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9127: This Week in Haiti 19-28 09/26/01 (fwd)
"This Week in Haiti" is the English section of HAITI PROGRES
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and Creole, please contact the paper at (tel) 718-434-8100,
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"Le journal qui offre une alternative"
* THIS WEEK IN HAITI *
September 26 - October 02, 2001
Vol. 19, No. 28
WORLD TRADE CENTER:
THE HAITIAN TOLL
Our update on the status of Haitians missing after the Sept. 11
terrorist attack on the World Trade Center contains some good
Haïti Progrès was contacted by the family of JACQUELINE MOMPOINT,
who works for the Port Authority. They reported that she is safe
and escaped harm.
Unfortunately, NOLBERT SALOMON is still missing, we have
confirmed. He worked for Morgan Stanley, not the Metropolitan
Transit Authority, as we reported last week.
We also spoke to the wife of CHARLES LAURENCIN, who was cited in
last week's report. He is still missing. He was born in St.
Lucia, not Haiti, and has lived in the United States for over 40
years. He was in the U.S. Air Force from 1963 to 1967 and was
stationed in Vietnam. For the past two years, he had worked as a
security guard on the 60th Floor of Tower Two in the offices of
Morgan Stanley. "They told me he got all his people off his
floor," said his wife of 34 years, Barbara. He was last seen
running toward the basement of the doomed tower, she said.
"He called me at 9:05 to tell me about the first plane hitting
Tower One," Barbara Laurencin explained. "I put him on hold to
tell our kids that I was talking to him, that he was OK. But when
I picked up the line again, it was dead. That was when the second
plane hit." The Laurencins live in the Bedford-Stuyvesant
section of Brooklyn.
Haïti Progrès learned that MAXIMA JEAN-PIERRE, 40, is also among
the missing. She is from the Dominican Republic, born in Padre
Las Casas, about 60 miles northwest of Santo Domingo. She took
the last name of her first husband, Ajax Jean-Pierre, a Haitian
living in Far Rockaway, NY. Until Sept. 11, she was living in
Bellport, NY, in Suffolk County, Long Island.
She worked on the 105th floor of Tower One as a food preparer for
Forté Foods, which served meals for the firm of Cantor
Fitzgerald. "I last saw her at a wedding the Sunday before the
attacks," Maxima's daughter, Angenelli, told Haïti Progrès.
Finally, Haïti Progrès has also been seeking information about
FELIX CALIXTE, a Haitian living in Brooklyn, NY. His name was
cited as being among the missing by Fox Television News on Sept.
If any readers know of other Haitians who were killed or who are
missing, please contact Haïti Progrès at 718-434-8100 or email us
THE CASE OF BORGELA PHILISTIN
Borgela Philistin was returning from a shopping trip to New York
on Jun. 17, 1993. He had been working nights and going to school
during the day. He was tired and in a hurry to get home so he
took a jitney cab. But he never made it.
Two blocks from the house where he lived with his aunt, two
Philadelphia cops stopped the cab. "I had with me a 'doggy bag'
of food which I had bought in New York and which I intended to
share with my aunt," Philistin said. "Carefully, I raised my
hands in the air as they demanded. The bag of food lay on the
floor of the cab at my feet. One of the policemen, yelling, asked
me what was in the bag. I answered that it was food and bent down
to show him the contents when he hit me with his metal
flashlight. The blow hit me in the mouth and broke two of my
teeth. The policeman then grabbed me and pulled me out of the car
through the window. The two policemen then began furiously
beating me. I was afraid, I had a bloody mouth, and I was
suffering a great deal. When one of the policemen pointed his
revolver at me and yelled that he was going to kill me on the
spot, I thought I was going to die. I began to fight for my
In the struggle which ensued, several shots were fired. One cop
wound up dead, the other paralyzed.
Borgela, then only 19 years old, received a court-appointed
lawyer who uncritically accepted the police account that his
client was a drug dealer, despite Borgela's protests to the
contrary. The lawyer also did not notify the Haitian Consulate
(Borgela is a Haitian citizen). The defense was pathetic. Borgela
was convicted of premeditated, first-degree murder and sentenced
Today, Borgela is on the same death-row as the celebrated U.S.
political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. He gave the above account to
a delegation of Haitians who came to visit him last April. "For
the past 8 years, I have only asked one thing," he told his
visiting compatriots. "A fair trial. I ask a chance to tell the
truth, all the truth. I would like to be able to say finally what
really happened that day."
Haitian and U.S. activists in New York have recently come
together to form the "Borgela Philistin Defense Committee." In
the weeks ahead, they intend to visit Borgela and publicize his
Last month, a member of this new committee, Haitian activist Carl
Auguste, sent a letter and then an article to Haïti Progrès about
the case. Shortly thereafter, we received the following letter
from Borgela, which we publish in its entirety.
BORGELA PHILISTIN DD-4916
175 PROGRESS DRIVE, WAYNESBURG, PA 15370
TO: MR. GUY ROUMER,
EDITOR IN CHIEF, HAÏTI PROGRÈS
SEPTEMBER 5, 2001
This letter is in response to the letter to the editor, printed
in the Haïti Progrès, dated August 15th to 21st, 2001.
My name is Borgela Philistin Jr., the subject of that letter
written by Mr. Carl Auguste. I thank you, Mr. Roumer, and your
staff for having featured such a letter. And I will go further as
to extend myself to you Sir and to Haïti Progrès to learn more of
the events that landed me here on Pennsylvania's Death Row.
A deadly tragedy is a sad and sour ordeal to present in truth,
but with the death of a policeman the truth of my case was tucked
away, twisted by means of intimidation, fabrication and other
violations to justify their premeditated end result of the
premeditated taking of my life. The Philadelphia police claims of
the events of that night are but fictional tales with character
assassination as their foundation and discriminatory hints,
eventually matching those tactics used against Mr. Louima and Mr.
Dorismond among others who have faced the demi-gods in their
midst of wallowing in their position.
My claim is self-defense, an unarmed man reacting only out of
fear from a police assault and immediate death threat, that night
as I was placed in the middle of a tornado of assaults, with my
life at risk, my only alternative was to live or die.
My rope of hope is from above, and I do thank God for being alive
today, and for the valiant men and women who boldly shine their
lights in this here darkness of death row seeking the truth.
Valiant men like Dr. Frantz Latour of the Philadelphia Haitian
Community Center, Mr. Carl Auguste, who previously wrote to you,
writer and activist Mr. Ernst Ford who defied threats and
intimidation from the Philadelphia police because of his stand,
and the members of the New York Haitian Coalition for Justice,
who has shown me such great support acting beyond the call of
duty to bring to light the ugly injustice that continues to
permeate in my case, as in the case of brother Mumia who too sits
unjustly on Pennsylvania's death row with me, taking the time to
spark me up with his words and what is to come on the
Some may keep at bay in a comfort zone thinking that my own
behavior brought on this tragedy, to that I say: Not at all! My
claim of innocence is not one of a technicality. A human being
dead and a human life discarded are both tragedies. Again, I
invite you to seek the truth of this matter for yourself. Label
me not an acceptable casualty, for I was born without a title and
I don't care much for my present one: «Death Row Inmate».
I close this brief summation of my dilemma, and I thank you
dearly for your attention.
All articles copyrighted Haiti Progres, Inc. REPRINTS ENCOURAGED.
Please credit Haiti Progres.