Thousands Gather for Haitian Pastor's Funeral

Tens of thousands of people in Haiti attended the funeral of a slain evangelical pastor on Sunday
( [email protected] ) Sep 22, 2004 11:07 AM EDT

Tens of thousands of people in Haiti attended the funeral of a slain evangelical pastor on Sunday, dissatisfied that little has been done to fight crime since the violent dismissal of their former president in February. The funeral had been postponed Saturday after several people in the crowd were injured.

"Six months after the installation of an interim government, we do not see or hear of any disarmament programs in place," the Rev. Edouard Paultre, secretary general of the Protestant Federation of Haiti, said during the funeral. "Six months after international forces came in saying they would help us, bandits are killing across the country."

The Rev. Jean-Moles Lovinksky Bertomieux, better known to listeners in the poor Caribbean country as “Pastor Moles” hosted a popular radio show of religious songs and prayers before he was shot Sept. 13 on his way to work in the capital of Port-au-Prince. Police said Saturday they have arrested three suspects, accusing them of shooting the pastor after trying to rob him.

Bertomieux had worked at Radio Caraibes for 20 years and was host of "La Manne du Matin," or Godsend of the Morning. He had also founded a primary and secondary school with the same name in Port-au-Prince. The 43-year-old pastor's show had been one of the most listened to programs in the Caribbean country of 8 million people.

“Everyone listened to him, even those not from the Protestant Church,” said Joseph Guyler Delva, head of the Haitian Journalists Association following Bertomieux’s death.

The funeral was held Sunday at an amphitheater near the National Palace. Meanwhile, Haitians have continued calling on authorities to do more to combat crime in Haiti.