(Eleuthera, Bahamas) – The celebrations of Haitian Flag Day that had started a week earlier in North Eleuthera, continued on Saturday, May 21st, 2016 on the grounds of the Longley-Newberry Park in Savannah Sound, where the newly formed Central Eleuthera Haitian Bahamian Association (CEHBA), now just over one year old, hosted their 2nd annual Flag Day event with cultural food, drinks, music, dance, and other fun activities.
Suzanne Bethel, president of CEHBA, stated that with May 18th – the official date of Haitian Flag Day – not falling on a holiday, the May 21st date was chosen to host the Central Eleuthera celebrations to accommodate Haitians and Bahamians from across the island to take part in the one day festivities.
Mrs. Bethel added that Haitian Flag day was a day Haitians came together to show respect for and showcase the culture of their country of origin. She also shared that the genesis of the Central Eleuthera event was educational for her, as before it was started, she had not been fully aware of the significance of Haiti’s Independence within the region, and the historical trails blazed by her countrymen, saying, “Having this event has taught me a lot about what really happened in 1803, and the experience has given us a taste of the culture.”
The goals of CEHBA, she said were forward looking, with a focus on young people, “Our main goal for the organization is to assist people of Haitian descent with educational resources, because a lot of young people do well in school, and they graduate and are not able to further their education. So by us having this organization, if we can raise funds, with the help of sponsors, parents and the community, we will be able to help the youth.”
Mrs. Bethel also emphasized, “Our organization’s main goal, as I said, is to assist people of Haitian descent who were born here. We are not here to help or assist the illegal immigrant. If you are here illegally, don’t expect CEHBA to come and rescue you. It’s not going to happen. Now if it is water or food, we’ll do that, but to say come and represent you or talk to Immigration or the Police to let you go, we are not about that. We need to make the Haitian community aware of that. Don’t expect us to step forward when you are apprehended, because we are not going to step in. Our message to the Haitian community is if you have $5,000, instead of sending that $5,000 for an illegal immigrant to come here – take that $5,000 and send it to Haiti to invest, and let them stay in Haiti.”