Are serving volunteers more vulnerable, now?

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Library: Peace Corps: Legislation : Legislation: June 21, 2004: Headlines: Legislation: Congress: PCOL Exclusive: A Critical Flaw in the Proposed Peace Corps Safety and Security Bill : Are serving volunteers more vulnerable, now?

By Joanne Marie Roll (joey) ( - on Friday, June 25, 2004 - 8:39 am: Edit Post

I think Hugh Pickens analysis of the further reduction of the "five year" rule and its potential impact on the employment structure of the Peace Corps agency is excellent. In ordinary times, I would support his recommendations. However, these are not ordinary times and hence my dilemma. I think we need the most experienced and the most knowledgeable people overseeing safety and security, right now, because the world situation is so unstable. GAO reports, as well as common sense, indicates that the five year rule influences the decision of well qualified people to work for the peace corps. Either they chose not to work because they can command more job security in other places or, they work for the agency but the last years of their tenure they may be preoccupied with finding another job.
I also have an intuition that times of political transition are times of increased risk for serving volunteers...because the agency is, again, preoccupied with the change in political administration and many people are leaving. This can't be verified because Peace Corps didn't keep crime stats for the first 28 years or so. However, Richard Starr was kidnapped within three weeks of the transition from the Republican Ford administration to the Carter administration. The recent tragedy with Walter Poirier happened at a time when the agency was suspended between the Democratic Clinton administration and the swearing in of Vasquez with the Bush administration. I don't know if this is coincidence or pattern. But, the first priority has to be protecting the serving Volunteer.
The legislation calls for a study of the 'five year" rule, I believe. I would hope such a independent evaluation, by Congress, might help us come to the best conclusion.
JMRoll Colombia s63-65

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