Haiti for UN, Mystery of Bolduc's Quitting, Love Boat Stonewall
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, April 10 -- In promoting its work in Haiti, the UN veers
from loud bragging to quiet resignations. This last appears to be the
case of Kim Bolduc.
She had been in Haiti for less than two months
when the UN thrust her forward as its public face after the
earthquake. Senior UN officials heaped praise on her, she appeared by
video hook up to reporters at UN headquarters in New York, and was
quoted gushing about how much she loved working in Haiti for the UN.
Then, very quickly thereafter, she quit.
was told this by sources, and asked. Earlier this month, the UN terse
confirmed that Ms. Bolduc's assignment was over. On April 8 and 9,
Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's associate spokesman Farhan Haq
to explain her resignation and where she had gone next.
UNDP," Haq said. But since the most senior UN officials in New
York had praised Bolduc, Inner City Press asked again. Video here.
Again, the buck was passed to UNDP, which in substance answered that
feels that the time had come for new colleagues to come in to carry
forward the efforts underway to help rebuild Haiti. Interim
arrangements are in place while a permanent replacement is found for
the Secretary-General to name a new Deputy Special Representative."
"interim arrangements" were not specified. The other DSRSG,
Tony Banbury, was seen by Inner City Press on April 8 speaking at
length on the corner of 45th Street and Second Avenue with the chief
of UN Peacekeeping Alain Leroy, just before he went on ten days of
leave. (While Haq refused to answer who would be in charge during
Leroy's absence, Inner City Press later informally learned: Dmitry
Titov, now Mister Rule of Law.)
in October 2009, ICP exclusively reported that UN's (now-destroyed)
Headquarters in Haiti was leased on the basis of a noncompetitive
procurement in a contract which cost $94,000
While that figure seemed a bit extravagant, it has since been
exposed that the UN is now paying $112,500 per
day for two cruise ships to accommodate UN staff.
Cabin on Sea
Voyager, rented by UN for its (international) Haiti staff
originally put out a press release describing these
But in a mysterious way repeated frequently by the UN agencies when
it realizes the potential liability of its announcements, that story
was disappeared; removed from the internet. WFP spun:
"Photos, text and video material are regularly being added and
removed from WFP's Web site as stories are refreshed, restructured
and replaced." Thankfully, the original story was saved; we
are linking here.
On April 8, ICP asked UN spokesman
Farhan Haq about the Love Boat story, specifically about how the
procurement was done. Haq refused to answer any questions about
the Love Boat contract, and passed the ball over to UNDP, despite
WFP's lead role.
Here is what UNDP's spokesman had to say --
he asked that it be published in full:
you can imagine, working conditions in Haiti are not easy. As result
of the earthquake, the main UN building was flattened, killing more
than 100 of our colleagues, and the UNDP building, while still
standing, is deemed unsafe. Our staff has been working out of the
logistics base near the airport. Some of our staff permanently
assigned to Haiti can not return to their homes because they have
been damaged or destroyed and there is also a lack of available
housing for new arrivals. Therefore, some UNDP staff is staying tents
at a UN camp, some are sleeping in their offices at the logistics
base and others are sleeping in cabins on the ships, often two to a
room. It should be noted that the ship has basic amenities but is by
no means a "cruise ship". It is intended simply to house
staff safely so they can perform their duties. About 12 people with
UNDP contracts in Haiti, out of a total of approximately 200, are
using the maritime accommodations at any one time.
the immediate aftermath of the quake, the UN needed to find quickly
accommodations to handle the surge of UN personnel coming in to the
country in a way that obviously did not tax an already strained
housing sector. The accommodations were procured by WFP for the
benefit of the UN system. The cost recovery from WFP is being
While it is unlikely that there will actually
be any "cost
recovery" in the meaningful sense of the phrase, we will
continue to monitor how and why the UN got into this arrangement, and
more broadly how it it is putting donor funds to use in Haiti.
Watch this site.
* * *
Haiti, IMF's Strauss-Kahn Dodges on Debt Forgiveness, Past
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, March 31 -- Amid the congratulatory talk about help to Haiti
at the UN on March 31, it emerged that the International Monetary
yet to forgive Haiti's now over $270 million in debt to the
IMF, while by contrast the Inter American Development Bank has
forgiven all of its $479 million in loans to Haiti.
asked the IMF's Dominique Strauss-Kahn why the IMF's loans had yet to
be forgiven, and to address the IMF's previous conditionalities on
Haiti which results, experts say, in the destruction of the country's
scoffed at the latter question, saying that this -- a press stakeout
in front of the pledging conference in the UN's Trusteeship Council
Chamber -- was not the place to discussion conditionality. On the
still unforgiven loans, he argued that they are not due until 2012,
and bragged that Rene Preval is happy with the IMF's, and presumably
stakeout, Strauss-Kahn made a point of hanging around with President
Preval in the hallway in front of the Trusteeship Council.
UN's Ban, Zoellick and Strauss-Kahn, IMF debt
forgiveness not yet shown
representative of the IADB came out, and confirmed that full
forgiveness of $479 million in loans. Inner City Press asked, what
explained the IABD's fast forgiveness, and the IMF's continued delay?
representative diplomatically mentioned the meeting of finance
ministers in Cancun. But there are been a number of IMF Executive
Board meetings and/or actions since Haiti's earthquake.
whether Strauss-Kahn's perhaps related fixation on Greece -- where
he's said the IMF would "intervene" if asked -- and his
personal political trajectory, not only vis a vis Nicolas Sarkozy but
also Martine Aubry, have made him and the IMF slow on Haiti. One
wouldn't know it from Wednesday's bluster, but facts... are facts.
Watch this site.