Tag Archives: Haiti earthquake

Spark of the Day! Why are these Haitian girls smiling?

Daphna, Lysemene, Fabienne and Loudia can’t stop smiling

Look at them. You know what’s happened in Haiti this year and it’s a wonder that anyone can smile, but these girls have good reason to be happy.

Go ahead: take a moment, click on the photo and discover why they are smiling. You know you want to!

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Filed under Haiti, Spark of the Day!

Please visit our friends at… Real Hope for Haiti Rescue Center

(Click on the banner to visit Enoch and Licia and all the angels. They do the best they can with what they have.)


Filed under Disaster, Haiti, Human Rights

Anti-Obama Tea Party cruise conceals Haiti destination as “Hispaniola”

UPDATED: September 16, 2010

Since we first published this article over five months ago, World Net Daily has continued to mislead its readers and “Tea Party at Sea” attendees as to the true destination of the cruise. The word “Haiti” is still not mentioned in the WND.com adverts about the cruise – despite this article and our email to Joseph Farah of World Net Daily back in April. In our email (below) we asked Mr. Farah to tell his Tea Party folks the truth so they might be moved to help the Haitian people.

Nope, Mr. Farah kept silent.

Poor show, Mr. Farah. Frankly, we expected much better from you and WND.com.

And… the Wall Street Journal read our article and then published their take on the story on September 15, 2010 without mentioning BFP or our plea for WND to assist the Haitian people.

Poor show, Wall Street Journal. We know you visited Barbados Free Press during your research several days before you published your article.

Mr. Farah and World Net Daily responded to the Wall Street Journal article but not to ours or our email.

Ho hum. At least CNN, USA Today and many other news organisations have mentioned Barbados Free Press when they use our material or ideas.

World Net Daily: Wall Street Journal: Boycott Haiti

Wall Street Journal: Tea Party Goes to Haiti

Original article first published April 6, 2010…

Will World Net Daily WND.com tell the truth about cruise destination and Royal Caribbean’s exploitation of Haitians?

The right-wing conservative website World Net Daily (wnd.com) is holding a “Tea Party at Sea” cruise this September that features a host of anti-Obama speakers and seminars.

Tea Partiers (is that a real word?) are invited to “Enlist Now!” to sail on the Royal Caribbean ship Liberty of the Seas and to “…be on board with the most freedom-embracing and liberty-loving navy at sea: the WND Navy and the Tea Party at Sea!”

Joseph Farah

World Net Daily supporters, editor Joseph Farah and other “birthers” are engaged in an ongoing campaign to discredit President Barack Obama and his political and social agenda. One of their tactics is their claim that the man Americans elected to the White House in November 2008 does not meet the US Constitutional qualifications to be President.

Well, okay – if people want to waste so much time, energy and money pursuing that doomed-to-fail agenda, that is their right. God knows one of the things we really admire about the USA is the protection of freedom of speech – which is quite contrary to the situation in Barbados where the truth is no defense against the defamation lawsuits, threats and job loss that Bajans often suffer if they are effective in criticizing the political and business elites.

But while WND.com World Net Daily claims to be in search of the truth, they are not telling the truth about where their Tea Party at Sea cruise is heading. The Tea Partiers will be frolicking on a beach in Haiti – protected from the starving Haitian children by layers of barbed wire and shotgun-toting guards. Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Corruption, Disaster, Haiti, Human Rights

Barbadian Engineer: United Nations turned away Caribbean professional assistance in Haiti

Updated: December 9, 2010

The recent stories about Haiti’s political troubles and the UN being fingered for causing the recent outbreak of cholera bring us back to this story about the the UN’s refusal to use Caribbean engineers after the January 2010 earthquake.

We haven’t seen much progress in Haiti since the earthquake – with millions still camped in the open. We wonder about all the aid pledges and foreign assistance on the ground. Have things returned to “normal” with the rest of the Caribbean and the world content with the state of affairs? If Haiti wasn’t an island but was instead a part of Florida, would the response be the same?

Here’s our original article. Perhaps Bajan professional engineer Grenville Phillips II can provide an update from his perspective…

“15th January 2010 – I contacted the Secretary General of the Caribbean Council of Engineering Organisations (CCEO), and the Chairman of the Caribbean Division of the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) about surveying their members for a possible deployment…. we soon had a long list of Caribbean based structural engineers who volunteered to be deployed in Haiti, to help their fellow Caribbean brothers and sisters in their time of desperate need.”

… from the Weighed in the Balance article Haiti Deployment

What was the UN’s agenda in ignoring Caribbean Professionals?

The day after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Bajan professional engineer Grenville Phillips II started organising Caribbean structural engineers for deployment to Haiti to assist in evaluating the thousands of damaged schools, hospitals and other public buildings and to train Haitian engineers to perform the same task.

Short story: When Grenville arrived in Haiti, the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) told Phillips (and through him the other Caribbean structural engineers) that their services were not needed and were not welcome. Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, CARICOM, Disaster, Haiti

Maritime Lawyer Jim Walker comments on the pathetic failure of Royal Caribbean to help Haiti

Royal Caribbean’s Haitian response called “A Sick Joke”

Our article Royal Caribbean passengers frolic in Haiti as the screams from the rubble continue touched a few raw nerves, but BFP isn’t the only blog questioning the cruise industry’s failure to respond with their full might to the mass deaths still happening in Haiti. As a matter of interest, a Google search reveals dozens if not over a hundred critical articles out there so far.

Maritime lawyer Jim Walker runs Cruise Law News blog out of his Miami law office where he specializes in representing crew members and passengers who have been injured, assaulted or otherwise had a bad experience with the cruise line industry.

Mr. Walker is naturally much more knowledgeable about the cruise industry than we are, and even if he is normally on the opposite side of the industry, when you read his articles, you’ll pay attention. Here are some samples from his article Royal Caribbean “Returns” to its Trademarked, Private Fantasy Island of Labadee® – While Haiti Suffers.

The photos are supplied by Royal Caribbean through Mr. Walker. Royal Caribbean probably intended that the photos would be evidence of their worthy response, but we at Barbados Free Press find them totally pathetic…

“In the last few days, Royal Caribbean has made a big deal talking about offloading pallets of food for Haiti. Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas sailed with only 60 cases of food and water  last Friday according to the Royal Caribbean President’s “Nation of Why Not?” blog. That’s just four pallets. The blog has some photographs of the few pallets from the Independence of the Seas – four pallets of flour, tomato sauce, can goods, and water bottles. Four pallets? 

Considering that on a typical seven-day cruise Labadee – Haiti – Royal Caribbean “Private Destination”the cruise ship’s passengers consume over 100,000 pounds of food and 12,000 gallons of alcohol over the course of over a hundred thousand meals- the photograph of the meager provisions sitting on the dock dwarfed by the huge Independence of the Seas seems like a sick joke.”

“Now a million dollars is a lot of money to me and probably anyone reading this article, but it is peanuts for a cruise line like Royal Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean collects around $6,000,000,000 (billion) a year.  And because it registered its business in Liberia and its cruise ships fly the foreign flags of Liberia or the Bahamas, it pays $0 in federal Income taxes. $0.

Why only a million dollars?  That will accomplish little. Even Royal Caribbean’s competitor Carnival promised to send $5 million to Haiti, and it has no relationship with Haiti.  The $6 a passenger deal which Royal Caribbean struck with the leaders of Haiti rips the Haitian people off.  $6 to go into a 260 acre private paradise?  Well established ports in Alaska collect $50 a passenger in head taxes just to step off of the cruise ship.”

Royal Caribbean tosses a few coins to the native swimmers.

“The executives at Royal Caribbean know how to make a hard bargain with Caribbean islands which have little economic bargaining power. CEO Richard Fain cut a deal where for only $6 a passenger (paid by the passenger), Haiti turned over a 260 acre tropical waterfront paradise of Haitian sovereign land for Royal Caribbean to consider it “private property” bearing the trademarked name “Labadee®.” Yes, that’s right.  This is a name that Royal Caribbean trademarked as a variation of the French slave owner Marquis de La’Badie who settled in Haiti in the 1600’s.

Many years ago an article revealed the hypocrisy of this whole endeavor.  Entitled “Fantasy Island:  Royal Carribean Parcels Off a Piece of Haiti,” the article explained that Royal Caribbean began docking in Haiti in January 1986 after the ruthless dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier leased the land to Royal Caribbean.  He thereafter fled to France and the country turned into chaos for the next decade.”

… read the entire article at Jim Walker’s Cruise Law News: Royal Caribbean “Returns” to its Trademarked, Private Fantasy Island of Labadee® – While Haiti Suffers.


Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Disaster, Haiti

Royal Caribbean passengers frolic in Haiti as the screams from the rubble continue

Caribbean Cruise Ship Fleet could save Haitian lives or entertain tourists out of Miami. What did they choose? You guessed it!

Labadee Beach, Haiti

Passengers from the Royal Caribbean cruise ships Independence of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas continue to enjoy themselves at the “five pristine beaches” leased from the Haitian government.

No need to worry about the tourists being bothered by those pesky injured and starving Haitians because the Royal Caribbean beaches are surrounded by 12 foot high fences and armed guards.

Two people pulled from the rubble and brought to the Haiti Rescue clinic Sunday, January 17, 2010. (Click the photo to visit the Haiti Rescue Center blog by missionaries Licia & Enoch Betor.)

And the screams from the rubble? No problem there either: the happy tink of steel pan covers any moans or pleas to help my son who has to have is leg amputated. I guess the fences are far enough from the beaches that the overweight retired whales sunning themselves and downing rum drinks with little bamboo umbrellas won’t see the barbed wire and shotgun toting guards.

You can read the Guardian article yourself and see where Royal Caribbean is saying that 40 pallets of food were dropped off (or maybe “are going to be”) – but many are sickened at the decision by Royal Caribbean to continue with business as usual.

Oh sure, Royal Caribbean did the big press release saying they are going to donate US$1 million and each ship that visits Haiti will drop off a few pallets of beans and rice – a few deck chairs. Whatever they can spare without disrupting the party too much. Considering what they could do, the size of the company and the resources at their disposal it’s much like tossing some coins over the side to watch the happy darkies dive and surface with de big smile for to get de shiny coin.

You think that’s too harsh? Do a little online research about the capabilities of Royal Caribbean and then apply it to the entire industry.

Coins over the side for the happy darkies.

Caribbean Cruise Industry fails to answer the call of humanity

There are only two entities that had the ability to deliver major quantities of food, water, medical supplies and shelter to the Haitian people during the first week of the disaster: The United States military and the Caribbean Cruise Ship industry.

President Obama waved his hand and the might of the United States headed for Haiti. American Special forces teams secured the airport within hours of the earthquake and the airplanes started to arrive shortly thereafter. The US Navy and their helicopters started to arrive before sun-up the next day and a carrier group arrived on day 2.

Say what you will about history, the past US abuses in Haiti, and the concerns of the pundits (but not those trapped in the wreckage) that the US has just invaded again: the bloody Yanks are coming through in Haiti like nobody else can. Donating money is all well and fine, but thousands more will be dead before the money can do any good at all. Those people need supplies and feet on the ground now and the USA has come through in a big way.

Yes, other organisations are loading airplanes and sending them too. The Canadians are on the ground and more are going to arrive tomorrow. The Jamaican military are there or soon will be.

Now consider the cruise ship industry.

The Port of Miami is the world’s largest cruise ship port and it is not unusual to see seven to ten cruises departing in a single day. Royal Caribbean alone operates six super liners from Miami that I can find and they have the infrastructure and personnel in place to stock these ships with military efficiency. (Royal Caribbean operates 42 ships total and owns 25% of the worldwide cruise ship travel market. They are huge.)

Now think about this: On January 22, 2010, the Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas will depart Miami and again head to Labadee Haiti for fun on the beach.

Adam Goldstein, CEO Royal Caribbean - Doing just enough in Haiti to sound good on his blog - Decided that tourists were more important than using the full resources of his company to save more Haitians

Adam Goldstein, CEO Royal Caribbean - Doing just enough in Haiti to sound good on his blog - Decided that tourists were more important than using the full resources of his company to save more Haitians

Will God damn Royal Caribbean & the cruise ship industry?

Here’s what should be done:

The CEO of Royal Caribbean, Adam Goldstein, should order that the January 22 cruise is canceled. Refund the 2,500 passengers or send them to Orlando Disney World or anywhere.

Royal Caribbean should coordinate with the US military who seem to be in charge. Load the Jewel of the Seas with everything it can carry. Ask for medical volunteers from Miami. You’ll get lots. Take the ship full of food, water and medical supplies to the people of Haiti. Anchor it offshore and do what you can for a few days then head back for more, or perhaps fill it full of children and feed and care for them. Think “floating orphanage” or “floating hotel” for the rescue workers.

Anything but depositing more tourists on the beach. Anything but continuing to cruise the Caribbean and Panama Canal with tourists instead of devoting the entire might of the largest cruise ship company in the Caribbean to saving lives now.

Will God damn Royal Caribbean and the rest of the cruise ship industry? I don’t know, but I do. No no doubt the people on the other side of the barbed wire and shotguns at Labadee will too.

Further Reading

Personal Blog of Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein (Hmmm…. no comments on the guest post yet. Maybe the people of the Caribbean can say a few words to Mr. Goldstein and John Weis, Associate Vice President, Private Destinations, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.)


Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Disaster

Where is God? – Trapped & Dying in Haiti text, blog for help as the cell phones come back on

Pray for missionaries Licia & Enoch Betor at Ground Zero in Haiti

If you can take reading her words, seeing her photos: Real Hope for Haiti Rescue Centre blog

“We are asking you to pray about..

  • The Rescue Center location.  The damage is getting worse with each tremor that we have.  We need to make some decisions soon.  The kids have been living and sleeping outside since Tuesday night.  We are thinking a new location that is not far away.
  • Infant formula and food for the kids
  • fuel for generator and vehicles
  • the kids in the RC and my kids peace in their hearts
  • some way to be able to get some Haitian cash.  All banks and places we usually exchange money are closed.

I am a wife and mother to three wonderful and wild boys. I have lived in Haiti since 1995 and run a Rescue Center that houses around 60 children that are sick and suffering from severe forms of malnutrition.”

“I do not pretend to understand the suffering that is happening right now in this country.  I know we all feel like we had had enough over the years.  The staff has come in to work. They are praying for their loves ones in town.  They are hoping for news and believing that they will soon here from them.  Mothers and father are weeping for their lost children.  Children are crying for their lost parents.

One of Enoch’s friends was trapped inside his house with his (the friends) two brothers and his mother.  They all died and people were trying to rescue him.  He kept yelling at them to stop and leave him alone.  He wanted to die with his family.

“They asked what they could drop down to him and he asked for a gun to kill himself.”

The reality is even when the outside world begins arrives what can be done.  Most of the city is damaged and needs to be torn down.  Thousands upon thousands of dead bodies are laying all over the place.  We have heard they are digging huge mass graves in the dump area.”

"We are still having patients coming in from Port-au-Prince, most are from the village out here but just live in town. This boy got here yesterday afternoon. He had been trapped under blocks at his house. His right left was broken in two places. He left leg was smashed below the knee. It was cold and turning black. His father walked into the yard and just fell apart. He lost his wife and four other children. He was so thankful that he was able to pull out the son above. He just wanted to go someplace other that back to Port-au-Prince. Then we had to tell him he had to return to the hell he had just left. He son’s leg needs to be amputated for him to survive."


Filed under Barbados, Building Collapse, Disaster

Haiti destroyed, Airport closed to rescue flights, seaport unusable – How many new Haitian Immigrants is Barbados willing to take?

Anarchy as machete-wielding gangs fight to establish turf, loot.

Obama pledges US$100 million “to start”

US Special Forces Teams seize and secure airport

Two days after the earthquake, current aerial photographs of Haiti show a country a place so utterly destroyed that one wonders if any buildings will be found worth preserving when some assessment is done years from now.

There is no Haitian government emergency response worth talking about. The government and infrastructure were never worth talking about anyway, and I’d bet that the government no longer exists as a real entity. That is the situation being reported from the rubble. Haiti right now is not a country in the organised sense of the word.

Haiti is a place where eight or nine million people are sitting out in the open as aftershocks make it dangerous to seek shelter in any of the damaged buildings still left standing. Most of those who are still alive and trapped deep in the rubble will never see the sun again because it will be weeks before “rescue” teams with heavy equipment and hydraulic jacks make it to them. That’s not me talking, that’s rapidly becoming the message from those in charge of the relief efforts.

Remember how Barbados struggled when one house collapsed into a cave?

We couldn’t rescue five people with everything we had on the island and a special team in from the United States. Now think about Haiti.

(See BFP’s March 17, 2009 article Expert: Arch Cot Cave-In Victims May Have Been Killed By Wrong Decisions, Actions and Inaction By Barbados Emergency Officials)

Reports state that clean water and food are simply not available. Soon even relatively healthy and uninjured people will begin to succumb. If you think that is not what is going to happen, I hope you’re correct. But when I consider what it would take to give every man, woman and child just one bottle of water and a disaster cookie starting tomorrow and every day thereafter… Well, that isn’t going to happen for a few weeks anyway.

The world couldn’t (or wouldn’t) supply every Haitian man, woman and child with a drink of clean water and one meal a day before the earthquake. What makes you think it will happen within a few days now?

Don’t forget: it’s not as if there are warehouses and stores that have adequate supplies if the people could only get to them and dig out what they need. Haiti is was a country were dirt cookies were sold as food right up to the day of the earthquake. Haiti was a country where tons of food aid sat rotting in the sun every day because the charity organisations didn’t have enough money to bribe the government officials to release the containers so the poor could eat. (See BFP’s March 7, 2008 article Tons of food aid rotting in Haiti)

Haiti’s Airport now Closed to Rescue & Aid Flights

(As of Thursday, January 14, 2010 – 22:00 hours local time)

Airport Closed – Port-au-Prince cargo docks “unusable”

“Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) — Rescuers from around the world poured into Haiti, overwhelming its only international airport as the Haitian Red Cross estimated as many as 50,000 people died in the country’s Jan. 12 earthquake.

With little time left to find those still buried in the rubble, rescue teams were stuck at the Port-au-Prince airport and civilian relief flights couldn’t land after its ramps filled with craft, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said in a notice. The airport also lacked fuel for planes to fly home.”

“…the U.S. Coast Guard said cargo docks in Port-au-Prince were unusable.”

… from Business Week article: Global aid pours in as Haiti searches for survivors

How many new Haitian immigrants is Barbados willing to take?

Alright folks, it’s time for Barbados to put up or shut up.

After the world (read “Primarily the United States of America”) saves as many Haitians as can be saved in the next few weeks, then what?

Haiti wasn’t a country that worked to begin with. At this point, it doesn’t really matter why it didn’t work, but merely shipping in food and shelter isn’t going to solve much in the long run. It may take decades to physically rebuild something from the rubble, but unless Haiti and Haitians develop new cultural and social values and skills along the way – unless they learn to be a workable society – the country will continue to be as close to hell on earth as we have in the Western Hemisphere. (And that was before the earthquake)

So here’s a suggestion: The Caribbean community should agree to take 10% of Haiti’s population from the island and to sponsor the immigrants for five years. The number of Haitian immigrants arriving in each country would be based upon that country’s abilities and space, but in total the Caribbean community would see about a million Haitians immigrating to the various member countries for five years.

During those five years, the Caribbean countries would try to teach the Haitians skills and the cultural values that work. This would relieve significant pressure upon the rebuilding of Haiti, and in five years the 10% of the population would return and hopefully be in a better position to move Haiti forward.

If someone has a better suggestion for rebuilding Haiti, I’d like to hear it.

Meanwhile, let’s ask the question of our fellow Bajans…

How many new Haitian immigrants are you willing to bring to Barbados if that’s what it takes to save people and rebuild Haiti as a working society?

Further Reading

You must read this New York Times op/ed: The Underlying Tragedy


Filed under Barbados, Culture & Race Issues, Disaster