I, like many of you, read this morning that former-Fugee Wyclef Jean may announce a run for president of Haiti. Jean was born in Port-au-Prince, raised in Brooklyn, and went on to become a famous hip-hop artist and industry entrepreneur. After the earthquake he helped raised over $9 million for Haiti and has been a prominent voice for continued relief in the media.
I’ve made the point on this blog before that our attention spans for crises are short, with Haiti nearly out of our minds completely (and the oil spill losing ground quickly). From that perspective, I immediately thought, “Could Wyclef Jean keep Haiti in our conscious long enough to rebuild Haiti?” Is that more important right now, or is there a lesser-known prospect equipped to do a better job?
I have never been to Haiti and couldn’t begin to speak for their needs right now, so I ask the diverse GovLoop community, after reading these 10 things to consider byGarry Pierre-Pierre,would you support Wyclef Jean’s bid for presidency?
His international fame would ensure that Haiti commands steady media attention
He can be a spokesman for the country, despite his poor French and Creole language skills
He can lure investors into Haiti where missionaries and aid workers run roughshod over everyone.
He can be a catalyst to get the international community to see the virtue in getting competent Haitians living abroad to come back to Haiti.
He can inspire youth from around the world to come to Haiti
He can deliver on his promises if he keeps them real
He can galvanize the population that has grown cynical about the political process
He will not be as tempted to corruption
He will help develop art and culture institutions in a country with none but brimming with talent.
He will stop the five decade old brain drain
Oil Spill Update
Last night we reached a big milestone in the oil spill recovery. The “top-kill” procedure (pumping heavy drilling mud into the cap on the top of the well) appears to have worked, essentially sealing the well from leaking more oil. The permanent “bottom-kill” procedure, better known as relief wells (explained in an earlier post of mine), is just around the corner. The relief well is just 100 feet horizontally from the problem well. Once they intersect, heavy drilling mud and concrete will seal the well from the bottom.
Meanwhile, White House energy adviser Carol Browner said this morning that a new assessment found 75% of the oil in the Gulf has been captured, burned off, evaporated or broken down. I’m a bit skeptical of that myself, but then again, if that’s not the case, where has there been new oil on our beaches since the initial push onto the Louisiana coast? No doubt there’s an immeasurable environmental impact, but I think we’re very close to the spill being out of sight, out of mind.
FloodSmart.gov is the official site of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). It has some nice interactive tools like looking up your flood zone by address, finding an insurance agent, and my favorite – a “Cost of Flooding Calculator.”
Chris Bennett is a self-proclaimed emergency management innovator who is trying to make government better by improving citizen preparedness and crisis communications. He’s a graduate of Wharton with a master’s from Harvard with in “Technology, Innovation, Education.” His portfolio of companies and former projects include OneStorm Hurricane Preparedness, ReadyTown, GovLive, TexasPrepares and America’s Emergency Network. Chris was the recipient of FL Governor Crist’s 2008 Public Information Award. He lives in St. Petersburg, FL, loves to fish, and has been spotted sharing a pint with GovLoop Founder Steve Ressler in Tampa.