Dominican praised by international newspaper for relief efforts in Haiti

Scene from Haiti following devastating earthquake/photo

Fifty-seven-year-old Pius Bannis, a Dominican-born immigration officer at the American Embassy in Port-au-Prince, has been praised by at least one major international newspaper for his humanitarian work in Haiti following the devastating quake on January 12, 2010.

According to the Wall Street Journal (World) article dated January 29, 2010, Bannis, who had been responsible for determining which orphans are matched to US families and  permit them to leave Haiti  before the devastating quake,  had taken an even tougher challenge by continuing his task after the quake.

The article highlighted Bannis for his work in providing the possibility for a safe environment for Haitian orphans after the January 12, disaster.

According to the paper, Bannis had been allowing hundreds of orphans to be sent to the US to families since the quake by putting cases together from assembled rubble from the quake.

“Some 500 Haitian orphans have been cleared since then. Several hundred are already in the U.S., after passing through Mr. Bannis,” the article said.

“Hundreds of children have been brought to him since the quake, some only a few months old, others in their teens. With many of the country’s orphanages damaged or destroyed, Mr. Bannis often pieces together cases assembled from records extracted from the rubble,” the article said.

The article said that the Castle Bruce-born officer sleeps very few hours at night and usually in his office.

“He’s the last thing standing between these kids and human trafficking,” says Diana Boni, Haiti’s coordinator for Kentucky Adoption Services, a non-profit adoption agency based in Owensboro, Ky., who added that Mr. Bannis has answered her emails at 1:30 a.m.  “Pius deserves a medal,” the article stated.”

According to the paper, Bannis’s working conditions were dire. “The consular waiting area, which normally draws adults seeking visas to the US, has turned into an orphans-only waiting room,” he said.

“At times, it’s hard to concentrate because “it’s a screaming world in that waiting room,” the article said.

The Wall Street Journal said that Bannis has even taken the responsibility of being a temporary parent to the orphans.

“He sometimes emerges from behind his service window to fetch diapers, toys or drinks for the waiting orphans. The other day, Mr. Bannis said he went searching for a change of clothes for a baby who was soiled,” the article said.

The article stated that, the immigration agency’s chief, Alejandro Mayorkas commended Bannis by stating, “There is no better example of the character of our Agency than Pius Bannis, our colleague in Haiti.”

When asked about his work Bannis said, “I’m a little tired…But it’s very satisfying to see the smile on an orphan’s face.”

According to the article Bannis is a career officer with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and a Caribbean immigrant to the  U.S. from Dominica.

He is a lawyer by profession and moved to Port-au-Prince from Atlanta in August 2008 to work as an agency field-office director.

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  1. pa
    April 16, 2010

    I must say thank god for pius i do know him and i think that he sure deserves a medal from the heavenly father we all work but this man is working tirelessly. My prayers is with him all through may god countinue to bless you as you reach out to the orphans and the number of persons that is in need. bro you are a man of destiny, and god is going to be with you through the end. May you be endured with strength, good health, prosprity, blessing from the almighty father who giveth. Stay stedfast and irremovable in your work and he will keep you.

  2. en ba la
    February 24, 2010

    God job Mr. Bannis.alright!! now this should be an example for those of us out there and those back home. Do not waver in doing good and working hard and well too. This is Dominican-born work ethic being played out.

  3. angelina
    February 24, 2010

    Praise God from whom all blessings flow; You were placed there for a reason Mr Bannis
    continue the good works, we are proud of you. May God bless you !!

  4. precious stones
    February 24, 2010

    After all those bastards that was trying to bring shame to our country’s name from the begining of the year. Thank God there’s still angels our there like you to lift up our COUNTRY NAME. Thank you Mr. Bannis may God continue to shine on you day after day. You have made DOMINICANS home and aboard proud, may the hands of the Lord protect you as you go along doing good towards those Haitian Orphans. We’ll be praying for your strength, keep the faith my brother God bless you and all the others that are there helping to give those children a better life. Thank you.

  5. Homey
    February 24, 2010


    U sure u on the right page, are u responding to the same story i’m reading cause i’m really lost.

  6. Thoughtful
    February 24, 2010

    We Dominicans can do great things if we work hard and be dedicated to what we do.

    I am very proud of this man of Dominican origin.

  7. A True Dominican/GrandBayrian in the u.s.a
    February 24, 2010

    You are really a good Samaritan, brother! May God continue to give you the enduring spirit that is necessary to save these innocent lives. May we as Dominicans continue to stand together in solidarity with our Haitain brothers and sisters as well.

    Peace, my brother!!! Keep up the great task. You are truly endowed with the strength of God.

  8. Tola Boi
    February 24, 2010

    its nice to here of mr. Bannis’ work. Am a Bannis aswell from the Beautiful village of castle bruce. good Job!

    February 23, 2010

    Its In the International media that Cari com countries including DOMINICA have Supported the call for Britain to return Falklands to Argentina. Just Today the 23rd of February 2010 Hugo Chavez Is in the International media Addressing the Queen to give up Falklands to Argentina. I would like to know from the GOVERNMENT OF The COMMONWEALTH O DOMINICA why they are they in support of such actions WHERE AS Dominica is in the same situation with VENEZUELA. The said leader of Venezuela was talking forcefully on why the Queen should give up the Falklands to Argentina. Also Mr. Chavez asking the queen to give up Falklands.When you look the issue at hand Dominica and Venezuela are in the same issue with bird island. I Want to know If the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica can support Argentina in its bid to retain the Falklands . Will the Prime Minister of Dominica take this open opportunity to Ask the President of Venezuela to honorable thing in Return the BIRD Islands To Dominica?????Also I want to know If The Prime Minister is Working in the interest of The Commonwealth of Dominica when he support such actions when Dominica is in the same boat as Argentina. I want to know why Cari com Leaders can do a thing like that to DOMINICA??? Caricom giving a slap to Dominica in OUR FACE.I want to know what is happening. I want to know if it is because we have a Foreigner as the Prime Minister of Dominica?? I want to know what are DOMINICANS view on this Matter.

  10. Delices Lady
    February 23, 2010

    Congrats Mr. Bannis.

    God bless your heart.

    You sure understand and appreciate the struggles of the children. You will be greatly rewarded in due time.

  11. jacinta bannis
    February 23, 2010

    Well done Pius, we are all so proud of you. You gave me my first reading book “Winnie the pooh and friends”.lol. As a teacher in castle bruce you touched many lives. I look forward to you coming home for a little R&R. You’ve put Dominica and castle Bruce on the international stage. Continue to make us proud

  12. Zarzee
    February 23, 2010

    U go Mr Pius!!!Respect to u sir.

  13. Challenge
    February 23, 2010

    Well Done Pius. Pius hales from CASTLE BRUCE by the way. BIG UP to all Dominicans and esp those from Castle Bruce who are doing big thing in the Diaspora.

  14. qwab
    February 23, 2010

    Congratulations to Mr. Bannis this is a testament to all that we truly are our brothers keepers. May the good Lord continue to shine his grace on you and your family. Bravo you make me proud to fly the Sisserou even higher. Mighty works, mighty man , mighty Dominican.

  15. LADY
    February 23, 2010

    Keep up the wonderful work Sir. Kudos to you and all the others who work tirelessly to help others.

  16. CI
    February 23, 2010

    Great to read about someone like Mr. Bannis who has such an empathetic soul and remains focused and helpful during such a catastrophic disaster. May God continue to bless you and grant you the patience, wisdom, knowledge and understanding necessary, to undergo such a monumental task. I believe you were placed there for a reason. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your father who is in heaven.” This is certainly a glimmer of hope in the time of despair. These are our brothers and sisters who are in need…… and we must help them to smile again.

  17. Positive
    February 23, 2010

    I remember Pius whilst attending school. I think he also attended the Youth Camp in Londonderry. great job pius. You have done yourself well, your adopted county and your mother country more than well.
    Your good deeds will be rewarded one day. People are watching but God has better eyesight. Keep working hard and the honour and good grace will follow your generation. What you have done for Haiti will go a long way in providing a good life to children who may one day come back and help you. You never ever know. God placed you in Haiti for good reason.

  18. Marian Jno-Finn
    February 23, 2010

    Keep up the good work Mr. Bannis. I know you are physically tired but your rest day is coming. we should all help each other when there is a possibility to do so not only in disaster.

    Love has no boundaries!!!!

    Marian Jno-FInn

  19. absolute
    February 23, 2010

    bravo- one of our own

  20. I Wonder
    February 23, 2010

    Keep IT UP!!!

  21. WOW
    February 23, 2010

    Job well done Mr. Bannis. You have made us very proud back home.

  22. February 23, 2010

    it so good to hear our own is doing well congratulaion is time god be with pius bannis and keep you in safe hand !

  23. tm
    February 23, 2010

    Great works do not go unrecognized as is in your case. Keep working Mr. Bannis and thank you on behalf of the orphaned Haitian children.

  24. Nitara
    February 23, 2010

    First. Kudos to Mr. Pius Bannis. I am really proud of him. My heart goes out to the haitian children who are traumatised, victimised, and neglected in all this chaos. Its good and heartening to know that some one not only truly cares, but is putting the needs of the children before self. I’m praying that he is strengthened, to help in the continuation of his loving efforts, in providing safe and legal assistance to the orphans.

  25. heehoo
    February 23, 2010


  26. proud Dominican
    February 23, 2010

    well done Mr. Bannis…Keep up the good work.

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