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Haitian Pres. Michel Martelly's Speech at Brooklyn College Draws Protesters

Some gather to hear speech, some to speak out.

Haitian President Michel Martelly, in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, spoke at Brooklyn College Wednesday night drawing a crowd of supporters and protesters.

The protesters were primarily upset about fees placed on money sent to the country and on incoming international phone calls.

Some of the signs carried by protesters read:

  • "Solidarity yes, occupation no"
  • "Clinton shame on you"
  • "Miki where is my phone?"

U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Pamela White told Patch, "The president is using the extra [money] to fund education for all, so it's a good thing."

Allen Kavanagh, a Haitian American accompanying the ambassdor said, "I was surprised to see this protest, he's using the money to finance education, but this is a very small minority of Haitians."

Reginald Belon, a Haitian American from Flatbush and political science major at Queens College whose parents were born in Haiti, was disappointed at not being able to get in.

"I came to get inside to see him speak but I didn't know you need to have a ticket."

But Belon was more disturbed by the attitude displayed by some of those who had gathered.

"When was the last time a Haitian President spoke in New York? Haitians are crazy. I support him 100 percent. He will go down as one of the best presidents Haiti has ever had. He's building roads, he's building houses. On his Facebook page he shows you all he's doing."

"Everybody has haters, these are his," Belon said.

Hugues Girard September 27, 2012 at 03:20 AM
What kind of questions did you ask U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Pamela White? Is she aware President Martelly is collecting the money illegally? Haiti's Constitution does NOT give him the right to collect taxes. Is she aware that Martelly has not accounted for the money he's collected. He has not said how much he has collected so far or where the money is. That fits the definition of theft.
DOMINIC CODIO September 27, 2012 at 07:31 PM
The Haitian Diaspora needs to know that they are the true power of their country sending over $1.6 billion annually to the impoverished nation. The money has to be delivered bilaterally to those communities in need and not via potentially corrupt channels. In other words, get on a plane, see what's going on, and do something about it!!!
Pierre.. M September 27, 2012 at 11:18 PM
To add does she know about the school teachers who don't get pay since Martelly took office .President Martelly is willing to buy (Rices and other every day food ) from where ever instead of helping the haitian'sfarmers Pamela need to remember the whole wrold is watching her
Caitlin Nolan September 28, 2012 at 02:12 AM
@Hugues @Pierre @Dominic -- Thank you for commenting. My time with the Ambassador was very brief, but if I get the chance to speak with her again I'll be sure to raise these concerns.

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