(BLACKAMERICAWEB; JACKIE JONES) Haiti cannot withstand another five years of governance like its previous 50, singer and producer Wyclef Jean told “The Tom Joyner Morning Show,” explaining why he has decided to run for president of the island nation rocked seven months ago by a devastating earthquake.
The key to turning Haiti’s fortunes around, Jean said, is tied to education, job creation, agriculture and health care and how well those functions are managed.
“For the next five years, Haiti’s issue is not a political issue; it’s a management issue when it comes to Wyclef Jean,” the Haitian-born former frontman for the Fugees told Roland Martin on Monday. He said his lack of political experience should not be a concern as long as he surrounds himself with people who can get the his priorities implemented.
Interestingly enough, in April, despite rumors to the contrary, Jean shrugged aside suggestions that he might run for president.
“If I take a job being a president, I can’t do as much as I’m doing for my country,” said Jean, who partipated in an all-star telethon after the quake which, organizers said, raised $66 million. The singer was also on the ground in Haiti within days after the earthquake, helping to move bodies and rubble.
At the time, Jean told The Associated Press that the government and nonprofit organizations should focus on raising the impoverished country’s literacy rate, which stands at 50 percent in a population of 9 million.
“If we’re going to get to the 21st century, I don’t know how we’re going to do that with a population who can’t read or write,” he said.
The quake’s devastation “gives Haiti a new slate,” he said in an interview before the Billboard Latin Music Awards took place in Puerto Rico on April 29. “We have to think strategic on how we deal with the situation on a level beyond emotions.”
Former Chamber of Deputies leader Pierre Eric Jean-Jacques has told The Associated Press that Jean would run as part of his coalition in the Nov. 28 election.
Jean told the TJMS that his campaign was really a grassroots draft by the young people of Haiti, who make up more than 50 percent of the country’s population. He will know in the next seven days whether he actually be certified to run for office.
Under Haitian law, candidates must prove they have lived in Haiti for five consecutive years, own property in the country and hold citizenship only in Haiti.
Jean lived in Haiti until he was nine, when his family moved to Brooklyn. He has said he never became a naturalized American citizen, does not hold a U.S. passport and that he maintains residences in Haiti, as well as New York. He points out that his Yele Haiti Foundation was established to assist Haitian youth securing scholarships and other aid. Since the earthquake, the Yéle Corps has reportedly given Haitians jobs removing rubble and housing the displaced.
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