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Barbadians have been urged to help fund return tickets for 15 Haitians who visited Barbados in search of a better life, but fell on hard times, according to local news reports Sunday.
Barbados Today reported that almost all of the men said that they were the victims of a scam.
They are said to have paid between US $2500 and 3000, to an agency in Haiti, with the assurance they would receive accommodation and jobs when they landed in Barbados.
However, upon arrival, they found out that the promises were all lies, since they found no jobs, had to pay for accommodation and exhausted their finances, Barbados Today reported.
According to the newspaper, the Haitians were evicted by landlord Anthony Mayers, who was quoted as saying that he was fed up with the condition the four-bedroom house was being kept in.
The landlord also complained that while he charged the men BDS $1300 including light and water, within one month, the water bill had reached BDS$1200.
After they were put on the streets, the Haitians were rescued by former Government Senator and Chairman of the National Assistance Board (NAB), Dr David Durant, who took them to his Restoration Ministries Church where they were accommodated and fed until they were moved to the Salvation Army hostel.
Durant who accompanied the men to the Hostel, told Barbados Today that one kindhearted Barbadian has pledged to bring BDS$1 500 to assist with the purchasing of return tickets, and he has already donated food items.
“So it seems like Barbadians would help these young people, because we are all CARICOM, and we are not that uncaring a nation. I am glad for the response so far. We will continue to monitor them, we will continue to give, and we will stand with the Salvation Army in helping them through the process,” Durant said.
Through a translator, the young men thanked Barbados Ambassador to Caricom, David Comissiong, Durant, and the Salvation Army for the assistance they have been given thus far. Initially, several of them were concerned that they were taken to the Salvation Army hostel to be deported.
However, relaxed faces appeared when Comissiong assured them that they were on the island legally, but warned them that they were prohibited from working, according to reports.
While making it clear that the young men are not in Barbados illegally, having been granted six months to stay on the island as visitors, Ambassador Comissiong said the appeal for financial support to purchase return tickets for members of the group, is still in effect.
He said it would cost approximately BDS $600 to send one person back to their homeland since most of their tickets have expired.
Comissiong was quoted as saying that the money for the return tickets is going to have to come in from relatives in Haiti, who may very well not have the money, or through the generousity of the Barbadian people.