PORT-AU-PRINCE — Almost three dozen candidates have filed to run in Haiti’s critical post-quake presidential elections slated for this fall.
As registration closed on Saturday, the filing last week of hip-hop star and “diaspora candidate” Wyclef Jean had thrust Haiti back into the international limelight.
Besides Jean, the crowded field of contenders seeking to rebuild this quake-battered nation include former prime ministers, a local celebrity musician, businessmen, two mayors and a handful of political unknowns.
“I would say if these are indeed the candidates, you could look to Wyclef Jean to appeal to the youth,” said James Morrell, a longtime Haiti observer and executive director of the Haiti Democracy Project in Washington, D.C.
Whoever wins the Nov. 28 vote will inherit one of the toughest jobs in the hemisphere.
They will be in charge of overseeing Haiti’s reconstruction efforts, which include finding shelter for 1.5 million people who were made homeless after the Jan. 12 temblor, along with trying to alleviate the country’s countless woes.
The list of presidential hopefuls will become official on Aug. 17 when the nine-member provisional electoral council, or CEP, announces who’s eligible. The list of candidates — 34 total — include:
• Jean, former Fugees frontman, producer and goodwill ambassador.
• Jude Celestin, founder and executive director of the government’s road-building outfit, the National Center of Equipment, and member of President René Préval’s Unity party.
• Yvon Neptune, an architect and ex-senator who served as prime minister under former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
• Jacques Edouard Alexis, a two-time prime minister who was sacked in the aftermath of food riots in 2008.
• Leslie Voltaire, a Cornell-educated urban planner, former minister, and government liaison to the United Nations.
• Lavarice Gaudin, an Aristide ally and Miami activist and radio commentator.
• Raymond Joseph, former ambassador to the United States and Wyclef Jean’s uncle.
• Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly, a compas musician and entertainer whose lyrics have poked fun at the concept of the Haitian presidency.
• Mirlande Manigat, a longtime opposition leader, professor, and former first lady.
• Charles “Charlito” Henry Baker, an apparel manufacturer who was at the helm of an opposition movement that helped topple Aristide in 2004.
• Wilson Jeudy, mayor of Delmas who organized a sister-city relationship with North Miami.
Unless one is on the ground, in Haiti, the reader does not perceive a biased approach. This article is an example of such and approach, or an indicator of ignorance. Neither is acceptable, even though it seems to be the media norm.
Haitians see three candidates as serious contenders in the race for Haiti’s presidency. Leslie Voltaire, Wyclef Jean and Jean-Henry Ceant.
Voltaire is presently coordinating reconstruction projects for the Preval government and, as such, is the man responsible for giving Elizabeth Delatour-Preval massive contracts for the removal of debris from Port-au-Prince streets. These contracts could run 30 years and are worth an immense fortune, a fortune in which he will share via family connections. He was a close associate of President Aristide in previous governments. During one period in power he and Leslie Delatour, the late husband of Preval’s wife, stole almost $100,000,000 from funds set aside for poor childrens schooling/scholarships. He was Leslie Delatour’s cousin. Keep the corruption in the family – an old Haitian custom.
Wyclef Jean – an award winning musician who created a charity Yele-Haiti. Wyclef has been accused of misusing Yele Haiti’s funds via $400,000 payments to himself for office space he already controlled, $100,000 for a concert he gave for Yele Haiti, $180.000 to hire his mistress, and a load of other unexplained charges for expenses. He got behind in his IRS filings and had Yele Haiti suspended. He has a $2.5,000,000 tax lien with the IRS and so the story continues…
Jean-Henry Ceant a well-known Haitian Notaire, who is also president of the international notaire’s association. He is also one of the founders of AIMER HAITI a movement to deal with problems faced by Haiti’s massive peasant population, usually ignored by the Haitian governments, past and present. AIMER HAITI operates a hospital, dealing with the needs of Haiti’s poor. It was one of the few functioning during the earthquake disaster period and still deals with hundreds of patients each day – free of charge. American volunteers staff the clinic/hospital, with their Haitian compatriots. Probably the most qualified man for the presidency, but ignored by the media through ignorance, or design.
Reporting must become more responsible, and balanced, if the Haitian people are to have any chance at survival.
This election is really their last chance at Democracy, a chance that Voltaire’s relative – President Rene Preval – has promised to block, delay, deflect or disrupt in his personal effort to retain power.
Wake up and smell the flowers!!
We need a balanced and thoughtful approach to informing the world of our internal struggles.