The tri-county area is home to the greatest number of Haitian immigrants and has been ground-zero for state and federal Haitian aid efforts.
Newly elected state Rep. Mack Bernard, a West Palm Beach Democrat who was born in Port-au-Prince where the epicenter of the deadly earthquake struck last month, is heading up Palm Beach County’s delegation in the task force, which will include Reps. Juan Zapata, R-Miami, and Ari Porth, D-Coral Springs, and up to 9 other South Florida lawmakers.
Bernard wants better communication from Gov. Charlie Crist, who he said telephoned him the night of the earthquake on Jan. 12 but hasn’t spoken with him since.
Bernard visited Haiti last week. His sister and her three children are now homeless as a result of the disaster, Bernard said.
Crist should appoint a “Haiti czar” to streamline efforts that could be an economic boon to financially-strapped Florida, Bernard, D-West Palm Beach, suggested.
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“It’s that lack of communication, especially from the governor’s office” that is creating frustration for representatives from the tri-county area, which has the state’s largest Haitian immigrant population and is now on the front line providing aid and resources to the ravaged nation, Bernard said.