have been made, in meetings, chat groups, and radio shows, for provisional governments which would last for months or years. Almost all of the proposals include Mirlande Manigat, the former presidential candidate who lost to Martelly in 2011 and who dropped out of the 2016 race early on, perhaps to be “in reserve” for this very moment.
The U.S. Embassy has surely drawn up its Plan B for what a transition might look like, but Haitian progressive organizations are thinking and working hard to counter continued foreign meddling.
“A provisional government might have to be in place for even five years,” said a KOD leader, Henriot Dorcent. “Organizing truly free, fair, and sovereign elections is not something that can be done in a matter of months. It would have to repair all the damage done by the Martelly regime. It would have to be a provisional revolutionary government, rolling back Martelly decrees creating illegal taxes, illegal posts, illegal land seizures, destruction of state institutions, and so forth. And of course, the occupiers must be expelled. Otherwise, we will just repeat the whole fiasco again.”
The skyrocketing salaries of Martelly’s CEP members as a reward for a “job well done” has also galled the population. Their pay have gone from 124,000 gourdes ($2,137) monthly to 240,000 gourdes ($4,137). With an expense account of 150,000 gourdes ($2,585) monthly, that means a CEP member gets 390,000 gourdes ($6,722) monthly income, in a country where a 13% inflation rate and a gourde at 60 to the dollar, is driving people into deeper and deeper misery.
In the midst of this mess, some “parlémentaires mal élus” or PME (wrongly elected parliamentarians) from the Aug. 9 and Oct. 25 elections illegally swore themselves in as Haiti’s 50th Legislature on Sun., Jan. 10, a day before the constitutionally-mandated date (January’s second Monday) for parliament’s renewal. Since the “National Assembly” was carried out in violation of the Constitution’s Article 92.2 and 98.1, Haiti’s 50th Legislature will also likely lose its legitimacy and have to be reelected. In the final third round, 27 deputies (of 119 total) and six senators (of 30 total) remain to be elected.
Not surprisingly, the partial Chamber of Deputies elected a leadership of Martelly allies, which may try to push through some wildcard scenarios, like extending Martelly’s term to May 14, the date when he took office in 2011.
However, the Senate has some opposition leaders, at least nominally: Jocelerme Privert, President; Ronald Larèche, Vice President; Lucas Saint-Vil, First Secretary; Steven Benoit , Second Secretary, and Carlos Lebon, Quaestor. While they, like the G8, have called for an independent commission to verify the Aug. 9 and Oct. 25 pollings, they are compromised by the fact that they mostly occupy their seats thanks to those same elections.
The Haitian people remain mobilized to block a bogus election or a U.S.-formed neo-Martellist provisional government. Thousands took to the streets in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and other towns and cities around Haiti on Jan. 18 and 19, chanting their defiance, setting up barricades, and clashing with riot police. Some windows were broken and vehicles burned.
As chaos grows, it has become clear that Washington and Haiti’s ruling class have lost control of the situation, which poses great opportunities and also great dangers to Haiti’s long suffering masses and long struggling progressive organizations and parties.
Reprinted from Haiti Liberte.
Haiti Deserves a Legitmate Election
There is an electoral crisis in Haiti. An election in October to choose a successor to President Michel Martelly was so marred by reports of ballot tampering, illegal voting and other abuses that the result has been widely denounced as illegitimate.
Not just by the dozens of losing candidates — there were 54 people on the presidential ballot — but by independent election observers, human-rights groups, Haitian religious leaders, organizations of the Haitian diaspora and ordinary citizens who have taken to the streets in angry, sometimes violent, demonstrations.
The country is supposed to hold a runoff election on Dec. 27 between the first-place finisher, Jovenel Moïse, and the first runner-up, Jude Célestin. But Mr. Célestin has called the October results a “ridiculous farce” and threatened to withdraw from the runoff. He has formed a coalition of eight presidential candidates who are demanding an independent investigation of the first election and reforms to assure the integrity of the second…
Full New York Times article here: Haiti Deserves a Legitimate Election »