NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Haitian migrants in The Bahamas are struggling to cope with joblessness and limited access to aid during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to President of the League of Haitian Pastors Dr Jean Paul yesterday.
In an interview with Eyewitness News, Paul indicated that the church has not received any reports of a positive case in the community.
He noted that members in the community often use bush medicine as a treatment for illnesses and as prevention for any possible spread.
However, Paul underscored Haitian migrants have been dealt a serious economic blow with the lockdown measures making it difficult for people to work and provide for their families.
“The Haitian community is not doing too good for right now because of the pandemic,” he said.
“We all know a good number of them are not working.
“And also, they are not benefiting from the program in The Bahamas. It’s a little tough in the Haitian community.
“We would have received calls…people asking for whatever we can.
“I think the Haitian community, not only the pastors, but the community at large, we share whatever we can as far as whatever they get.”
In March, during the first wave of COVID-19 cases, the government had urged the Haitian community to immediately come forward with information about symptoms or possible exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) regardless of legal status.
Materials were prepared and translated in creole to be disseminated to the Haitian community to ensure they adhere not only to the health principles but also to the curfews that were being proposed.
Paul said residents in the Haitian community, particularly shantytowns, have continued to try to follow social distancing protocols.
“At the same time, you can’t control anybody,” he added.
He said as the churches prepare to reopen, the proper requirements and protocols will be implemented to ensure mask-wearing, sanitizing, and social distancing are being adhered to.