Category Archives: Caribbean News

Daily regional news summary from Cuba!: The source for the latest news throughout Cuba and Caribbean.

Life Fitness and Smart Fit celebrate partnership to equip 450 gyms in three years

SAO PAULO, May 20, 2019 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Life Fitness will equip 450 Smart Fit gyms by the end of 2021 in the region. With more than 600 units distributed in Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Dominican Republic, Peru, Colombia, Argentina and Ecuador, Smart Fit grew 34% last year, reaching 2 million customers.

Life Fitness - Smart Fit Image 1

For the next three years, the company’s goal is to continue to grow in the region. Among the plans is the purchase of equipment for 600 units, between new facilities and refresh. “In order to continue to grow strongly, we needed a solid and robust company to be our partner in almost every unit of this Latam expansion. With Life Fitness, we have achieved the reliability to go through this process and fulfill our purpose of fitness’ democratization on high standards,” says Thiago Somera, Infrastructure director of the Bio Ritmo Group, of which the Smart Fit network is part.

“Smart Fit is one of our most important customers worldwide and I am sure that both sides will continue to put our best efforts to make this agreement an enduring and evolving partnership,” said Joel Pigott, vice president of Life Fitness for North and Latin America.

Considered as key accounts, the major fitness networks, such as Smart Fit, has a relevant representation on Life Fitness’ revenue. “It is a milestone in our partnership and we are delighted to be part of Bio Ritmo/Smart Fit group expansion, with great impact in the fitness industry in the entire Latin America,” says Pedro Goyn, general director of Life Fitness for Latin America.

About Life Fitness
A world leader in commercial fitness equipment, Life Fitness has for more than 50 years the mission of encouraging people to seek active lives. With its global headquarters in Chicago, Life Fitness manufactures and distributes cardiovascular, strength, group training, rehabilitation, billiard tables and accessories, and gaming furniture in more than 160 countries – in Brazil, it has a subsidiary since 1999 and already has stores in almost the entire country. Since 1968, when Lifecycle, the first electronic product of exercise equipment was invented, Life Fitness is dedicated to creating solutions that benefit both gyms and practitioners. Over the last few decades, concerns and innovations in the world of physical activity have completely changed, and Life Fitness has evolved together. Our family, made up of the brands Hammer Strength, Cybex, Indoor Cycling Group (ICG), SCIFIT and Brunswick Billiards, understands that exercise is an important part of daily routine and the best way to know everything we can about our products and solutions Fitness is utilizing them every day. Helping people live healthier lives is what we do, and devotion to that goal begins with our co-workers.

About Smart Fit
With 2 million customers in 10 years of activities, the Smart Fit Fitness Network has 600 units distributed throughout Brazil and Mexico, Chile, Dominican Republic, Peru, Colombia, Argentina and Ecuador. Created with the purpose of democratizing access to the practice of high-level physical activity, it offers accessible plans, with monthly fees starting at R$ 69.90, and facilitated membership. The brand is part of the Bio Ritmo Group, the 4th largest network in units in the last five years and the 5th in the ranking of the brands that most evolved in the same period, according to IHRSA’s 2017 global report. More information at

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Top 10 Caribbean Countries For US Visa Overstays

Compiled By Jordan Bowles

Fri. May 17th, 2019:
Over 42,000 Caribbean nationals from across the region
overstayed their non-immigrant visas and stayed on in the US between October
2017 and September 2018.

according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s
2018 “Fiscal Year Entry/Exit Overstay Report.” The US overstay data for the
last fiscal year takes into account all foreign nationals who entered a US port
legally using a temporary visitor, business or student visa or as part of the
visa waiver program.

“An overstay,” is defined as “a
nonimmigrant who was lawfully admitted to the United States for an authorized
period but stayed in the United States beyond his or her authorized admission
period.” DHS classifies individuals as overstays by using the ADIS system to
match departure and status change records to arrival records collected during
the admission process and further identifies nonimmigrant status through manual
vetting processes to support possible enforcement action.

These are the top 10 nations in the Caribbean with the most US visa overstays for the last fiscal year:

Dominican Republic -14,641

Jamaica -10,626

Haiti – 6,917

Guyana – 3,220

Cuba – 1,868

The Bahamas -1,545

Trinidad and Tobago -811

Barbados -757

Belize – 603

St. Lucia -318

the US DHS said there were 666,582 overstays from
around the world.

The post Top 10 Caribbean Countries For US Visa Overstays appeared first on Caribbean and Latin America Daily News.

These Caribbean Americans Want To Replace Jumaane Williams On The New York City Council

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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. May 10, 2019: Several Caribbean-born and
Caribbean roots New Yorkers are among the Democratic candidates vying to replace
Jumaane Williams on the New York City Council.

Williams, son of Grenadian immigrants,
was recently elected public advocate of New York City, leaving his city on the
City Council now vacant. A special election to fill his 45th
councilmatic seat is set for May 14th.

Among those in the race are:

Jamaican-born L. Rickie Tulloch, a senior director at NYC Health
and Hospital, Office of Facilities Development. His top three issues are: creating
and preserving affordable housing; improving schools and employment
opportunities and advocating for criminal justice reform.

Trinidad and Tobago-born Anthony Alexis, who is also listed as unemployed. His
top three issues are: creating a rental voucher; eliminating Tax Lein Sales and
jobs and Job Training Programs.

Victor Jordan, a Guyana-born economist, says his
top three issues are to Protect community residents from displacement, formulate
plan to stop foreclosures and employment, housing and equitable school

Haitian American Farah Louis, who is currently unemployed but was Williams’ former deputy chief-of-staff and budget director. Her top issues are: preserving and expanding affordable housing, investing in education and supporting economic development and jobs.

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Monique Chandler-Waterman, the daughter of Jamaican and
Barbadian immigrants, also lists no occupation at the moment but the former
non-profit director’s top three issues are affordable housing, education and public

Jovia Radix, an attorney, is the daughter of
Barbadian and Grenadian immigrants and is also Brooklyn Regional Director for
NYS Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Her top three issues are: affordable housing, better
public schools and improving the quality of life.

Xamayla Rose, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants,
is currently Managing Director, Policy & Advocacy, CRCEC and former Policy
Analyst, Office of the Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. Her top
issues identified are fighting for affordable neighbourhoods; quality education
for children in the district and supporting immigrant communities.

The 45th district encompasses
East Flatbush, Flatbush, Flatlands, Marine Park and Midwood. More than 188,000
people live in the district, of which about 61 percent are either Caribbean
Americans or African Americans.

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‘I’m F*cked’Cop Told 911 Dispatcher After Killing St. Lucian Immigrant

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. May 3, 2019: “‘I’m F*cked.” That’s that then cop Amber Guyger told a 911 dispatcher after killing St. Lucian immigrant Botham Jean in his Dallas apartment.

A Dallas TV station obtained the audio recording of the 911 call made by now-former Dallas police officer after she shot and killed the PwC accountant in his apartment. She also repeatedly told the dispatcher that she thought she was entering her apartment.

Guyger, 30, is scheduled to go on trial for Jean’s murder beginning in September.

Guyger, who had just finished a shift but was still in full uniform, reportedly shot Jean once in the chest on the night of Sept. 6, 2018. According to published reports, Jean was sitting on his couch watching football before he was shot.

In the audio recording, you can hear her tell Jean, “Get up, man” before the dispatcher answers the call. In a panicked voice, Guyger told the dispatcher that she was an off-duty officer and she needed EMS and the police sent to apartment No. 1478 at 1210 South Lamar. Guyger then said she thought she was in her apartment and she “shot a guy, thinking it was my apartment.”

Here’s an excerpt from that conversation:

Amber Guyger: Hi, this is an off-duty officer. Umm, can I get, I need EMS, umm, I’m in number, umm.

Dispatcher: Do you need police as well or just EMS?

Guyger: Yes, I need both.

Dispatcher: OK, what’s the address?

Guyger: Fuck. I’m at apartment number 1478. I’m in 1478.

Dispatcher: And what’s the address there?

Guyger: Umm it’s 1210 South Lamar, 1478, yeah, I…

Dispatcher: What’s going on?

Guyger: I’m an off-duty officer. I thought I was in my apartment and I shot a guy thinking that he was, thinking it was my apartment.

Dispatcher: You shot someone?

Guyger: Yes, I thought it was my apartment. I’m fucked. Oh my god. [To Jean] I’m sorry.

Dispatcher: Where are you at right now?

Guyger: I’m in. What do you mean? I’m inside the apartment with him. [To Jean] Hey, come on, man.

Dispatcher: What’s your name?

Guyger: I’m Amber Guyger. I need, get me. I’m in.

Dispatcher: OK, we have help on the way.

Guyger: I know but I’m, I’m going to lose my job. I thought it was my apartment.

Dispatcher: OK.

Guyger: [To Jean] Hey man.

Dispatcher: Hold on.

Guyger: Fuck.

Dispatcher: OK, stay with me. OK?

Guyger: I am. I am. I’m going to need a supervisor.

Guyger: [To Jean] Hey bud. Hey bud. Hey bud. Come on. [To dispatcher] Oh fuck. I thought it was my apartment.

Dispatcher: I understand. We have help on the way.

Guyger: I thought it was my apartment. Hurry. Please.

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Carnival Corporation’s AIDAnova First Ship to be Supplied with LNG in Mediterranean

MIAMI, April 26, 2019 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), the world’s largest leisure travel company, its Germany-based AIDA Cruises brand and numerous representatives from politics, port-related businesses and tourism today celebrated the first-time arrival of the world’s first cruise ship powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Barcelona.

Upon arrival in Europe’s biggest cruise port, AIDAnova – the newest vessel from AIDA Cruises, Germany’s leader in cruising – was fueled for the first time in the Mediterranean with LNG, the world’s cleanest burning fossil fuel. Currently, alongside Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona is the second start-and- end destination for AIDAnova’s seven-day cruises in the Mediterranean. With Carnival Corporation’s partnership with Shell Western LNG B.V. (Shell), the cruise ship will be regularly supplied with LNG at the Spanish metropolis.

Commissioned on Dec. 12, 2008, with four dual-fuel engines and three gas tanks on board, AIDAnova is the world’s first cruise ship that will be operated in port and at sea with low-emission liquefied natural gas. Emissions of particulate matter and sulfur oxides are eliminated almost completely, while nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide emissions are sustainably reduced. Two of the tanks each have a length of around 35 meters, a diameter of 8 meters and a capacity of 1,550 cubic meters. A third, smaller tank with a diameter of 5 meters, is 28 meters long and has a capacity of approximately 520 cubic meters.

It has been over 10 years since Carnival Corporation and AIDA Cruises started investing in LNG propulsion technology. Two additional ships of this new AIDA generation will join the AIDA fleet in 2021 and 2023. Carnival Corporation leads the industry with the adoption of LNG, with a total of 10 next-generation “green” cruise ships able to be powered by LNG in port and at sea on order with delivery dates between 2019 and 2025.

Highlights onboard AIDAnova, which marks an exciting new generation of ships for AIDA Cruises, include new culinary and entertainment offerings such as the Time Machine Restaurant, a street food mile with culinary treats and a floating TV studio. Guests can also enjoy the popular 360-degree Theatrium, the Four Elements adventure deck, complete with three water slides and a climbing garden under the dome of a retractable glass roof and the Beach Club for relaxing on board. AIDAnova also features a 3,500-square meter large wellness area, an outdoor fitness studio, a penthouse suite with two decks, individual staterooms, 17 restaurants and 23 bars.

Until the beginning of November 2019, AIDAnova will be sailing seven-day cruises, calling at some of the Germans’ most popular travel destinations in the Mediterranean – Civitavecchia (Rome), La Spezia (Florence), Marseille and Barcelona.

All of AIDAnova’s current cruises can be booked at travel agencies, by calling the AIDA Customer Center at +49 (0)381/202 707 07 or at

AIDAnova’s Technical Data:
Shipyard: Meyer Werft, Papenburg (Germany) 
Keel laying: September 4, 2017 
Commissioning: December 12, 2018 
Length: 337 meters 
Width: 42 meters 
Max. draft: 8.80 m 
Gross tonnage: 183,900 GT 
Decks: 20 
Number of staterooms: 2,626 (21 different stateroom varieties) 
Restaurants: 17 
Bars: 23 
Crew: approx. 1,500

Note for media:
A Photo Gallery of AIDAnova is available here:

About AIDA Cruises 
AIDA Cruises is one of the fastest growing and most successful tourism businesses in Germany. The company employs about 12,500 people from more than 50 countries on land and on board AIDA ships. AIDA Cruises operates one of the world’s most state-of-the-art fleets, comprised of 13 cruise ships. 
Two new LNG cruise ships built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg (Germany) will join the fleet by 2023. More information at 

About Carnival Corporation & plc
Carnival Corporation & plc is the world’s largest leisure travel company and among the most profitable and financially strong in the cruise and vacation industries, with a portfolio of nine of the world’s leading cruise lines. With operations in North America, Australia, Europe and Asia, its portfolio features Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn, P&O Cruises (Australia), Costa Cruises, AIDA Cruises, P&O Cruises (UK) and Cunard.

Together, the corporation’s cruise lines operate 104 ships with 243,000 lower berths visiting over 700 ports around the world, with 19 new ships scheduled to be delivered through 2025. Carnival Corporation & plc also operates Holland America Princess Alaska Tours, the leading tour company in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon. Traded on both the New York and London Stock Exchanges, Carnival Corporation & plc is the only group in the world to be included in both the S&P 500 and the FTSE 100 indices.

With a long history of innovation and providing guests with extraordinary vacation experiences, Carnival Corporation has received thousands of industry awards – including recognition by the Consumer Technology Association™ as a CES® 2019 Innovation Awards Honoree for the OceanMedallion™. A revolutionary wearable device that contains a proprietary blend of communication technologies, the OceanMedallion enables the world’s first interactive guest experience platform transforming vacation travel on a large scale into a highly personalized level of customized service. The prestigious CES Innovation Awards honor outstanding design and engineering in consumer technology products.

Additional information can be found on and

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Equisoft Driving Digital Transformation for Caribbean Insurance Leader Family Guardian – Starting with Live OIPA Solution

MONTREAL, April 23, 2019 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Equisoft, a global provider of digital business solutions for the insurance and wealth industries, proudly announced today the successful implementation of the Oracle Insurance Policy Administration (OIPA) system for Family Guardian Insurance Company, a leading insurer in The Bahamas. The firm is also spearheading a number of other core and front-end system integrations to help the Caribbean insurer become more competitive in the Bahamian market.

An OIPA system to start the New Year

Equisoft integration teams ensured that Family Guardian went live with its fully integrated OIPA platform earlier this year. In addition to replacing the legacy platform, the project encompassed data migration by Universal Conversion Technologies, an Equisoft subsidiary.

“We are very excited with these new technological developments and how they will create efficiencies and enhanced service delivery for our customers,” says Family Guardian President, Glen O. A. Ritchie, CPA.

More implementations planned

Equisoft has also been mandated by Family Guardian to modernize a number of front-end tools over the next few years.

“Working as a strategic partner for Family Guardian allows us to develop effective solutions that better address future business and digital challenges,” says Ruben Veerasamy, Vice President, Consulting & Account Management at Equisoft. “Adding Family Guardian to our already prestigious list of customers makes us extremely proud, and we are committed to continue to build a strong presence in the Caribbean.”

About Family Guardian Insurance Company

Family Guardian was founded in 1965 and for more than 50 years, has helped Bahamians plan for their future with a broad range of life insurance and investment products offered through its three sales divisions: Home Service, Financial Services and Group Life and Health. With nine sales offices in New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco, Exuma and Eleuthera, Family Guardian also has resident sales representatives in Andros, Long Island, Cat Island, San Salvador and Acklins. Family Guardian is a wholly-owned subsidiary of FamGuard Corporation Limited, a publicly traded company listed with the Bahamas International Securities Exchange (BISX). Website:

About Equisoft

Founded in 1994, Equisoft is a global provider of advanced digital solutions in life insurance and wealth management. Recognized as a valued partner by over 50 of the world’s leading financial institutions in 15 countries, Equisoft offers innovative front-end applications, extensive back office services and a unique data migration expertise. The firm’s industry-leading products include CRM, financial needs analysis, asset allocation, quotes and illustrations, electronic application, agency management systems, as well as customer, agent and broker portals. Equisoft is also Oracle’s main global partner for the Oracle Insurance Policy Administration platform. With its business-driven approach, deep industry knowledge, state-of-the-art technology, and a growing team of over 375 specialized resources based in the USA, Canada, Latin America, South Africa and India, Equisoft helps financial institutions tackle any challenge in this new era of digital disruption. Website:

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Haitian National Jailed For Identity Theft

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri.
April 19, 2019:
An undocumented Haitian national
will have to spend the next two years in federal prison for aggravated identity

to court documents, in 2007, Alain Nezius, 36, was deported from the US to
Haiti following multiple convictions for possession of cocaine, delivery of
cocaine, and possession of cocaine with the intent to sell or deliver it. He,
however, illegally returned to the United States after being deported and has a
current outstanding order of removal with the Department of Homeland Security.

illegally re-entering the United States, Nezius assumed his deceased brother’s
identity and obtained a Florida driver license in his brother’s name. On April
17, 2018, Nezius attached and submitted his own photo with an application to
renew his brother’s U.S. passport.

The U.S.
Department of State recognized that the alleged passport applicant was deceased
and that the submitted photograph did not match the previous photographs
associated with the passport. On the passport application, Nezius represented
himself to be his deceased brother, who was a naturalized U.S. citizen. Nezius
had pleaded guilty on January 29, 2019 but was only sentenced this week.

places a high priority on investigating document and benefit fraud,” said
acting Miami Field Office Director Michael W. Meade. “The U.S. passport is
one of the most coveted travel documents in the world. Illegal aliens who
fraudulently acquire U.S. passports threaten our national security.”

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19 Caribbean Nations Named As Money Laundering Jurisdictions

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. April 5, 2019: While Caribbean businesses and nationals struggle daily to complete cross border global money transfers to pay for business and individual expenses overseas, the US has again named several Caribbean nations as money laundering destinations.

Nineteen Caribbean jurisdictions have been named in the US State Department’s March 2018 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report on money Laundering. They are:

Antigua and Barbuda


The Bahamas Barbados


The British Virgin Islands

The Cayman Islands




The Dominican Republic




Sint Maarten,

Saint Kitts and Nevis

Saint Lucia

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines


Trinidad and Tobago

Except for Grenada, the list remains the same from the 2017 report.

The US also slammed the economic citizenship programs of many countries, including in the Caribbean, as being vulnerable to money laundering activity, adding that “U.S. law enforcement is increasingly concerned about the expansion of these programs due to the visa-free travel and ability to open bank accounts accorded to these individuals.”

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Grupo Therrestra Continues To Lead Construction In The Caribbean With A New Project In Jamaica Of 957 Rooms

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, March 25, 2019 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Grupo Therrestra, under the leadership of Engineer Hugo Pérez Ovalles, continues to intensify its presence throughout the entire Caribbean region with the execution of the new project “Ocean Coral Spring by H10 Hotels.” This project represents a new sign of success for the group which specializes in Design, Construction and Supervision, recognized in the region for executing tourism projects of the most demanding and high end hotel chains in the world with quality and within a short period of time.

For the New Ocean Coral Spring, Therrestra will employ values that characterize the organization, which are: talent, adaptability and the confidence that H10 Hotels placed for the development of 957 rooms to be executed in two phases with a total of approximately 120,000 m2 of construction.

The first phase, with 75,000 m2 of construction, will conclude by the end of 2019 and will have 513 rooms in an urbanized environment with an impressive main building which has a great Gastronomic offer, Theaters, Convention Center, Bowling area and others. Will also have a luxurious Spa and other 14 service buildings to enrich the experience.

The second phase, with 45,000 m2 of construction and 444 rooms will be the ideal environment for adults and it is scheduled to open by the end of 2020. Will have a main building and a lobby along with thematic restaurants and other specialized suitable areas for an environment to rest and relaxation.

The president of the Group, Hugo Pérez Ovalles, is thankful for the confidence deposited in Therrestra by the hotel chain, affirming its commitment with the development of high-quality projects and to continue being an ally of the tourism sector with the execution of hotel projects that exalt the Caribbean as an elite destination.

Satisfied with the projects carried out to date and grateful for this new challenge, Perez Ovalles confirmed that “The new Ocean Coral Spring by H10 Hotels is called to be a World Leader in tourism in the Caribbean and we are proud to be part of this initiative.”

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Haitian-Americans Weigh In On Ongoing Strife In Homeland USA, LLC
 Reported By Jordan Bowles

News Americas

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Mar. 22, 2019: Haitians in the U.S. Diaspora are weighing in on the ongoing strife in their homeland even as the country’s Parliament on Monday triggered another crisis by voting to oust the prime minister after only six months on the job.

The vote comes on the heels of weeks of renewed protests in the French Caribbean island nation over the alleged misuse of funds from the PetroCaribe agreement with Venezuela. Protests were so violent that several nations, including the US and Canada, issued ‘do not travel’ warnings while several were killed.

Billyne Francois, a South Florida-based, 23-year-old Haitian-American CEO, poet and on-air radio host, feels the root of the problem in Haiti lies in a lack of real leadership.

She also feels strongly that there needs to be more investment in the nation of Haiti and the laying of a stronger foundation for Haitians to build on. USA, LLC

“Haiti needs to get rid of foreign influences,” Francois, who is unafraid to use her platform to address important issues around the country, told News Americas. “Haiti has a lot of economic greatness, but no one ever sees it. Most of the crime is in the capital, and the government is corrupt…the inflation is hurting the economy and is causing a depression in Haiti.”

Semline Delva, 25, a Haitian-American program coordinator of Leadership and Civic Engagement at Kennesaw State University, agrees somewhat but feels the key is education.

If the Haitian government provides access to free, quality education to those who want to learn, this will give the people the leadership skills and experience needed to have leaders who can initiate positive change to improve the overall infrastructure of Haiti, Delva told News Americas.

“When people protest, they are looking for a space to be heard,” she added. “People are tired of broken promises, they are tired of the turmoil…and they are asking: ‘can the government help me?’”

She agrees with Francois that Haiti also needs to hire its own talent. “Haiti needs to buy back their resources, and … hire people from Haiti, instead of relying on other resources,” Delva said.

Mira Leon, a 20-year-old recent college graduate from Florida Atlantic University, who was raised in Haiti before moving to the U.S., feels personally connected to what is occurring in her home country.

She feels that Haitians in Haiti are suffering and because they feel like they are not being heard or cared for and continue to retaliate the only way they know how – taking to the streets in protest.

“We suffer as a people, but all the stuff happening makes it seem as if we’re complacent and not focused on our liberation,” Leon stated. We have terrible infrastructure, but there’s no hesitation to riot and destroy buildings that we ultimately have to clean up. As a country we face corruption like everyone else, but there’s a way to do things…we cannot move forward if we play an active role in holding ourselves back.”

But as the Diaspora watches in frustration, Haiti, a country of almost 11 million continues to spiral between constant leadership changes, protests, natural disasters and ongoing allegations of corruption in leadership. And despite having a viable tourist industry and with millions in aid and remittance pouring in annually, Haiti remains one of the world’s poorest countries and the poorest in the Americas region, with a GDP per capita at PPP US$1,200, a debt burden of 2.762 billion and with rising poverty, poor infrastructure, lack of health care and lack of education.

So what’s the solution? Perhaps as Francois states, it lies with the Haitian people who already have the kind of mindset in place that will help them achieve success. All that is missing now is someone in a position of leadership who knows how to invest in the nation of Haiti, lay a strong foundation and then build off of it.

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