By: Mary Jo Almeida-Shore
Haiti Means Business
On June 25, the President of the Republic of Haiti, Michel Joseph Martelly attended a private reception at the exclusive Soho Beach House hosted by Michael Capponi and General Consulate of Haiti in Miami, Ralph Latortue to unveil the “Haiti Means Business” campaign. The handsome and charismatic Martelly, a former pop star and club promoter, made a grand entrance into the party in a procession led by the banging of a giant drum accompanied by live Haitian music, surrounded by close friends and family. President Martelly then stood on the edge of Soho Beach House’s private 8th floor pool, to proclaim his vision for the future of Haiti, in a speech which echoed his inauguration speech this May. “This is a new Haiti, open for business now,” he told the cheering crowd of 300 at the party. Martelly’s plan focuses on the urgent need for action, recovery, and renewal to improve the living conditions, well-being and prospects of the Haitian people, with new impetus given to job-creating sectors.
Local nightlife impresario and entrepreneur, Michael Capponi, who has visited Haiti more than 30 times since the devastating earthquake last year, supports the President’s mission in seeking to transform the world’s image of Haiti from that of an impoverished disaster area to that of a world-class Caribbean tourist destination, with a stable government and secure foreign investment opportunities.
Capponi’s first 20 visits to the island nation were strictly humanitarian in nature- but since then, he has taken an active role in the revitalization, restoration and rebuilding of Historic Jacmel, one of the oldest cities in Haiti, which he describes as one of the last unspoiled, authentic Caribbean gems, similar to the beautiful beaches in the Dominican Republic, where he has been surfing since he was 15. Capponi has spearheaded the revitalization efforts in Jacmel in order to help create thousands of jobs, empowering the Haitian people to stand on their own.
“Jacmel is one of the last remnants of a real African civilization. We seek to preserve and showcase the culture to the rest of the world, without disturbing that which makes it unique.” Designer, Donna Karan is also on-board with the revitalization efforts, and has been working hand-in-hand with President Martelly, Capponi, the Khawly family, David Belle, actress Maria Bello and various business leaders throughout the world in this gradual shift from charity to empowerment, where Haiti’s new stable government supports foreign investments.
The crowd at the party was abuzz with ideas following Martelly’s address, enjoying the Soho Beach House’s signature paella, live Haitian band and a slide show of the beautiful landscapes of Jacmel. The event was sponsored by the Haiti Invest Team and Soho Beach House. For more information, visit www.discoveringhaiti.com.
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