The haitian military to help migrants

News 16 August, 2017
  • Photo Benoît Philie
    Military (three in the photo) of the canadian armed Forces of haitian origin have been dispatched to the camps of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, where providing temporary accommodation to hundreds of haitian refugees came irregularly to the border.

    Benoît Philie

    Wednesday, 16 August, 2017 00:08

    Wednesday, 16 August, 2017 00:08

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    Military canadians of haitian origin have been dispatched to the customs of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, by reason of their knowledge of the creole, which facilitates the contact with migrants on the ground.

    “I would say that 98 % of the time, I speak creole with migrants. The majority understands French, but when they hear me speak their language, their eyes light up. They are reassured, ” says the corporal Jehoshaphat Nicolas Marchal, at the entrance to camp number two, erected on Monday.

    Four other military men of haitian origin were attached yesterday to the hundreds of soldiers already present on the ground first to ensure the maintenance of the camp, but also to establish a relationship of trust with the haitian migrants, who represent the majority of the refugees.


    “If I hadn’t had the chance to leave Haiti at the age of 8 years, I would have been able to be a part of these people. I would have surely done the same way as them, ” says Nicolas Marchal.

    The caporale of haitian origin Lynsaskia Clement tells of having spoken with some refugee since his arrival at the customs.

    “It is really a small conversation… like where they come from, who are they and what drives them to come here,” she said, adding that they are all in search of a better life.

    According to the military, some of the migrants, however, are critical of the living conditions in the camps.

    “But nothing unreasonable,” said the corporal Nicolas Marchal.

    A third site accommodation of about 250 beds had to be mounted at the end of the day yesterday, close to the two other camps of 940 seats in total, but the owner of the premises had still not given its agreement.


    “We are waiting. The border services Agency is trying to reach agreement with the owner to initiate the establishment of the camp, ” said the major Alexandre Hottin in the Journal.

    According to the military, the authorities are considering the possibility to install the third camp on a different terrain, which is located on the west side of highway 15.

    “There is another owner who is willing to lend us his land, but it is a bit distant. Everything that is beyond 200 or 300 meters of the border, it is complicated for the Agency in terms of logistics, ” said the Major Hottin.

    According to him, the second encampment was erected Monday, is expected to reach its maximum capacity today.