Gov’t preparing legal reception for nearly 50 Haitian orphans Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

The Government of Jamaica is working out arrangements that will enable Jamaica to legally receive just under 50 orphans from Haiti for care by local charity organisation Mustard Seed Communities, in light of ongoing unrest in the neighbouring country.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, provided an update on the matter during Wednesday’s (March 13) post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House.

“They have had children die on their way to try to get medical care… and, therefore, we are trying to work on the way to legally receive, for care by Mustard Seed Communities, this defined grouping of orphans; and we are hopeful that there will be some progress in that,” she said.

Senator Johnson Smith cited a report which she said, “seems to be of the impression that Jamaica was opening our borders to all Haitian orphans, or all persons claiming to be Haitian orphans or accompanying them”, emphasising that “that is not at all the case”.

“There is an orphanage that is run by a private charity in Haiti that cares for just under 50 of the most disabled children that have been abandoned by their families… and local charity Mustard Seed Communities has been working with them,” she explained.

She informed that, over the past year, Mustard Seed has been working with the orphanage and is seeking to take responsibility for their welfare.

“We have tried to facilitate engagements as much as we have been able to. But it is a private charity to private charity [arrangement] that is seeking to take responsibility for the care [of] these most vulnerable children,” she further indicated.

Senator Johnson Smith advised that Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr Horace Chang, will provide further details on the process.

Additionally, she said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of National Security are collaborating in relation to the illegal movement of people.

“Dr Chang will, in due course, also [provide an] update on discussions in which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade is participating about how persons moving illegally are also to be treated. Again, that’s an immigration matter. But we are part of those discussions, and he will advise and update in due course,” Johnson Smith stated.

Mustard Seed Communities, which was established in 1978, serves children, young adults and families who are among Jamaica’s most vulnerable groups.