Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) has reported the sad death of Edward Emmanuel Corneille, director of the Bishop Tharp Institute of Business and Technology (BTI) in Les Cayes, Haiti, who was shot and killed in Pétion-Ville, just outside of Port-au-Prince, on January 5. ERD worked in partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti to build the institute which opened in October 2005.
Haitian police are still investigating the circumstances surrounding his death. It has been reported that Corneille was involved in the campaign of Charles Henry Baker, a presidential candidate. According to reports, the police have registered at least 27 murders and 43 kidnappings in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area between December 12, 2005, and January 3, 2006.
Bishop Jean Zaché Duracin of Haiti, released a statement deploring the death of Corneille. "It is obvious that rampant violence and unrest has become a daily reality that threatens all of us living in Haiti," he said. "Since BTI's opening, the institute has been seen as a symbol of hope for Les Cayes and the southern part of Haiti -- with Emmanuel there was hope."
"This is disheartening for the BTI community, the Diocese of Haiti, and ERD," said Abagail Nelson, ERD's vice president for program. "Emmanuel was a charismatic leader who will be sorely missed."
A delegation from the diocese traveled to the institute on Saturday and is working through the transition process. BTI reopened after a holiday recess on January 9. An interim director will be named this week by Duracin, chair of BTI's Board of Directors.
Corneille served as BTI's director since February 2004. He was instrumental in the final phases of building and opening the institute and helped recruit more than 120 students. He worked in the U.S. for several years in business and higher learning institutions.
He is survived by a son and numerous family members both in Haiti and the United States.
"ERD remains committed to BTI through this transition in leadership," said Nelson. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Emmanuel's family."