|Mon, May 13, 2013 at 12:42 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
One of the things that I value most are handmade items. Especially jewelry. So you can imagine my excitement as I was given the opportunity to share the Heart of Haiti beautiful creations.
Heart of Haiti is a "Trade, not Aid" initiative. I love that idea, by empowering and teaching a man to fish so that they can feed themselves for a lifetime. We all have talents and gifts to contribute to the world. The Heart of Haiti program allows Master Artisans to showcase their talents and share a bit of the Haitian history, culture and art.
The Heart of Haiti products are available at Macy's and the talent of the artists is passed down from one generation to another. Much like a family store or a generational insurance company, these skills are being taught from Father to son and Mother to daughter.
I received an art piece that is in essence a jewelry hanger. Its positively beautiful on its own as I have shown. However, I have also added some of my most precious handmade jewelry pieces. I felt that way I would never lose these pieces if they were attached to such a valuable piece of art.
As you can see the "hanger" is made of a sturdy metal that adds a bit of glamour and art to any room. In the same way that each of my pieces have a personal history to me as they were all handmade and all gifts to me, so is the Heart of Haiti sentimental to me. I would like people to know that by supporting the Heart of Haiti initiative, you are enabling a devastated people to support themselves, feed themselves and educate their children.
The Heart of Haiti Collection
...has employed 750 Artists in the Country of Haiti
...has supported over 8000 people in the Country of Haiti
The Collection has over 40 home décor items including quilts, ceramics, paintings and metalwork-like I have. Whats also very sutstanding about the line is that its created almost entirely from recycled and sustainable items that we would not even conceptualize art being created from such as: old cement bags, cardboard, oil drums and local gommier wood.
The Heart of Haiti Collection is available exclusively online at Macys.com/Haiti.
I will be keep up with the Heart of Haiti, but you can too!
Follow them on Twitter
Like them on Facebook
And Please Buy and Share a Gift for a Friend or For Your Own Home!
The post Heart of Haiti Handmade Creations appeared first on ClassySharelle | Classy.Black.Girl..
|Sat, December 03, 2011 at 12:18 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
In the months following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, a charity run by hip-hop star Wyclef Jean spent a pittance of the money it took in on disaster relief and doled out millions in questionable contracts.
Yele Haiti's coffers swelled to $16 million in 2010, the most the charity had ever received. But less than a third of that went to emergency efforts, and $1 million was paid to a Florida firm that doesn't seem to exist, The Post has learned.
Jean's charity, which he founded in 2005 with his cousin Jerry Duplessis, was already troubled when the earthquake struck Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010. The Post reported in 2008 that it had never filed a required tax form detailing its spending with the IRS.
The group lost $244,000 in 2009. But hours after the earthquake hit, Jean took to Twitter to beg for $5 donations. An avalanche of donations poured in.
Almost immediately, allegations surfaced that the former Fugees singer had used the charity's cash for his own benefit. Critics found that four years earlier Yele Haiti had steered $250,000 to a Haitian TV station controlled by Jean and Duplessis.
Jean held a Jan. 18, 2010, press conference to...Click to continue reading
|Tue, April 05, 2011 at 6:18 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Haiti's pop-star-turned-president-elect donned a conservative gray suit Tuesday for his first news conference since his upset victory as Haitians wondered how this charismatic musician with a bad-boy past would govern the country in crisis.
As he did on the campaign trail, 50-year-old Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly avoided any specifics about how he would lead, but appeared as far as possible from his outrageous stage persona as he spoke of reconciliation with political opponents and improving the lives of people in the most desperate, star-crossed nation in the Western Hemisphere.
"I would like to say first that I have always had the desire to change my country," Martelly said. "I have a passion to change my country."
Many Haitians are wondering just what sort of change Martelly will bring to a country that is confronting problems on many fronts, including the stalled reconstruction from the January 2010 earthquake, a cholera outbreak, hundreds of thousands of homeless and more than half the population unemployed.
Asked during an interview about his priorities for his first three months in office, Martelly, who has never held office, dodged the question like a seasoned politician: "Our common sense tells us that in the 100-day period, we will barely have the time to build a small house."
Pressed for more, he did it again: "We are not going into specifics at this time," he said, citing a need to "surprise" people.
A few hours after his news conference, Martelly made stops at several radio stations to meet with the owners and staff. Radio is the prime source of news for Haitians, because they can use battery-powered radios during the country's frequent power outages.
"It was a courtesy meeting," said Mario Viau, director general of the privately run Signal FM, the first stop on Martelly's media victory lap. "He wanted to show the importance of the press."
Martelly is best known for his wild antics as a popular performer playing "compas," Haiti's high-energy, slowed-down version of merengue. His shows — he started in the mid-1980s and reached the height of his career in the '90s — became legendary, for he was a bona fide provocateur. As the self-proclaimed "bad boy of compas," he donned diapers and dresses, mooned the audience, cursed his rivals and spouted obscenities.
But his outsider image apparently resonated with voters. Haiti's electoral council said late Monday that preliminary results showed that he captured nearly 68 percent of the vote in the March 20 runoff against Mirlande Manigat, a former senator and first lady.
Martelly had placed behind Manigat in the first round in November. The musician said there was no question why.
"There was a system eating at them, consuming them alive," he said of the voters. "The disgust that people felt with the certain situation has created the need for them to see things change."
Manigat wasn't ready to concede. The 70-year-old, Sorbonne-educated grandmother said her team was still looking into allegations of fraud. "You voted, and they stole your vote at the tabulation center," she said at a news conference.
The candidates were vying to succeed President Rene Preval, barred by the constitution from running for a third term. The new president must contend with a Senate and Chamber of Deputies controlled by Preval's party.
Haiti's electoral council said about 23 percent of the 4.7 million registered voters cast ballots. Serge Audate, an elections official, said about 15 percent of the tally sheets had problems suggesting possible fraud, including cases in whic
|Wed, March 02, 2011 at 9:40 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Grammy-winning singer Beyonce donated money received for a New Year's Eve concert reportedly for Moamer Kadhafi's son to help Haiti relief over a year ago, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.
Beyonce gave the money away as soon as she learned of the Kadhafi connection to the concert at a private party on the Caribbean island of St. Barts on December 31, 2009.
"All monies paid to Beyonce for her performance at a private party at Nikki Beach St. Barts on New Year's Eve 2009 ...were donated to the earthquake relief efforts in Haiti, over a year ago," said spokesperson Yvette Noel-Schure.
"Once it became known that the third party promoter was linked to the (Kadhafi) family, the decision was made to put that payment to a good cause," she added, saying the donated money included payments to her booking agency.
The New York Post reported in early January 2010 that Beyonce had sung five songs, dressed in a sexy black leotard, at the Caribbean island party thrown by Kadhafi's son Hannibal.
The newspaper could not confirm how much was paid for the gig, but said that her husband Jay Z was also at the party, along with singer Usher and troubled starlet Lindsay Lohan.
The Beyonce announcement came after Canadian singer Nelly Furtado said Monday she would give away $1 million she received from for a performance "for the Kadhafi clan" four years ago in Italy.
Beyonce has been cited in media reports along with Usher, Mariah Carey and Lionel Ritchie as having been paid up to $1 million dollars each to perform for members of Khadafi's family in recent years
|Sun, September 05, 2010 at 9:08 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
Wyclef Jean may not be president but he's got some high-profile critics.
When the singer and musician launched a highly-publicized bid for president of Haiti in August he had a lot of support, but also some very vocal detractors â€” namely actor and fellow activist Sean Penn and Jean's former Fugees bandmate Pras. Both stars publicly questioned 'Clef's political credentials and at a New York City on Friday, Jean lashed out against the critics.
"I got a message for Sean Penn: Maybe he ain't see me in Haiti because he was too busy sniffing cocaine," Jean sang at Hot 97's On The Reggae Tip concert, switching up the lyrics to his 2004 song "President." "I got a message for Praswell, even though you don't want to support me, I got love for you, even though you only kicked 8 bars in the Fugees." A few weeks after announcing his plans for the presidency, Jean was declared ineligible to run by Haitian electoral officials.
Wyclef's lyrics are the latest swipes in a series of public comments between the musician and Penn and Pras. When Jean spoke about his plans to run for Haiti's head of state on CNN, Penn, who was also a guest on the show, expressed his concerns about the singer's motivations for seeking political office.
"Right now, I worry that this is a campaign that is more about a vision of flying around the world, talking to people. It's certainly not one of the youth drafting him. I would be quite sure that this is an influence of corporations here in the United States and private individuals that may well have capitalized on his will to see himself flying around the world," Penn said. The actor also wrote in a Huffington Post column that despite Jean's public support for the island nation, the MC wasn't around during critical moments after Haiti's devastating January earthquake.
"I was there for those six months after the earthquake and so many of us on the ground wondered where he was when that kind of attention was so necessary and absent, and why he was NOT helping to keep this desperate situation in the news," he wrote. "None among us felt or expressed anger toward it, but rather a universal sadness for his silence, as he is America's most admired cultural...Click for more!
Source: MTV New
|Thurs, August 26, 2010 at 2:50 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Haitian hip-hop star and presidential hopeful Wyclef Jean turned to song on Thursday to accuse outgoing President Rene Preval of engineering his rejection as a candidate for Haiti's November election.
Local radio stations were broadcasting a song by Jean in Creole in which he called for the jailing of electoral officials who last week disqualified him and for the first time directly blamed Preval for being banned from the November 28 vote.
The 40-year-old Haitian-born, U.S.-based musical celebrity, who has an enthusiastic youth following in his poor homeland, is challenging the rejection of his candidacy and has denounced the electoral authorities as corrupt and politically motivated.
The dispute has raised fears of tensions that could disrupt the Caribbean nation's rebuilding after a massive January 12 earthquake that killed up to 300,000 people.
In his Creole composition entitled "Prizon Pou K.E.P.a" (Jail for the Provisional Electoral Council), a somber-voiced Jean sings that Preval "expelled me from the race."
"I know all the cards are in your hands ... I voted for you to be president in 2006, why today did you reject my candidacy?" the song says, addressing Preval, who cannot seek re-election after serving two terms as president.
"It's not Wyclef that you have expelled, it is the youth you have denied ... it's the population you have denied, its the peasants you have denied," Jean sings. He also posted the song on his Twitter page https://twitter.com/wyclef.
Preval had been informed about the song but did not immediately react, aides said.
In ruling out Jean's candidacy and that of 14 other contenders on Friday, Haiti's provisional electoral council said Jean failed to meet a requirement that presidential candidates maintain five consecutive years of residency in the country before running. Nineteen candidates were approved.
'BE A GOOD LOSER'
After initially accepting the decision, Jean -- who left his homeland with his family at age 9 to live in the United States -- changed his tune, announcing he would appeal. He insists he meets the residency requirements.
A lawyer for the electoral council has said that under Article 191 of the electoral law, rulings by the body's disputes tribunal are definitive and cannot be appealed.
Some Haitians backed Jean's challenge. "I think politicians like Preval are the reason why Wyclef is not on the list. They control the electoral council, they know Wyclef would win, so this is unfair," said 30-year-old Jean-Michel Morin.
Others felt it would be better if he accepted the electoral body's decision. "Throwing out accusations and calling on people to mobilize ends up getting people onto the streets to create trouble. I think he needs to show he can be a good loser," said Genevieve Felix, 25.
U.N. and Haitian police have stepped up joint patrols in the rubble-strewn streets of the capital, where more than 1.5 million people are still living in fragile tent and tarpaulin cities at the peak of the 2010 hurricane season.
The U.N. mission in Haiti has appealed to candidates and parties to respect the electoral laws and promote peaceful campaigning. But it has declined to comment directly on the electoral council decision and Jean's challenge of it.
Despite his popularity amon
|Tue, August 24, 2010 at 1:46 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – A ruling by Haiti's electoral council that disqualified hip-hop star Wyclef Jean from running for the presidency is final and cannot be appealed, a council lawyer said on Tuesday.
The Haitian-born and U.S.-based singer-songwriter said on Sunday he would appeal against the provisional electoral council's decision on Friday which rejected his candidacy for the November 28 election in the poorest state in the Americas.
Council officials said Jean, who left his homeland with his family at the age of 9 to live in the United States, did not meet residency requirements.
The 40-year-old musical celebrity has an enthusiastic youth following in Haiti and the dispute over his candidacy has raised some fears of tensions that could disrupt the country's rebuilding after a devastating earthquake in January.
But apart from some small pro-Jean protests, the capital Port-au-Prince has remained largely calm and quiet.
Jean initially accepted the ruling and asked supporters to do the same. He has since launched a barrage of accusations via Twitter, Facebook and statements to U.S. media against the council, calling it corrupt and politically motivated.
Samuel Pierre of the council's legal department told Reuters that, under article 191 of Haiti's electoral law, rulings by the election authority's disputes tribunal are definitive and cannot be appealed.
"Therefore there is absolutely no possibility for Wyclef Jean to be added to the list of candidates approved to run in the next presidential elections," Pierre said. "So it's over."
Jean was one of 15 candidates disqualified from running to succeed President Rene Preval, who cannot stand again after serving two terms. A total of 19 candidates -- including two former prime ministers, a former minister and a former first lady -- were approved to run in the presidential election.
Electoral officials said Jean failed to meet a requirement that presidential candidates maintain five consecutive years of residency in Haiti prior to running.
The singer insists he presented documents to electoral authorities that demonstrate his five years of residency.
"I have spent half my life in Haiti going back and forth," he told MSNBC in an interview on Tuesday.
"The electoral council is very corrupted," he added, saying potential political rivals feared his presidential bid.
"WASTE OF TIME"
Jean has said some of the approved candidates failed to meet the residency requirement but were accepted nevertheless.
Pierre said the electoral council was aware some rejected candidates believed they could appeal against the rulings.
"This is a waste of time because, when it comes to electoral matters, the electoral council is the Supreme Court, meaning there is nowhere else to go," he said.
Pierre said the council had not received any formal appeal from Jean or his lawyers, although they may have gone to another legal body.
Jean says his celebrity status would make him an ideal "global president" who could attract aid and investment to Haiti after the earthquake, which killed up to 300,000 people and crippled the underdeveloped Caribbean state's economy.
United Nations and Haitian police have stepped up joint patrols in the rubble-strewn streets of the capital, where more than 1.5 million people are still living in fragile tent and tarpaulin cities at the peak of the 2010 hurricane season.
|Fri, August 20, 2010 at 11:48 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Haiti's electoral commission said Friday that Wyclef Jean cannot run for president of this Caribbean nation, ending his outsider's bid to lead a country struggling to recover from the Jan. 12 earthquake.
Jean, who faced a challenge to his candidacy in the Nov. 28 elections because he has not lived in Haiti for the past five years as required, issued a statement urging his supporters to remain calm and respond "peacefully and responsibly to the disappointment."
"Though I disagree with the ruling, I respectfully accept the committee's final decision, and I urge my supporters to do the same," he said.
The electoral commission approved 19 candidates and rejected 15, spokesman Richardson Dumel told journalists late Friday, without providing justification for the decisions.
While rejecting Jean, the board approved two leading presidential candidates, former Prime Minister Jacques-Edouard Alexis and Yvon Neptune, who was the last prime minister under ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and has been active in helping to coordinate reconstruction efforts.
Also allowed to run are: Jude Celestin, head of the government's primary construction firm and the candidate supported by President Rene Preval, and Michel Martelly, a well-known Haitian singer known as "Sweet Mickey."
The electoral commission rejected the candidacy of US Ambassador Raymond Joseph, who is Jean's uncle. Preval is barred running for re-election in the Nov. 28 election under the Constitution.
Jean had apparently been aware which way the decision would go. The 40-year-old entertainer had been in a hotel near the electoral commission office but left abruptly without speaking to journalists about an hour before the announcement. He issued his statement later.
Dozens of police and UN peacekeepers in riot gear were stationed outside the electoral council office, but there were no signs of protests or unrest.
One thing is already certain: The singer brought sizzle to the election, attracting fresh attention to a country still devastated by the Jan. 12 earthquake.
"His candidacy certainly did shake things up," said Laurent Dubois, a Haiti historian and professor at Duke University. "But it's still a very important election whether Wyclef is in it or not."
The decision had already been delayed once because of uncertainty over candidate qualifications.
Jean, who gained famed as a member of the hip-hop musical group Fugees before building a solo career, had no political organization, not much of a following beyond his fans of his music and only a vague platform, casting himself as an advocate of Haiti's struggling youth and saying he will ask reconstruction donors to help the country's dysfunctional education system.
He also has faced persistent criticism over alleged financial mismanagement at the charity he founded, Yele Haiti.
On the other hand, he has generated global attention to a race in which almost no one outside Haiti could even name any of the candidates.
"If he hadn't been involved, today, no one would be talking about candidates in the Haitian presidential election," said Mark Jones, a professor of political science at Rice University in Houston.
The singer's fame and wealth instantly made him a formidable candidate in the desperately poor Caribbean nation he left as a boy — though some Haitians questione
|Fri, August 20, 2010 at 6:12 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) - Haiti hip-hop star Wyclef Jean is not on the list of approved candidates who satisfy legal requirements to run in the country's November 28 presidential election, an electoral official said on Thursday.
The presidential bid by the 40-year-old singer-songwriter and international celebrity had triggered widespread enthusiasm in his poor, earthquake-ravaged Caribbean homeland. But it had been challenged on the grounds he did not fully meet the requirements, including a key one on Haitian residency.
"He is not on the list as I speak," the electoral official, a member of the country's provisional electoral council who asked not to be identified, told Reuters.
He said the electoral disputes bureau entrusted with settling challenges to candidates had ruled that Jean did not meet several legal requirements, but he gave no more details.
The provisional electoral council was due to formally publish on Friday the full list of approved candidates to run in the election to choose a successor to President Rene Preval, who cannot seek re-election after two terms in office.
Jean, who left Haiti with his family to live in New York at the age of 9 and launched his music career in the United States, was among 34 contenders for the Haitian presidency who filed their documents with the council this month.
Contacted by Reuters, Jean declined to make any immediate comment, saying he had not been officially notified of any decision and would try to confirm the information.
Earlier, he met President Preval. A photo of them meeting, both smiling, was posted by Jean on his Twitter account.
On Tuesday, the provisional electoral council said it was postponing until Friday its announcement of the final list.
That sparked feverish expectation that has raised fears of political tensions and possible violence in the volatile Caribbean country.
Jean's jump into politics galvanized the Haitian political scene, triggering enthusiasm among the country's restless, widely unemployed youth, who see him as a refreshing symbol of home-grown hope, and alarm among the traditional Haitian political elite who seemed to feel threatened by him.
Slogans scrawled in Creole on city walls reading: "Youth supports Youth" and "Wyclef means change" testified to his support among the young, and youth and Creole musical groups had already declared their backing for his candidacy.
FEAR OF POSSIBLE VIOLENT PROTESTS
Haiti, the poorest state in the Americas, is still struggling to recover from a magnitude 7 earthquake that struck the teeming capital, Port-au-Prince, and surrounding area on January 12, killing up to 300,000 people and dealing a crippling blow to the already underdeveloped economy.
The electoral council member told Reuters he had heard reports that some candidates might be preparing to stir up violent protests if their candidacies were rejected.
"I've even been told that they have already bought and distributed machetes. ... It's up to security officials to assume their responsibilities," he added.
"But we are doing our job and we will continue to assume our responsibilities regardless of what people do or say," the electoral official said.
U.N. and Haitian police have stepped up joint patrols in the still rubble-strewn streets of the capital, in
|Thurs, August 19, 2010 at 2:22 PM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Questions over whether Haitian hip-hop star Wyclef Jean meets the legal requirements to run for the presidency of his earthquake-ravaged homeland have stirred feverish expectation and fears that political tensions could bedevil the arduous post-quake reconstruction.
Uncertainty in the poor, volatile Caribbean state has jumped since the electoral authority postponed to Friday an announcement set for Tuesday of which candidates were qualified to run in the November 28 election. The poll will choose a successor to President Rene Preval, who cannot stand again.
Jean, a 40-year-old singer-songwriter and international celebrity who is widely popular in Haiti, figures on a list of 34 presidential contenders who include veteran politicians. His candidacy and that of several others is being challenged.
The political temperature is rising at a time when Haiti is struggling to recover from a magnitude 7 earthquake that struck the teeming capital and surrounding area on January 12, killing up to 300,000 people and dealing a crippling blow to the already underdeveloped economy of the poorest state in the Americas.
Here are some questions and answers about the issues and risks surrounding Friday's decision on Jean's candidacy:
WHY IS WYCLEF JEAN'S CANDIDACY UNDER SCRUTINY?
Haitian electoral law stipulates that candidates must have had five consecutive years of residency in the country. There are questions about whether Jean, who went with his family to live in New York at the age of nine and launched his music career in the United States, fulfills this requirement.
He and his lawyers argue that he does. They cite his Haitian passport, his rural family home at Lassere outside Port-au-Prince and his share in local commercial TV station Telemax. They say he has maintained a "constant presence" in Haiti since 2005, while arguing his appointment in 2007 as a roving "ambassador-at-large" for Haiti involved some inevitable absences from the country.
Jean's tax compliance situation has also come under scrutiny, both in Haiti and the United States. His lawyers say they have presented documents demonstrating his compliance in Haiti and the singer himself says he is dealing with reported problems with U.S. authorities over his U.S. income tax.
Besides these legal issues, Jean has also faced questions about whether an international celebrity with no political experience is the best person to lead a chronically poor and corrupt nation that is coming out of a devastating disaster.
He says that this international status will be an asset in securing funds and partners to help rebuild the nation.
"We are waiting patiently for the electoral council to release the results," he told Reuters Wednesday.
COULD THERE BE UNREST IF HIS CANDIDACY IS REJECTED?
Yes. Jean's presidential bid has galvanized the Haitian political scene, triggering enthusiasm among the country's restless, widely-unemployed youth, who see him as a refreshing symbol of home-grown hope, and alarm among the traditional Haitian political elite that feels threatened by him.
In the still rubble-strewn streets of the wrecked capital, slogans scrawled in Creole on the walls reading "Youth supports Youth" and "Wyclef means change" testify to the powerful political energy generated by his candidacy.
But this could turn sour and violent if the electoral council rejects his candidacy. Many may suspect powerful political and business elites had a hand in torpedoing his bi
|Wed, August 18, 2010 at 8:18 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – Haiti's electoral board decided to push back to August 20 its release of a final list of presidential candidates, a statement released Tuesday said, leaving in doubt for now whether hip-hop star Wyclef Jean can run.
"Due to questions posed regarding some candidates, ... the electoral board has decided to delay until August 20 the release of its final list of presidential candidates," the board said in a statement.
The council had pledged to release the list by Tuesday ahead of the November 28 elections for a successor to President Rene Preval, as Haiti struggles to revover from a devastating January 12 earthquake.
Several of the candidates including Grammy-winning hip-hop star Jean have had their presidential eligibility requirements questioned at the electoral body.
Jean is one of 34 Haitians who have lined up to run for the presidency, a measure of the office's powerful allure despite the widespread misery and seemingly insurmountable problems worsened by a January 12 earthquake that leveled the capital.
The vote is the first since the earthquake, which killed at least 250,000 people and left 1.5 million without homes. The winner will replace Preval, who is prohibited from seeking another term.
Pierre Thibolt, communications director of the provisional election council, earlier had told AFP the list would be released on Tuesday.
Security barricades had gone up around the council's headquarters in Petionville, a Port-au-Prince suburb, amid rumors that the council will eliminate some of the presidential hopefuls, possibly including Jean.
The Grammy-winning former Fugees frontman has little experience in politics but casts his insurgent bid as a chance to save a country brought to its knees by poverty, mismanagement and the earthquake.
But he faces challenges on whether he meets residency requirements after having lived in the United States for years, and about taxes he owes there.
Actor Sean Penn, who runs a tent camp for the homeless in Haiti, and others have accused Jean of misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars he raised after the earthquake for a charity he ran.
In a report Tuesday, the New York Times spotlighted a history of poor financial management at Jean's Yele Haiti charity, including a 250,000-dollar payment it made to a television station that the singer and a cousin had recently acquired.
In a statement, Jean acknowledged "missteps" at the charity before the earthquake but called claims that 250,000 dollars were misappropriated an "outright falsity" circulated by disgruntled former employees.
"Unhappy former employees, old rumors and long negated claims are simply distractions at this crucial juncture, when my advisers and I need total focus on the Haitian situation," he said.
His supporters have brushed aside the other concerns raised with the election council.
"We have proved that Mr. Jean had residency in Haiti where he is also a majority shareholder in a television station. The financial statements in the United States cannot be dealt with in Haiti," said Joel Petit-Homme, one of Jean's lawyers.
"The electoral office of disputes has already decided in our favor and now no political influence can stop Mr. Jean from seeking Haiti's presidency," he added.
Jean arrived back in Haiti on Saturday, and toured Haiti's south before arriving Monday in his stronghold, Croix des Bouquet, near the capital, where aides s
|Sun, August 15, 2010 at 4:16 AM|Send Blog · Share on Facebook · Bookmark on Delicious
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Hip hop artist and presidential hopeful Wyclef Jean said Saturday that as leader he would work to change Haiti's constitution to allow dual citizenship and give many Haitians living abroad the right to vote in their homeland.
The issue is central in Haiti where hundreds of thousands have emigrated to flee poverty and the money they send to relatives back home is a vital source of income in the earthquake-ravaged Caribbean nation.
Currently, Haitians who emigrate must renounce their Haitian citizenship if they become citizens of another country, making them unable to vote or run for office in their homeland. Jean himself left Haiti for New York City when he was nine, but never sought U.S. citizenship.
The former Fugees frontman told The Associated Press that his presidency would be a "bridge" between the Haitians abroad and those living in the country.
"The future is dual citizenship," he said, adding that many countries, including the neighboring Dominican Republic, allow citizens to hold two passports.
Haitians abroad "should have the right to vote in their country," especially since they send billions in remittances to family members.
"If they are the ones who keep this country alive, they should have some kind of say on what kind of government structure there is," the 40-year-old singer said.
Jean arrived in Haiti after giving a concert in Belgium. He said it might be one of his last performances for five years if elected.
The singer, who appeared relaxed and was wearing a blue Adidas track suit and headphones around his neck, spoke to AP at the main airport in Port-au-Prince. He touched on issues of security, former Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide and on what being a celebrity has taught him about politics.
"Celebrity has taught me that politics is politricks," he said. "The fact that I'm coming with this with fresh eyes but not naive ears, I think that's a good start."
But he spent most of the interview discussing the Haitian Diaspora, concentrated mainly in Miami, New York, Paris and Montreal.
People in Haiti have long relied on family and friends abroad to make ends meet. Remittances are the main source of income in the country of more than 9 million people, 70 percent of whom are unemployed and 90 percent of whom live in poverty.
According to a survey for the Inter-American Development Bank, 33 percent of Haitians receive cash from abroad and nearly 75 percent of the money is spent on food, housing, utilities and clothing. Food and other gifts are also sent.
The average remittance in Haiti is about $150 and those who receive them typically get about 10 transfers a year, for an average total of $1,500, the IDB survey shows. A Haitian's per-capita income in 2008 was about $1,300, according to the CIA World Factbook.
Jean noted that over a five-year period, the remittances total almost the same amount that has been so far pledged by donors to help reconstruct Haiti.
"To save the country, it's not just going to take aid," he said. "It's going to take investment. That's the message."
To be sure, Jean himself has a big hurdle to clear before he actually campaigns for office.
An eight-member provisional electoral council is scheduled to decide Tuesday whether Jean will even be listed on the Nov. 28 presidential ballot. According to the country's constitution, Haitian presidents must have lived in the country at least five consecutive years before election day.
During the interview with the AP, Jean also said that h