Aid money flowed to U.S.
PORT-AU-PRINCE – A report on American aid in the wake of the devastating earthquake said much of the money went to the U.S. The Center for Economic and Policy Research analyzed the $1.15 billion pledged after the January 2010 quake and found that the “vast majority” of the money it could follow went straight to U.S. companies or organizations, more than half in the Washington area alone.
Just 1 percent went directly to Haitian companies.
The report’s authors said that a lack of transparency makes it hard to track all the money.
The report said the biggest recipient of U.S. aid after the earthquake was Chemonics International Inc., a for-profit international development company based in Washington, D.C., that has more than 4,800 employees.
SAN JUAN – The 200-year-old remains of Ramon Power y Giralt have arrived after an exhaustive quest starting in 1931 to identify his body and bring it home. Hundreds cheered as Spanish navy officers bearing swords filed past them on Saturday with the bones of the hero who fought for administrative and economic reforms and oversaw abolition of a law that gave Spain absolute power over local laws and officials.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The Caribbean will likely see a surge in drug-trafficking activity by 2015 as operations move slowly out of Central America due to an international crackdown, William Brownfield, assistant secretary of state for international narcotics and law enforcement in the U.S. State Department has said. Brownfield said he believes drug traffickers will target the Caribbean because it’s spacious and allows them to remain undercover and take advantage of weak law enforcement in certain countries. He spoke to The Associated Press during a visit to Puerto Rico, where he met with local and federal authorities to talk in part about the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative program which aims to boost regional security with help from U.S. funds. Congress has allocated $40 million for the program in the upcoming fiscal year.
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
PORT-OF-SPAIN – A judge ruled Friday that Trinidadian businessmen Ishwar Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson sought by U.S. in connection with a billion-dollar corruption case will face trial here after all.
The case had been dropped after their attorneys invoked a law that allows judges to dismiss certain cases 10 years or older that haven’t gone to trial. A public outcry ensued, and legislators quickly repealed the law last year. The men were among at least eight people charged in May 2004 in Trinidad with conspiracy to obtain contracts, payments or settlements during the construction of the country’s international airport. The U.S. had sought their extradition in a request upheld by Trinidad and Tobago’s attorney general but a judge later ruled that the men face trial in their native country. The others charged include former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday and several government ministers. They are accused of receiving millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks from a U.S. contractor in the 1990s.