Words: Meant Not To Be Kept!
They had publicly announced, possibly more than once, that they would help the French Government rebuild the Medieval Catholic Cathedral. Since the time the devastating fire badly damaged the 850-year-old Cathedral on April 15, the French billionaires haven’t donated a single penny for the restoration of Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris. Although billionaires have failed to keep their promise, the common people have shown interest in restoring one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. The Church authorities have confirmed that many French and American nationals have donated money to the Notre-Dame Charitable Foundation! In a statement, the authorities have stated that the restoration work is going on, as at least 150 workers are working hard every day and some voluntary organisations are paying their salaries! The Cathedral received USD 4 million from private organisations earlier in June.
Notre-Dame Press Secretary André Fino said: “The big donors have not paid. It’s not a penny. They want to know how we use the financial assistance. They will donate only if our reply satisfies them.” It is to be noted that the French billionaires had committed USD 1 billion soon after the tragedy. In fact, the billionaires got involved in a competition (as far as donation was concerned) in order to show their financial strength and status!
Kering S.A, the international luxury group based in Paris, is the owner of brands, like Gucci and Saint Laurent. François Pino, the owner of their parent organisation Artemis, had promised to donate USD 11.2 billion for the restoration of damaged Notre-Dame. The CEO of French multinational Integrated Oil and Gas Company Total S.A., Patrick Pouyanne, (too) had announced that he would donate the same amount. Meanwhile, French businessman Bernard Arnault, currently the third-richest person in the world, had pledged USD 226 million to help rebuild the Notre-Dame. However, none of them have kept their word, so far. Fino has claimed that Norte-Dame is yet to receive a single penny from them! While some billionaires want to see the draft of the proposed reform plan first, others are interested in signing a contract with the Church authorities before sanctioning funds. According to the Press Secretary, the billionaires are, seemingly, not eager to rebuild the Norte-Dame!
However, the reconstruction work is still going on, as a number of voluntary organisations help the concerned authorities rebuild the historic Cathedral. The Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris has issued a statement, stating that it has received 90% of donations from the US nationals. The president of the organisation has thanked the Americans for showing their Love and Admiration for the Notre-Dame…
As far as the French billionaires are concerned, Pouyanne’s spokesperson has admitted that they are yet to hand over the donation to the Notre-Dame authorities. He said that Pouyanne would provide financial help after signing a contract with the Cathedral officials. Meanwhile, LVHM Group and the Arnault Family have informed the press that they will (financially) help the Notre-Dame authorities reconstruct the Cathedral in near future.
At a time when the French billionaires keep dilly-dallying with the funds, President Emmanuel Macron has made clear that his Government would reconstruct the Notre-Dame by five years’ time, whatever the situation may turn out to be!
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