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Haitian-American Elected Officials Introduce Transparency Portal After Earthquake In Haiti

 NHAEON Chairman and North Miami Councilman Alix Desulme speaks during a virtual press conference
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NHAEON Chairman and North Miami Councilman Alix Desulme speaks during a virtual press conference

Public officials of Haitian descent across the country say that they don't want to see a repeat of the lack of checks and balances from 2010 earthquake relief fundraising for Haiti.

The National Haitian American Elected Officials Network is a non-partisan organization representing 67 current Haitian-American officials in 16 states.

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During a press conference this week, the elected and appointed officials say they’re ready to serve as an auditor for President Joe Biden's administration and the Haitian government, in response to the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that took nearly 2,000 lives and injured thousands in the southwestern part of the country.

The organization is working on an online transparency portal that will serve as accountability for donations and funding.

NHAEON Chairman Alix Desulme is a councilman in the city of North Miami. Desulme says the portal will ensure that funds are collected and dispersed to organizations and families in need in Haiti.

“But the accountability piece will not only start with organizations,” Desulme said. “The Haitian government will also be accountable for.”

Desulme says the Haitian network is not endorsing any foreign or domestic organizations. The network of officials also pledged financial support for the people in the southwestern part of Haiti — the area hardest hit by last Saturday's quake — and is seeking monetary donations.

“We will not collect one cent for administrative fees, for whatever fees, in terms of what will be going to Haiti,” Desulme said.

The transparency portal will be publicly available.

Vanessa Joseph, board secretary and North Miami city clerk, says her family in the region took a walk before the earthquake struck, and got spared. They returned to a ravaged home. Joseph says the auditing is part of a long-term project to help rebuild the country.

New York Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre, chair of NHAEON Haiti Earthquake Relief Committee, Florida state Rep. Marie Woodson, chair of NHAEON's finance committee, and New York City Councilwoman Farah Louis, chair of New York's NHAEON chapter, pleaded for a united front to help rebuild the country through trust, accountability, and transparency.

The chairman told WLRN that the public transparency portal will be permanently placed on their website.

Wilkine Brutus is the Palm Beach County Reporter for WLRN. The award-winning journalist produces stories on topics surrounding local news, culture, art, politics and current affairs. Contact Wilkine at wbrutus@wlrnnews.org
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