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Wyclef Jean On Run For Presidency: 'We Can Get Haiti Out of Mess They're In'

Wyclef Jean officially announced his bid to be president of Haiti to a roaring crowd of supporters on Thursday, thrusting himself into a race to lead the country still reeling from a devastating earthquake.

While Jean submitted his candidacy papers just ten minutes before the provisional electoral office closed, the former Fugees frontman is already believed to be a potential front-runner in Haiti's November 28 election.

"We can provide a way to get Haitians out of the mess they're in," he tells AP. "And the way that that's going to happen is education, job creation and investment for Haiti."

"President Clinton is focusing on the garment industry and all that. I think that's great. But also agriculture is involved," Jean said. "We can work both components at the same time."

Jean was born on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince but left the country as a child and grew up in Brooklyn. With the Fugees, he recorded the Grammy-winning, multiplatinum-selling album 'The Score'.

"I am not stepping down in my commitment to Haiti," he said of his charity work after the January 12 earthquake. "On the contrary, regardless of what path I take next, one thing is certain: My focus on helping Haiti turn a new corner will only grow stronger."

As for the criticism and scrutiny he's been receiving over the $2.1 million he owes in taxes to the US government, Jean has a rather unusual response.

"First of all, owing $2.1 million to the IRS shows you how much money Wyclef Jean makes a year," he says referring to himself in the third person.

He promises to publish an accounting of his finances and to repay the money he owes before the election.

August 6, 2010 |

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