Remarks by
Jean Ricot Dormeus
Launch of Association of Haitian Nationals in Guyana (AHNIG)

September 29, 2019

Distinguished compatriots,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is such a pleasure to have you here today and to make history by launching the Association of Haitian Nationals in Guyana (AHNIG).

When I arrived in Georgetown over 5 years ago, I enquired if there was any Haitian national I could link up with. The response I got from my Guyanese friends was that there were just a few of them, especially professionals, including a pastor from the Salvation Army. Figuring this out took me a couple of years until the arrival of my colleague Jhonson. Then, at some point, Jhonson and I were called upon to assist in a few cases stemming from miscommunication due to language barrier and lack of support for the newcomers.

I also linked up with Mark Jacobs, a great Guyanese, who lived in Haiti for several months following the earthquake in 2010 just to express solidarity. Mark is a Guyanese by birth and a Haitian at heart, as he fell in love with our history, our culture, our cuisine and our art.

As I could connect with a few immigrants and other expats, we came up with the initiative to establish the AHNIG on the heels of the Declaration of Pegasus adopted on April 7, 2019. Thus, Haitian nationals come together to make better contributions to the Guyanese society and to facilitate interactions with authorities. Further, the association would be a choice space for mutual service, promotion of continuing education and hard work.

The AHNIG idea blossomed out of the importance we attach to unity. As we all know in unity, there is strength.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover the natural affinity between Haitians and Guyanese. Last January I was visiting Washington DC and was introduced to a compatriot working as a security agent for a reputable organization. When he heard I was based in Guyana, he told me: “my wife is a Guyanese from Berbice. We plan to visit shortly.” At the same time, I realized that several other compatriots in the US and elsewhere would have formed families with Guyanese.

Let me also share with you the delight I experienced when most of the Guyanese public opinion extended empathy and support for the small Haitian community in the face of unwelcoming and unfounded comments. This expression of fraternity means that while we live in this country, we have a duty to work for its well-being and prosperity. We have a duty to develop ourselves and improve our skills. We have a duty to uphold the law, love and peace.

Mes chers compatriotes,

L’Association des Haïtiens vivant au Guyana illustre bien le résultat merveilleux qui couronne le travail en équipe, une vision commune et surtout la volonté de servir et d’être des gardiens de nos frères et soeurs. En l’espace de quelques mois, nous avons produit la Déclaration de Pegasus, mis au point les statuts d’AHNIG, et érigé une structure d’appui aux ressortissants haïtiens. Nous avons aussi forgé ou renforcé des connections et surmonté des défis qui menaçaient notre unité et notre coopération.

Nous avons investi temps, énergie et ressources pour donner vie à AHNIG parce que nous ne pouvons nous améliorer et progresser qu’ensemble, loin des tentations de nous isoler ou de faire bande à part. Je voudrais féliciter tous ceux qui ont contribué à cette oeuvre, en particulier Jean Alexandre, Jhonson Alexandre, Gary Joseph, Pierre Eric Jean et Ceran Elysee et leurs familles.

Cet arbre communautaire que nous avons mis en terre, nous devrons le protéger par un travail assidu de désherbage, d’arrosage et de fertilisation. La réunion d’aujourd’hui n’est pas une fin, mais un commencement. Nous récolterons des fruits à la fin d’une saison de labeur persévérant.

Frèm ak sèm yo,

Sonje nou kite lakay pou bezwen. Pou nou jwenn sa nap chache ya, fòk nou fòme têt nou, etidye, viv byen avèk tout moun e priye youn pou lòt. An patikilye, fòk nou kwè ke demen ap pi bon. Avèk gras Bon Dye, bon jan atitid ak konpòtman, nap rive lwen et nap ka ede lakay nan tout sans.

Mèsi. Ke Bon Dye beni nou tout!

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