PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Wyclef Jean, the Haitian American who was prevented from contesting the presidential elections, has been made a Grand Officer of the National Order of Honor and Merit for his work as a roving ambassador for the earthquake ravaged French Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.
President Michel Martelly presented the award to Wyclef, 41, the former leader of the hip hop group, the Fugees, at a ceremony here on Wednesday at the presidential palace.
Jean was barred from contesting the elections that Martelly won due to residency reasons but played a key role in keeping attention on Haiti after the devastating January 2010 earthquake.
The singer aided projects through his Yele Haiti Foundation and has brought in a steady stream of international stars to keep the desperate plight of Haitians in the media spotlight.
“I have great joy in solemnly honouring a son of this earth who has assumed with force, conviction and humanity, his Haitian quality,” Martelly said, noting that Jean award represents “a sign of the utmost appreciation for his dedication to the promotion of Haiti across the world”.
Martelly praised the singer for his initiatives to help the estimated 1.3 million Haitians made homeless by the earthquake that killed an estimated 300,000 people.
“You are one of the Haitians who make us proud,” Martelly said of Jean, who was made a roving ambassador for Haiti in 2007 to help improve its image abroad.
Martelly himself is struggling to form a government two months after being sworn in with the Senate yet to approve his nominations for Prime Minister. (CMC)