OTTAWA, (UPI) — Canada is spending millions to building new diplomatic quarters in Haiti, the government says.
The Department of Foreign Affairs told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. it will build new homes for its 24 embassy staff in the earthquake-shattered country. It is spending $5.6 million on the land alone.
The CBC’s survey of online real estate listings for Haiti suggests that for the cost of the vacant lots, Canada could be buying its diplomats existing homes, land included.
Government documents show Canadian taxpayers have already paid $1.4 million for “emergency repairs” of earthquake damage at the embassy and another $1.7 million for temporary staff housing.
The government’s annual public accounts state the $5.6 million is going toward land for a new embassy, ambassador’s residence and “staff quarter,” all in Port-au-Prince.
But responding to questions from CBC News, Foreign Affairs replied, “The $5.6 million represents land acquisition costs intended for the eventual construction of residential housing” for the 24 Canadian diplomats in Haiti.
The Canadian International Development Agency so far has donated $65 million in earthquake relief to Haiti, about 30 percent of what it has promised.