By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
A SPOKESPERSON for the United Haitian Community Front says government has agreed to waive fees associated with replacing documents of people who lost all belongings due to Hurricane Dorian.
According to Louby Georges yesterday, the organisation has also been asked to help the government dispel falsehoods that portray negatively on Bahamian-Haitian relations. He noted allegations that Bahamians killing Haitians by fire was one of the more gruesome rumours that those in the community had been working to debunk.
He told The Tribune these matters among others were discussed during a courtesy call yesterday with Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis at the Office of the Prime Minister on West Bay Street.
He said: “We were generally concerned about how documentation would go about. The government said that those that would have already been documented into the system, with work permits and other sorts of legal status, that the government was going to waive the fees for the replacements for those individuals and we think that was a good thing, that was one of the major concerns.
“If you need to go to the registrar general for example, people who were born here or maybe marriage certificates whatever, they would waive the fees for evacuees who registered with social services and immigration fees to replace, let’s say, a lost work permit.
“The government also said that there were checks and balances to try to detect fraud and we know that that may also come.
“We are willing to assist the government in whatever way they see fit even if it is just educating on how processes will go.”
Mr Georges said the group requested a meeting with the prime minister because its members had been presented with many questions that they were not comfortable answering.
“We as a unit we have been inundated with questions and so we wanted to put forward the questions to relevant individuals and so the more relevant one would be the prime minister. “We didn’t want to start answering people and putting stuff out there that isn’t confirmed.
“We also wanted to do what any person would do and that is to formerly introduce the committee to him to make ourselves available to the government so that they would know there was a committee that was able and ready to work along with the government in any way that they would see fit.
“One of the things that we agreed that we could help with and we’ve been trying to help with is dispelling a lot of the myths and fake news that is out there.
“For example, the one where persons were claiming that Bahamians were burning Haitians, which we know to be a lie. You know the government side brought that up and asked if we could assist with that in calming things down and keeping things cool. So we would help with that and point things out to them to dispel negative rumours.”
He said the government’s six-month construction ban on The Mudd and Pigeon Peas shanty towns was also discussed. The group has no issues with this matter, Mr Georges said yesterday.