Amsterdam News, News Report, Herb Boyd
With Haiti still struggling to recover from a devastating earthquake in January that left more than 250,000 fatalities and millions homeless, seeking to rule the troubled nation is hardly an enviable task. But if anyone has the spunk, passion and tenacity for such an assignment, Jean does, though he has yet to make a firm commitment.
Haiti’s current leader, President Rene Preval, is not eligible to seek another term, having been the only elected president to serve two full terms in Haiti’s turbulent and often corrupt political history.
Preval had honored Jean as the nation’s roving ambassador, a role he relished and promoted with great insight and enthusiasm. Running the Haitian government, which for all intents and purposes is non-existent, will challenge the ex-Fugee, whose voice and guitar mastery has earned him international acclaim.
It has been this immense popularity and his charitable contributions via his Yele Haiti Foundation that makes him such a formidable candidate for the presidency.
Recently, Jean, 37, who was born in Haiti and raised in Brooklyn, told the press that he intended to play some role in the upcoming November 8 elections without actually spelling out that role.
“Do I have political intentions? At this time, no. But what I do have is a movement—it’s called Face a Face, ‘Face to Face’,” Jean said. ‘‘The youth population...we are going to encourage them to vote.”
Jean may be among several candidates seeking the presidency and he has an August 7 deadline to declare his bid. According to news accounts, opponents of Preval have threatened to block the November 28 vote if the president-approved electoral council is not replaced, which Preval has refused to do. It is simply amazing, given the nation’s demolished infrastructure and economic distress, that it’s able to mount a presidential election that will cost millions to conduct and oversee.
To become a legitimate contender, Jean only has to prove he has resided in Haiti for five consecutive years, owns property in the country and has never been a citizen of any country other than Haiti.