A local Haitian-American has organized a forum in the Tampa Bay area for Haiti’s presidential candidates, and 11 of the 19 candidates are expected to participate.

The forum, Haiti Votes, will take place from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday in Fox Hall at Eckerd College, 4200 S. 54th Ave. in St. Petersburg.

Daniel Thelusmar, founder of Heart to Heart Caribbean Ministry, based in Plant City, said he organized the event in Florida to provide a more open atmosphere for expression and debate. Thelusmar will act as moderator.

The participating candidates include former Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis; Sen. Jean Hector Anacasis; Yves Cristalin, the minister of Social Affairs and Labour; former Haitian ambassador to the United Nations Garaudy Laguerre; former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune; and former Minister of National Education, Youth and Sports Leslie Voltaire.

Thelusmar’s ministry supports orphanages, an elementary school and a village of more than 2,000 earthquake refugees in Haiti. He was featured in Ledger articles in February about local earthquake relief efforts.

For more information about the event, see the website haitivotes.com.