Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .


Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

In Haiti for UN, Mystery of Bolduc's Quitting, Love Boat Stonewall

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED 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.

Inner City Press 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.

  "Ask 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 Ms. Bolduc

"now 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."

  The "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.)

Back 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 per month. 

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

WFP originally put out a press release describing these accommodations.  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:

As 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.

In 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 calculated.

 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.

* * *

On Haiti, IMF's Strauss-Kahn Dodges on Debt Forgiveness, Past Conditions' Harm

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 31 -- Amid the congratulatory talk about help to Haiti at the UN on March 31, it emerged that the International Monetary Fund has 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.

  Inner City Press 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 rice industry.

  Strauss-Kahn 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 his, performance.

  After the 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

  Soon, the 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?

   The IADB 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.

Some question 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.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -