Creole radio station founder remembered as a leader in the Haitian-American community
South Florida community members came out in droves this past weekend in North Miami to send off Haitian-born radio pioneer and community advocate Carmelau Monestime. A special community memorial was held on Friday at North Miami High, while the funeral service was held on Saturday at St. James Catholic Church.
Monestime, who passed away at 84, was celebrated as the co-founder of popular Kreyol language radio show, Express Publicite, on WMBM 1490-AM. The show, which also features fellow co-founders Mendes Aleindor and Ferdinand Forté, celebrated 30 years on the air last year. He also helped to launch Radio Collective Internationale on 99.1 FM, which became the first ever Haiti-owned and operated radio station in South Florida.
Born April 6, 1931 in Gonaives Haiti, Monestime fled the Duvalier regime for New York in the mid-1960s. By the late 1970s, Monestime moved down to South Florida with his family, and, as a radio producer and presenter, soon became an outspoken advocate for several issues affecting the then booming Haitian-American community in South Florida – from speaking out against the Duvalier dictatorship to advocating for more rights to refuge and residency for Haitian immigrants in the U.S.
Monestime is survived by four children, six grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and two sisters.