Peace Corps: Reorganization in the Eastern Caribbean

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-03-01.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                 United   States   General   &counting   Office
                 Briefing Report to the Chairman,’
                 Subcommittee on Legislation and
                 National Security, Committee on
                 Government Operations, House of
March 1990
                 PEACE CORPS
                 Reorganization in the
                 Eastern Caribbean
                   United States
                   General Accounting  Office
                   Washington, D.C. 20548

                   National Security and
                   International Affairs Division


                   March 1, 1990

                   The Honorable John Conycrs, .Jr.
                   Chairman, Legislation and National
                     Security Subcommittee
                   Committee on Government Operations
                   House of Representativtbs

                   Dear Mr. Chairman:

                   You requested that we assist the Subcommittee in its oversight responsi-
                   bilities for the Peace Corps by reviewing the agency’s operations and
                   activities. During our October 4, 1989, briefing on the results of our
                   review of Peace Corps operations at seven overseas posts,l you
                   requested a report on the status of the reorganization of Peace Corps
                   posts in the Eastern Caribbean. This briefing report is in response to
                   that specific request. The results of our broader review will be provided
                   in a subsequent report.

                   In the fall of 1988, the Peace Corps initially decided to split management
Results in Brief   responsibility for the Eastern Caribbean between Antigua and Grenada
                   in an attempt to alleviate management and operational problems. While
                   the Department of State informally supported the reorganization, the
                   Peace Corps was not aware that it needed to obtain formal State Depart-
                   ment approval as required by a presidential directive. Because of this
                   misunderstanding, the Peace Corps did not fully implement the

                   In November 1989, the Peace Corps changed its original plan based on a
                   new evaluation of it,s operations in the Eastern Caribbean which recom-
                   mended that the Peace Corps reduce over time the number of volunteers
                   in the Leeward Islands. This change would enable the agency to consoli-
                   date management responsibility for its operations in the region on St.
                   Lucia, which is centrally located in the Windward Islands and is under
                   the administrative jurisdiction of the L1.S.Embassy in Barbados. Peace
                   Corps sought and received the required State Department approval for
                   this change.

                   ‘Ecuador and 1londura.c in Latin i\mc~~ca. the Leeward Islands of the Eastern Caribbean, Fiji and
                   Thailand in the Far East. and Kmya and Senegal in Afnra

                   Page 1                                      GAO/NSIAD+O-YSBR       Peace Corps/Eastern     Caribbean

Figure 1: The Islands of the Eastern
Caribbean                                                                            Anguilla
                                                                          St. Martin/ 0
                                                                          Slnt Maarten       b St. Barts
                                                 *                                    0 Saba
                                                     e                   Sint Eustatius 6 Bo”’      Kitts           Q    Barbuda
                                                                 L                                 Nevis
                                                                     0                                         &          Antigua

                                                                                         *       Les Saintes    “0<p              Marie Galante       m

                                                                                                            Bequia J
                                                                                                                        Q:.I..’ St. Vincent         Barbados

                                                                                                               ;I       The Grenadines
                                                                                                              d Carriacou


                                                 m           Islands with Peace Corps Operations

                                       Miscommunication between Peace Corps and the State Department
                                       regarding the reorganization, however, blocked its full implementation.
                                       The Peace Corps informally advised State’s Caribbean Affairs Officer

                                       Page 3                                                 GAO/NSIAD-9093BR                Peace Corps/Eastern     Caribbean

                        Subsequent to our visit to the Eastern Caribbean, Peace Corps manage-
The Second              ment in late-1989 began considering another reorganization strategy for
Reorganization          its operations in the Eastern Caribbean. In November 1989, Peace Corps
                        completed a detailed reassessment of its operations in the Eastern Carib-
                        bean, which concluded that the posts should gradually reduce the
                        number of volunteers in the Leeward Islands and that, as a result, the
                        Peace Corps should consolidate management operations for the Eastern
                        Caribbean to St. Lucia, which is centrally located in the Windward
                        Islands. Such a move would place the Eastern Caribbean office in an
                        area projected to have the major concentration of volunteers for the
                        foreseeable future.

                        St. Lucia is also under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Embassy in Barbados
                        and, thus, is not subject to the limitations of the Special Embassy Pro-
                        gram, as in Antigua and Grenada. Further, the Peace Corps plans to pro-
                        vide its own fiscal and related administrative support without
                        additional assistance from the U.S. Embassy in Barbados. The Peace
                        Corps initiated the National Security Decision Directive 38 procedure in
                        December 1989 and received approval from the Barbados Chief of Mis-
                        sion in the same month. All activities to shift administrative services
                        and overall Eastern Caribbean supervision from Antigua, Barbados, and
                        Grenada to St. Lucia are expected to be completed by the end of fiscal
                        year 1990.

                        The objective of this report is to provide information on the planned
Objectives, Scope and   reorganization of the Peace Corps’ Eastern Caribbean operation. We
Methodology             interviewed Peace Corps and State officials and reviewed documents
                        regarding the initiation, review, and decision on this reorganization. We
                        also reviewed correspondence between the two agencies.

                        During our review, we interviewed Peace Corps officials in the region,
                        including the Country Directors for the Leeward and Windward Islands
                        and the Barbados Peace Corps administrative officer. We met with
                        Peace Corps headquarters officials in Washington, DC., including the
                        current Regional Director for Inter-American operations, and the East-
                        ern Caribbean Desk Officer. We also obtained information from the US.
                        Charges d’Affaires in Antigua and Barbados, the U.S. Embassy Finan-
                        cial Officer in Barbados. and State Department officials in Washington,

                        Page 6                          GAO/NSIAD-W93BR   Peace C.orpe/lhstern   Caribbean
Page 7   GAO/NSIAD90-93BR   Peace Cmrps/Eastem   Caribbean
‘4ppcndix I

Major Contributors to This Briefing Report

                         David R. Martin, Assistant Director
National Security and    Joseph J. Natalicchio, Evaluator-in-Charge
International Affairs
Division, Washington,

                         Oliver Harter, Regional Assignment Manager
Dallas Regional Office   Michael E. Rives, Site Senior
                         Stacey W. Goff, GAO Evaluator

(472188)                 Page 8                          GAO/NSIAlMO-93BR   Peace Corps/Eastern   Caribbean

We conducted our review from September 1989 to January 1990. As
requested, we did not obtain official agency comments on this briefing

As arranged with your office, unless you publicly announce its contents
earlier, no further dist,ribution of this briefing report will be made until
30 days from its issue date. At that time, copies of this briefing report
will be sent to the Director of the Peace Corps, the Secretary of State,
Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and other interested

Major contributors to this briefing report are listed in appendix I. If you
have any questions or need additional information, please call me on
(202) 275-5790.

Sincerely yours,

Harold J. Johnson
Director, Foreign Economic
  Assistance Issues

Page 6                           GAO/NSIAIHO-93BR   Peace Corps/Eastern   Caribbean

and the U.S. Missions in the region of its plans prior to the reorganiza-
tion, and the Peace Corps Director provided written notification in Sep-
tember 1988. Nonetheless, the Peace Corps began encountering delays in
receiving State Department administrative support in November 1988.
At this time, State informed the Peace Corps that the reorganization
could not be completed until the National Security Decision Directive 38
process was completed and the Secretary of State approved the

The National Security Decision Directive 38 process requires that U.S.
Executive Branch agencies seeking to change staffing levels at foreign
posts submit a formal proposal to the Chief of Mission for the affected
location(s). These proposals, along with comments from appropriate
State Department bureaus, are then reviewed by the Ambassador (Chief
of Mission), who approves or disapproves the request. However, in posts
covered by the Special Embassy Program, such as those in Antigua and
Grenada, the Mission Chief only recommends approval or disapproval
and the final decision is made by the Secretary of State. One key element
of the Special Embassy Program is to keep the staffing, and thus the
“American presence,” to minimum levels.

The Peace Corps initiated the National Security Decision Dircective 38
process in December 1988 with an exchange of cables with the posts in
Barbados, Antigua, and Grenada. The embassies in Antigua and Gre-
nada indicated that, without additional personnel, they could provide
only limited support. The U.S. Embassy in Barbados advised the Peace
Corps that it could supply the agency with the needed administrative
support, provided it was given six additional full-time equivalent staff
positions, which would need to be funded by the Peace Corps.

The proposal to have the Peace Corps fund additional administrative
support in Barbados was later reduced to five positions, with a review
at the end of 3 months to determine the need for any changes in staff
levels. However, believing that the U.S. Embassy in Barbados was
requesting a greater level of staffing than was needed, the Peace Corps
entered into negotiations with the Embassy. The negotiations for the
added support were not completed and the overall reorganization plan
to split the Peace Corps’ Eastern Caribbean operations was never sub-
mitted to the Secretary of State, as required. According to the Charges
d’Affaires in Antigua and the Country Director in Grenada, because of
this problem, the Peace Corps has in effect maintained “unauthorized”
personnel on those islands and has had to continue administrative oper-
ations in Barbados,

 Page 4                         GAO/NSIAMJ&93BR   Peace Corps/Eastern   Caribbean

                           The Peace Corps had been experiencing difficulty in communication and
The Initial Peace          other logistical matters related to volunteers, and in providing them
Corps Reorganization       with needed support. Agency officials believed that by splitting manage-
                           ment for the Eastern Caribbean region between two posts, the agency
                           could alleviate these problems. Specifically, it anticipated that the reor-
                           ganization would improve program operations by permitting more direct
                           management of Peace Corps communications, logistics, and program-
                           ming, thereby enabling management staff to concentrate on their train-
                           ing and programming responsibilities.

                           In September 1988, the Peace Corps initiated a reorganization in the
                           Eastern Caribbean to move its operations from Barbados, which had
                           been responsible for the entire Eastern Caribbean, to two other islands.
                           (See fig. 1.) During that month, the Peace Corps established management
                           operations in Antigua for the Leeward Islands’ and, in January 1989,
                           the agency established operations in Grenada for the Windward

                            ‘Anguilla,   Antigua/Barbuda.     lhmmica,   Montserrat,   Nevis, and St. Kitts.

                            “Barbados,    Carriacou,   Grenada, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent.

                            Page 2                                           GAO/NSIAD9093BR            Peace Corps/Eastern   Caribbean