Ten years after the 2010 earthquake which devastated Haiti on January 12, former US President Bill Clinton continues to cop flack for the rehabilitation efforts made by agencies that bear his name.
The 7.0 Richter scale recorded earthquake saw more than 200,000 people lose their lives, an outbreak of cholera and many government buildings destroyed.
“It was a big cumbersome process, but it was totally transparent.”— Clinton
Bill Clinton was appointed co-chair of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission and US$13 billion was promised in pledges. Ten years later, most of those pledges remain unaccounted for.
Both the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative undertook efforts to get Haiti back on its feet and see to it that the country received both aid and financial assistance.
However, Clinton has had to answer a barrage of accusations that both his philanthropic agencies profited from the Haiti earthquake and even President Trump attempted to draw an unsubstantiated connection between Digicel founder Denis O’Brien and Clinton’s role in the Haitian reconstruction project.
Speaking with the Miami Herald in response to the accusations, Bill Clinton said: “A lot of people seem to think that our group, the reconstruction commission was getting money. We didn’t. We never took any donations.”
“It was a big cumbersome process, but it was totally transparent, and we kept up with who funded what, who got the money and did an after-action audit on all of them.”
Both Bill Clinton and Denis O’Brien made commendable efforts following the devastating earthquake in Haiti back in 2010. What was accomplished with the rebuilt Iron Market in Port-au-Prince was truly wonderful to behold.
There are those who hold the view that these attacks and accusations are largely politically motivated and aim to sully the names of men whose humanitarian efforts should be held up as fine examples.
So what does Bill Clinton wish for Haiti 10 years on? And considering the heat he has taken for his largesse, was it worth it?
“I would like for Haiti to be a democracy. There’s a fundamental goodness and energy about the people and an almost unlimited capacity. And they’ve been worked over for 200 years by outsiders and then by their own people who got a hold of political power and used it very often the way outsiders have,” Clinton said.
“And I don’t think that this country will ever realise its full potential until it builds systems that bring everybody together and make good decisions in an open and honest way. But I would do it again tomorrow,” added the former President of the United States.