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Haitian pastor calls for tolerance

Nearly 200 Hurricane Dorian evacuees currently reside at the former Bahamas Academy gymnasium on Wulff Road. FILE

League of Haitian Pastors President Pastor Jean Paul Charles yesterday called on Bahamians to be a little more tolerant and Christian in their attitude toward Haitians who survived Hurricane Dorian and are now living in government shelters. 

Charles was responding to a recent protest held outside the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium where a group called Operation Sovereign Bahamas called on the government to deport the Haitian migrants inside the shelter.

That protest, made up of a few people, was spearheaded by Adrian Francis.

“There’s all kind of flights leaving to go to Haiti,” Francis said.

“There are all kind of boats. For the most part, the job is this: we can repatriate.”

In a video of the demonstration, a protestor shouted, “We want y’all out our country.”

When contacted yesterday, Charles said, “I heard that Operation Sovereign Bahamas was led by a pastor, and I say to myself, God always gives pastors a shepherd’s heart to see Christ before anything else.”

Francis is a senior pastor at Global Life Ministries in New Providence. 

Charles added: “We understand the reason that they feel the need to protest, and it’s their rights.

“However, we ask that they be in touch with Christianity, and try to be a little more tolerant.”

He added that the government is being as compassionate as it can in the face of local and international pressure in the storm’s aftermath. 

“The government feeds them,” he said.

“They put the police force there, social service and shelter them.

“This storm and everything it has brought is unprecedented. Thus, it is best that no one rush to judgement. 

“The government is compassionate. There is no doubt about it.”

He said the League of Haitian Pastors had a meeting with Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, which gave them an opportunity to hear his views. 

Charles said: “He (Minnis) has a big heart, but he has to listen to the Bahamians who put him in power.”

As of two weeks ago, 777 storm victims were still living in hurricane shelters, and it is unclear when these shelters will close down. 

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