Wyclef Jean has pledged to boost the teaching of English in Haiti if he wins his bid for the presidency - because "years" of rule by French-speaking politicians has not benefited the country. The Fugees star confirmed on Thursday, August 5 he wants to fight for leadership of his homeland, and filed election papers confirming his candidacy.
He has brushed off accusations he will struggle to communicate with the mainly French and Creole-speaking citizens - insisting he wants to encourage them to use English as a third language. Jean tells U.S. TV show "Larry King Live", "What about my French... seriously, we've had years and years of politicians speaking French. And where has that gotten us? So I do believe that this population should speak French. It should speak Creole. It should also learn English."
"I left Haiti when I was nine years old. I came to the United States of America. I'm proud that I learned English. And I'm proud when I go back to my country - when I'm communicating with these people in (Creole)."
In another news, Sean Penn criticized Wyclef Jean for stepping into Haiti's presidential race - insisting the former Fugees star has been "a non-presence" in aid efforts following the country's devastating earthquake. The Oscar-winning actor has made several trips to the nation in the wake of the January quake and become heavily involved in charity efforts to help the survivors.
But Penn isn't impressed with the news that Jean is campaigning to become the country's next leader and he is convinced allegations that the star misused money donated to his Yele Haiti foundation will come back to haunt him.
Penn says "He has been virtually silent for those of us in Haiti, he has been a non-presence. His voice has really been most loudly that which allegedly (sic) has taken over 400,000 dollars designated for Haitian relief for himself and claims he didn't do it. That has to be looked into."
"I've been there. I know what 400,000 dollars could do for these people's lives and for a 24-year-old girl right now who is dying. So, I want to see someone who is really, really willing to sacrifice for their country and not just someone who I personally saw with a vulgar entourage of vehicles that demonstrated a wealth in Haiti that - in context, I felt (was) a very obscene demonstration."