Local July 20, 2012 | 1:55 pm

Haitians don’t need forgiveness from Dominicans, as countryman priest says

SANTO DOMINGO.- Leaders and members of the Haitian community Friday rejected claims by Haitian priest Francis Haver, who affirmed Wednesday his countrymen should apologize to Dominicans for subjecting them to 22 years of backwardness.

The economist and political scientist Harold Pierre called such statements "nonsense," while former Haitian consul Edwin Paraison dubbed the suggestion as exaggerated and out of tune.

Paraison, who’s also a preacher, said Haver has a misconception of forgiveness from the theological and pastoral standpoint of the context of Haiti-Dominican relations. "Forgiveness should be reciprocal, meaning that the current generation of Haitians and Dominicans do at some point an act of forgiveness for the mistakes of our leaders and ancestors to leave the animosities of the past behind and bolster the peaceful coexistence on the island."

Insults on the social networks also surged, some calling Haver "lambon" (suck up) and another "mentally unbalanced."

They also question the Haitian priest’s charge of having caused backwardness for Dominicans, disregarding Haitian laborers’ actual contribution of to Dominican Republic’s progress.

A tweet also reproached the prelate’s failure to cite Haiti’s helping Dominicans recover their independence during the War of Restoration against Spain in 1865.

The priest’s statement: "I studied in history that Haitians occupied the Dominican Republic for 22 years, now all Haitians should get on their knees and apologize to the Dominicans, because for 22 years held the country back and kept it from advancing further."

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