Thanks so much to the many of you that joined us for a lively and productive meeting today. We also thank IBC for sponsoring the tasty food, and most of all Consul Jospitre and the Consulate staff in Orlando for being great hosts and active participants in the meeting. For those that have not met him yet, you will be very impressed and excited that we have such an effective and capable partner to work with and with whom to interface with the Haitian government.
We had the following participants in attendance today (emails found above):
Patricia Eddy and and Linda Haber from Help Brings Hope to Haiti (HBHH) (and the Cap Haitien Health Network)
Eldine Magnan from Rosen Hotels
Avenel Vilsaint, invitee of Consulate, financial consultant
Dr. Tom Lacy of Hands Up for Haiti (and the Cap Haitien Health Network)
Karen Cully and Peggy Gustave of Senator Bill Nelson's office
Rose Nancy Joseph of Senator Marco Rubio's office
Chester A. Glover of Congresswoman Corrine Brown's Orlando District Office
William Lowry, Tammi Runzler, and Pastor Julio Brutus of My Neighbor's Children (and the Cap Haitien Health Network)
Lude Senatus of IBC Airline
Nadine Mentor and Marie Fleury Stanis of Haiti Help Med Plus (and the Cap Haitien Health Network)
Anoty and Mireille Dastine of Orlando Church of Christ
Elizabeth Helfert of Village Partners International (and the Cap Haitien Health Network)
Brian Stout of Thousand Hills Ministry (and the Cap Haitien Health Network)
Rosanna Kingston of Clean the World
Lissa Curtin of Orlando International Airport
Diana Fish of Florida Hospital Foundation
Ted and Elisabeth Kaplan (and Joshua and Anna) of Cap Haitien Health Network (and Haiti Help Med Plus)
Alain Pompilus of the Lila Foundation
Consul Alex Jospitre and Patrick Antoine and 2 other staff from Consulate of Haiti in Orlando
Short of claiming that these are accurate minutes, I will present the following "Notes" on the meeting, to help to remind all those that were there and inform those that could not be there.
There was certainly a consensus and enthusiasm for further meetings, probably not "every day" as Consult Jospitre offered, but on an ongoing basis, so we look forward to seeing everyone then, and will keep in touch with email updates between each other for various action items.
I+II. Welcome and Intros: Dr. Kaplan and Consult Jospitre welcomed everyone, and opened the floor for each person to introduce themselves and their organizations.
III. Flights from Orlando to Haiti
The surveys are a supplement to demographic information that is available to the airlines.
More surveys can be accessed and taken at the website www.orlandoairports.net , click on the Haitian flag
Jet Blue is interested but requires further runways and other infrastructure. Consul Jospitre invited them and any other interested airlines to come and do a visit with Haitian officials to review their requirements, which he is confident would be worked out.
A suggestion was made to add lighting to the PAP and/or Cap airports to extend the hours and capacity of each airport.
IBC is increasing days and locations of flights, including service in Orlando as soon as they have an agreement with an airport. West Palm Beach service has begun. They plan to use a jet plane for this route. They also have air freight service.
IV. Consul Jospitre remarks
He suggests that we form a crisis management task force before the next big disaster. After some discussion, it was agreed to have the legislative officials meet with other US government officials and the consulate to review those plans, and bring the findings to the group for further input and participation by the community organizations/NGOs.
He reminded us that Haiti is Open for Business. He has a staff member (unfortunately ill today) that is in charge of that, but Consul Jospitre is open to receive any questions and interested businesses personally at any time. It was also brought up that the Haitian government has developed a Center For Investment that has a website at www.cfihaiti.net and business friendly staff. On the website, you will find information on the many incentives that are being given to foreign investment.
He invited everyone to Diaspora Day on April 21 at the End Time Sabbath Worship Center at 2150 Brengle Ave (Princeton and Mercy Dr.) in Orlando, and to a Haitian Flag Day event planned for May 20. Sponsors are needed and sought for the Flag Day event. It was pointed out that there are 100,000 Haitians in the Orlando area.
He pointed out that Haiti has a (privately arranged) temporary exhibit at Epcot Center, and he is working on continuation of a presence there.
V. During the open forum, there were some questions about airline flight availability, customs, shipping and maintenance and energy support for donations, security, and NGO registration. It was pointed out by Consul Jospitre that the Haitian legislature is currently working on new rules to simplify and improve customs.
There was then an energetic and enthusiastic mingling and networking period while we enjoyed the food supplied by IBC.
Ted Kaplan, MD