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Unrest in Haiti leaves local Haitian community uneasy

Posted at 11:36 PM, Feb 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-20 05:10:55-05

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — The turmoil in Haiti has left critical medicine shortages, crippling inflation, amid political protests and accusations of corruption. Many want the president to resign, but so far, he has refused to. Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department recently warned, do not travel there because it’s unsafe.

In West Palm Beach, there’s really only been one topic on the air recently at WPOM AM1600, local radio Haitian station.

“It’s been nine days, the situation going on in Haiti,” said morning talk show host, James Leger.

“When people call the radio station, they’re calling in crying because it’s so sad.”

Leger was born in Haiti. He manages 10 journalists in the Caribbean country. Due to limited electricity and reception, he’s only able to talk to about half per day on the application WhatsApp.

“The government is not doing what it’s supposed to do,” he said.

The allegations of corruption coupled with crippling inflation have led to deadly protests.

Leger wants the United States government to investigate, saying conversations have already begun about Haitians fleeing their country for the U.S.

“If they don’t want the Haitians to start getting on boats, thousands of people getting on boats to come here, they were going to have a situation with the border, we already have a lot of immigration issues going on already,” Leger said.

Patty Padgett makes an annual trip to Haiti in March to work with Orphans. She’s hopeful she’ll be able to go this year.

“Here in the states, a lot of people like myself, we live paycheck to paycheck. But over there, they get paid daily if they have a job at all,” Padgett said.

Normally she would bring money and essentials like shoes. But given the recent turmoil, she’s trying something different, something more sustainable.

“I want to start little gardens. I want to start a farming program over there,” she said.