Frank Pearl, the High Commissioner for Peace and Reintegration denied
claims by Coalition Senator Armando Benedetti that he is squandering
State resources of reintegration programs for demobilized
paramilitaries and guerrillas.
Benedetti accused Pearl of wasting money on high bureaucratic costs. He alleged that of the 50,000 demobilized only 800 have been reintegrated into the workforce, while Pearl pays more than $300 million pesos to his eight press advisers, El Espectador reported Thursday.
Benedetti said Pearl should be spending this money on the reintegration of the demobilized.
Pearl countered saying Benedetti had got his facts and figures wrong. He denied he had so many press advisers and said that he is “proud of what we have achieved”.
He said that critics had to take into account that his department looked after not only the demobilized but also their families, which requires a lot of resources.
He stressed that all personnel employed were invaluable to the reintegration process and that “the great majority of resources go directly to the citizens”.
Caracol Radio reported that according to Pearl, his department receives 175 billion pesos in funding each year which goes directly to 100 thousand people.
The High Commissioner told Caracol Radio that tried to Senator Benedetti had tried to secure a job for a relative work in his department several months ago but the application had been denied. He said for this reason he questioned the Senator’s motives.
Benedetti denied this claim Thursday, saying if he wanted to secure a job he would go to Presidnet Alvaro Uribe directly.
“If I wanted a bank loan, I’d ask the bank’s owner, not the cashier,” he said.
As High Commissioner for Peace and Reintegration, Pearl is in charge of reintegrating former criminals back into society by providing services such as finding them legitimate work.