CaribWorldNews, WASHINGTON, D.C., Weds. Feb. 17, 2010: The U.S. State Department on Tuesday did its best to side-step a question related to a reported no-bid contract from the USAID agency for Haiti.
At yesterday`s weekly press briefing, Gordon Duguid, acting deputy department spokesman, was asked by a reporter about claims by Fox News that `another no-bid contract delivered through USAID to a politically connected individual.`
The contract in question was reportedly issued no-bid to James Lee Witt, former FEMA director under Bill Clinton for $100,000 directed for aid relief in Haiti.
Duguid for his part said he had no knowledge of the case and insisted, `the answer is best come from USAID.`
He added: I`ll be happy to take the question and pass that on to them. I don`t have information on this particular contract at present.`
Asked then is the USAID agency is not opposed to no-bid contracts Duguid said `the USAID is approaching its contracting is one that has been looked over by the current director, and they are focusing on accountability and transparency.`
Fox News last month report that a first no bid contract was awarded on Jan. 4 and worth nearly $25 million, was steered to a firm owned by a donor to the Obama presidential campaign, for legal work in Afghanistan. The cancellation of that contract was announced by the State Department shortly after Fox News said it reported of its existence on Jan. 25, some two weeks after the devastating Januarys 12th quake.
Haitians in the U.S. have already express concerns about being left out of the rebuilding efforts of their country and of contracts being awarded to companies with no real knowledge of the cultural nuances of Haiti or connection to the country.
CWNN has also learnt through sources that several non-Haitian entities and individuals are assiduously seeking endorsement letters from Haitian diplomats in the U.S. to qualify for lucrative contracts which the U.S. government is set to issue.