The honour comes in recognition of Mr. O’Brien’s dedication to helping Haiti recover and rebuild in the aftermath of the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince on 12th January and was bestowed on Mr. O’Brien by the mayor of Port-au-Prince, Jean Yves Jason and the deputy mayor, Nadeje Augustin in a meeting in the Haitian capital on Tuesday 9th February.
Since the earthquake, Mr. O’Brien has been instrumental in efforts to attract much-needed aid relief to the stricken country – as well as to encourage businesses to consider Haiti as an ideal place for foreign direct investment.
In accepting the honour, Mr. O’Brien commented; “In my role as goodwill ambassador for the city of Port-au-Prince, I promise to do everything in my power to ensure that the plight of the people of Haiti is kept front of mind across the globe. I would like to thank the mayor and the deputy mayor for this honour.
He continues; “Over the last few weeks, we have seen a massive worldwide outpouring of sympathy and support, but much more is needed. The challenge is to achieve significant and sustained foreign investment and to ensure that this money is channeled into the right projects and succeeds in making a tangible positive long term difference. With the right focus and planning, together, we can help Haiti to rise again.”
Mayor of Port-au-Prince, Jean Yves Jason, commented; “Since before Digicel’s launch here in Haiti back in 2006, Denis O’Brien has been a huge supporter of our country – and has worked tirelessly to ensure a better standard of living for our people through the provision of housing, educational facilities and programmes. He is very much the right person to help us to rebuild and to look to the future in a positive way. We are delighted that he has accepted this role and look forward to working together closely for the long-term benefit of the Haitian people.”
As the single largest investor in Haiti with a total investment of over U$300 million since its launch in 2006, Digicel has over two million customers in Haiti. The Digicel Haiti Relief Fund has donated US$5 million to NGOs in Haiti to support the relief efforts and to date over US$800,000 has been raised by Digicel customers across the Caribbean and Central America through a text and voice donation line. Digicel also gave each of its two million customers US$5 in free credit – totaling US$10 million.