Sunday, October 22, 2017
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Karl Rove talks Clinton, Digicel pay-to-play in Haiti

Samuel Maxime

Editor-in-Chief

NEW YORK, New York, US (sentinel.ht) – Republican strategist, Karl Rove, on Wednesday gave, as an example of a pay-to-play scheme, the sequence of events between the Hillary Clinton State Department, the Clinton Foundation and an Irish-owned telecommunications company, Digicel, in Haiti.

Rove, a Fox News contributor who appeared on The Factor with Bill O’Reilly, outlined how Digicel’s owner, Denis O’Brien, a contributor to the Clinton Foundation of $10-$25 million [USD], used his relationship with the Clintons to get favors from the State Department that grew his business in the country.

Digicel managed to get a deal with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake where shipments from a food program were only available to persons who had a Digicel phone and service. This allowed Digicel to gain a major advantage over its biggest competitor at the time, American-owned Voila.

While Karl Rove did mention the favoritism shown to Digicel through a money transfer prize and bonus contest through USAID and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation he also missed to mention the Clinton Foundation, Digicel partnership to build a luxurious Marriott Hotel in Port-au-Prince.

As all these dealings were going on, Haiti became Digicel’s most lucrative market among its 33 total markets across the Caribbean, Central America, and Oceania regions.

Denis O’Brien had arranged speaking engagements for former President Bill Clinton and flew him out to other appearances in Ireland, though much information on those events are not known.

Today, Digicel is considered to be a monopoly in Haiti, being the only privately owned telecom. There is, Natcom, a primarily state-owned company that began on internet and landline service but is continuing to grow its mobile service.

None the less, Haitians have expressed greatly their displeasure and helplessness with Digicel since it became a monopoly. The company has raised costs and tried to ban Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) apps on its phones. Consistently poor connection service has been publicly rebuked and frequent unwanted solicitations via text messages to its users, are a few among the objections.

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About The Author

Samuel Maxime is a Haitian-born citizen living in the United States. He founded The Haiti Sentinel to bring Haitian issues to an English language audience.