…The essence of Laurent Lamothe’s book is the recognition that government is the servant of the people and I hope that the spirit evoked here will thrive and reach fulfillment as Haiti continues on the path of reform.
Just as the people of Haiti nourish our souls with their courage and strength in the face of adversity, Laurent's book is sure to inspire more members of the global community to help build and protect beautiful Haiti.
…Let this book be your introduction to an extraordinary man and country.
Hands of the Prime Minister
For a brief period, from 2012 to 2015, the emerging nation of Haiti experienced a season of extraordinary progress and increased security. Plagued by decades of disasters, man-made and natural, this period marked a time of hope in Haiti. This was in large part the result of a hands-on, inclusive government set up and managed by the young businessman turned Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe. This book tells a story of Haiti most don’t know, one in which the country accomplished something together unprecedented--in record time. It should serve as an example for the rest of the world.
Providing an eye-opening account of governance, healing, and a country rebuilding, The Hands of the Prime Minister: An illustrated conversation with Haiti’s longest serving head of government features a foreword by Academy Award-winning actor and humanitarian Sean Penn and an introduction by photojournalist Philip Holsinger. At the heart of the book is a conversational interview between Holsinger and Lamothe.
Lamothe was Haiti’s youngest and longest serving Prime Minister in modern times. During his tenure, which began in 2012, shortly after the massive earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010, Lamothe presided over the design and implementation of an unprecedented social policy agenda targeting the poorest sectors of the Haitian population; a massive nationwide building effort including schools, bridges, and roads that are clearly visible throughout Haiti today; and a direct foreign investment strategy that saw such investment increase to its highest level in a generation. His success is credited to his managerial approach in leading the troubled nation. Lamothe and his staff developed channels of communication with all levels of society, including the many-sided opposition.
The infrastructure and social programs implemented during this time have been compared to the vast building efforts in the U.S. following the Great Depression. The Hands of the Prime Minister reveals what was done in private, out of public view. Lamothe found a way to work with the whole of the people and rebuild a divided country. As the reader learns, Lamothe was almost always the last to leave.
“In following Laurent throughout the interview process for this book, I was able to provide a deep-dive into the changes made during his time in office,” said Holsinger. “His common sense solutions, made by listening to the people, provided remarkable outcomes. What he created in record time still exists today--he essentially rebuilt a country in 31 months.”
Stories I Tell My Daughter
A photo essay from travels in the unwanted country, Haiti.
By Philip Holsinger
Holsinger is a photojournalist and writer who has worked in some of the world’s most volatile regions observing conflicts and human peril. He was on the ground for Lamothe’s entire tenure after accepting an offer to join the Prime Minister’s staff. He observed the national developments—good or bad—and made a public record. For nearly two years, with complete freedom and independence, he crisscrossed the country. His expansive photo collection showcasing the heart of Haiti and the record he created are shared with readers for the very first time in The Hands of the Prime Minister.
Thirty-one months is only a fraction of the time needed for development, however, Lamothe shows that with good will, persistence, public accountability, and perseverance, Haiti can get better. In The Hands of the Prime Minister, Lamothe states, “To change the culture of a country you must first change the culture of your own house.”
Lamothe’s Haiti is proof of what happens when leaders truly listen—to people and communities struggling the most – and make common sense decisions that have significant outcomes. The Hands of the Prime Minister is a reflective narrative on a country being brought together and the infrastructure created to set it on a new path. This book is for people interested in a political record, dynamic management practices and a conversation among friends. It is a love letter to a country.