CEEPCO Contracting, which USAID used for their poorly-constructed Caracol housing project, has now been suspended. This comes after USAID extended CEEPCO’s contract in 2014, despite knowing about the construction problems. All of the houses suffer from construction problems including concrete that is below the required PSI. This is especially worrisome as such poorly-constructed housing was a major cause of the massive death- and injury toll of the 2010 earthquake.
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Second USAID Contractor Suspended Following Caracol Housing Debacle
Center for Economic and Policy Research
March 30, 2015
On March 25, 2015, USAID suspended CEEPCO Contracting – which had been working on shelter programs in Haiti –from receiving further government contracts, pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation. CEEPCO joins Thor Construction, which was suspended in early February. The investigation concerns faulty construction practices related to 750 houses built in Caracol, Haiti by USAID. CEPR Research Associate Jake Johnston reported in February for VICE News:
CEEPCO’s CEO is Harold Charles, a Haitian-American who was formerly one of the Haitian government’s representatives to the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission (IHRC), run by Bill Clinton and meant to be in charge of the $10 billion in earthquake relief. The IHRC had initially approved the USAID shelter program back in December 2010.
Charles also enjoys a close, personal relationship with Haitian President Michel Martelly. In an interview in 2013, Charles said, “I do know and have very close friends up through the highest ranks of government,” adding, “Martelly is a childhood friend of mine.” One former government official in Haiti said in an interview, “this was seen as a deal that would please Martelly.”
Despite the initial assessment in August, 2014 that revealed the construction problems, USAID extended CEEPCO’s contract for work at other shelter sites in Haiti this past January.
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