HAITIAN GOVERNMENT VIOLATES US LABOR LAW BY NOT PAYING CONSULATE EMPLOYEES # 2

 

HAITIAN GOVERNMENT VIOLATES US LABOR LAW BY NOT PAYING CONSULATE EMPLOYEES

 

Miami, Florida – For years, the Haitian government has adopted a labor practice that is not only nefarious but akin to slavery. This practice, well known in Haiti has become the modus operandi of the Haitian government and its Minister of Foreign Affairs in the way it treats its employees working on American soil. The rights of employees of Haitian consulates in Miami, Chicago, Orlando, New York, Chicago and other places around the world are being violated with impunity; and the employees are deathly afraid of speaking out publicly because of fear that the government may retaliate against them. Since the first article about this issue was published on October 9, consular employees from Atlanta a have reported that their bosses Mr.Roody Metellus ,brother of Nenel Cassis  have been intimidating them and threatening to fire them, and replace them by his inner circle of friends.

 

In the United States, employers are legally required to pay their employees on time, and when such employees work overtime, they are entitled to overtime pay. But, the Haitian government cares less about violating the law. For months now, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Haiti, Mr. Antonio Rodrigue has refused to pay his consulate and embassy employees on time with absolutely no explanation as to why these employees are not getting paid on time.  Several telephone calls to his office in Port-au-Prince have gone unanswered.

 

Currently, the Haitian government is six months in arrears of salary. Omega reporters have interviewed many of these employees on the condition that their names not be used. For purposes of this article, we have changed the names of those we interviewed. Please note that while the lowly employees do not get paid on time if at all, the Consul Generals and the Ambassadors who are often close friends or family members of the Haitian President or Minister of Foreign affairs do receive their salaries on time. Additionally, they receive bonuses and other perks such as cars, housing, drivers, and security.  Meanwhile, everyone else in the consulate can go to hell. At least that is what the Haitian government is telling its employees.

 

Ms. X-  is a secretary at one of the consulates in Florida. She had been with the consulate for several years, dating with the administration of Martelly/Lamothe. Though in the past, she said the government had missed monthly payments, but recently things have gotten worse where the government had gone over six months without paying her. She is currently sleeping in her car because a few weeks ago, she was evicted from her apartment for failure to pay rent. For months she had borrowed money from family and friends, and unless she receives the six months past due salary, she is not sure what she is going to do.

 

Mr. B – is a driver for one of the Consul Generals in the US Northeast. His job is to man the car that belongs to the Haitian Consulate and take the Consul General around town. His last paycheck was in May. Though he continues to report to work, he has not received his salary for nearly six months. He has two children that he and his wife are working hard trying to make ends meets to pay his rent and provide food for his family. Mr. B- had been on the job for many years, having driven many Consul Generals around town. He told Omega that he likes his job and would like to keep it, but not getting paid is a real hardship, saying “how do I call family members and ask them to borrow money when I have had a job for the last five years…?”

 

Ms. C- was hired in one of the consulates after President Jovenel Moise took over. The job was a thank you note for supporting him. She was excited about the new job and had relocated from one part of the United States to another to take the role. Since being hired, Ms. C- has only received two checks. She had been on the job for nearly a year. At first, she thought it was a mistake. She initially thought perhaps her paperwork had not reached the officials in Haiti. When she inquired, she was told that the Consul General told employees to be patient and soon they would get paid. That was back in May, now it is nearly mid-October, and Ms. C-  has not seen a paycheck yet.  However, the Consul General, her boss is receiving his salary transfer to his US account every month as confirmed by his secretary.

 

Mr/ D- was a candidate for mayor in a Southern town in Haiti. He ran under the Tet Kale party and lost the election, but he supported Jovenel Moise from the Tet Kale Party (Michel Martelly’s political party), who became president.   For his support, he was rewarded with a position as “Ministre Conseiller” in one of the Haitian consulates.   Mr. D- has lived in the United States for several decades and understands how important this issue is. When Omega approached him for a statement, he was reticent to speak, but then he said. “I took this job because I wanted to contribute to my country.  But, these people in Port-Au-Prince don;t have a clue what they are doing. There is just too much corruption, from the President on down, everyone is stealing…” He continues “I have not gotten paid for months, but I am ok, the problem is we have people here who are about to be evicted because they cannot pay their rent.  Their cars are about to be repossessed; they have not paid their bills. Meanwhile, they have a stable job, can you explain that?”

 

While Omega cannot explain to Mr. D- why the Haitian government has not met their obligations,  one thing Omega can tell Mr. Mati is that the Haitian government is in gross violation of labor laws. The US Attorney General must open an investigation to ensure that the rights of everyone on America soil are respected, whether they are US citizens, Haitian citizens or green-card holders.

 

Failure to pay employees on time is a labor practice that is illegal in the United States, and the Haitian Government and its Minister of Foreign Affairs should be held accountable. The Haitian consulates in the United States gross enough monthly revenues to ensure that everyone gets paid on time. A passport cost well over $100, and other services they provide come at a cost. The sad truth is the government has the money to pay the employees, but decide to use it for other purposes that benefit the President, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Finance, and certainly, the President’s Chief of Staff Wilson Laleau.

 

 

Omega Staff Writers

Print Friendly, PDF & Email