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Haitian community reacts to sudden death of their late president

A prayer vigil will be held in Lake Park
Posted at 10:14 PM, Jul 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-08 22:15:59-04

LAKE PARK, Fla.  — South Florida’s Haitian community, as well as the Haitian community around the world, is reacting to the sudden death of their late president, Jovenel Moïse, and some are turning to prayer.

Haiti's prime minister is now in charge and has declared a State of Siege.

On Thursday, a prayer vigil was held at the Heart of God Missions Thrift Store and Charity located at 910 10th Street, Building #D, in Lake Park.

The thrift store was founded with a distinct mission to serve the Haitian community in Palm Beach County and abroad.

"I want the community to understand that the Haitian people are loving people, " said Charmaine Pitter, founder of Heart of God Missions. "Palm Beach County have a lot of Haitian people, this is their second home and Haiti is just next door to them."

But outreach efforts to Haiti is now on hold.

"They cannot go back home because the airport is closed," said Pitter.

Resisting calls to step down from opponents who accused him of corruption and who insisted his term expired in February.

"The call for a new election immediately is a good first step. I just hope this stability can be maintained," said Dr. Henry Stark, a volunteer at Heart of God Missions.

The Assassination is stirring fears of another bout of turmoil at a time of ongoing political instability.

"Haiti is in our backyard also, we need to reach out and help these people they need our help," added Stark.

"The Haitian people right now, they're hurting, and that's why we came here this morning to pray, to let them know that there is hope," Pitter said.

Haiti's First Lady Martine Moïse is in South Florida recovering from gunshot wounds at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.