Articles

UN Workers in Haiti Live on Luxury Cruise Ship

Written by Warren Mass on April 09 2010.

Yet another thing the the WFP failed to mention: Even U.N. staffers regularly refer to one of the ships as "the Love Boat" — an illusion to the old TV series about a cruise ship on which single passengers booked passage to look for romance.

When a Fox News reporter questioned Edmond Mulet, head of the Haiti peacekeeping contingent, about the organization’s judgement in housing so many U.N. relief workers in such luxurious surroundings while most residents of Port au Price are homeless, the official justified the decision as follows: “You have to be in good shape in order to help the Haitians.”

"It is the least we could do for them," said Mulet. "They are working 14, 16 hours a day. The place was pulverized. Living conditions are really appalling."

Fox News did some excellent research in determining that the registered owner of one of the two ships the WFP chartered, the Ola Esmeralda,  is a Venezuelan company, Servicios Acuaticos de Venezuela, C.A., or Saveca. And Saveca, as stated on the company’s own website, is part of  an "alliance," with Dianca, a Venezuelan shipyard, that is owned by the government of the Marxist Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez.

The entire Fox report, “With Haiti in Ruins, Some U.N. Relief Workers Live Large on 'Love Boat,’” which has links to the researcher’s sources, makes for interesting reading.

The worst-kept secret in Haiti: the UN's cruise ship hotel,” another online article about the UN-charter cruise ships posted on April 7 by Terra Daily’s staff writers, referred to a small office located in the UN’s logistics base in Port au Prince, where UN staff can sign up to stay on the Sea Voyager for a “heavily subsidized” rate of 40 dollars a night, including breakfast and dinner.

"It's the best deal in town," the report quoted a UN worker who told AFP on condition of anonymity, who said the usual rate should be around 150 dollars.

A UN coordinator who moved to the Sea Voyager after her house was destroyed by the earthquake told AFP she was happy because she had stopped working endless hours and sleeping in her office and that:

"Obviously some people are complaining because it is a long way away, 40 minutes by bus, but it's great, how can we complain, we have air-con, we have food, the mosquitos are under control.”

The report quoted Richard Morse, the owner of Port-au-Prince's Hotel Oloffson, who gave the following opinioin:

 "If the UN is living on a cruise ship, it is the perfect metaphor for how they are viewed here in the country. If they think quake refugees should be living on cruise ships, then they should get cruise ships for the Haitian people, that's all I'm saying. Unless of course I am misinterpreting this and they really are better than Haitians."

Sarah Muscroft, the deputy head of mission for the UN's Organization for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), offered the official reason that the ships were being used to house UN staff — because member states insisted on safe housing for staff.

"That is the reason why there is a boat here because the member states have basically said you have to have our nationals who work for you in non-prefab buildings," she said.

The story is not so surprising, considering that the UN and its agencies have become well-funded bureaucracies and have become subject to the excesses characteristic of all such bureaucracies. One could imagine the uproar if members of Christian relief agencies wallowed in luxury while the poor peasants were housed in tents and packing crates.

But the greatest danger presented by the UN is not that it’s staff members may prefer to stay on “The Love Boat,” instead of a shanty in Port au Prince. It is that the world body’s members states (including the United States) have consistently surrendered more and more of their national sovereignty to the UN, including control of their own national defense.

The process can only be reversed by the world’s nations withdrawing from the UN. The impoverished  refugees of the world could be better served by private and church-based relief agencies.

Warren MassWarren Mass is editor of the Bulletin of The John Birch Society.

 

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