Steptoe & Johnson is working to strengthen the image of the Dominican Republic in the “eyes of the international public opinion,” according to its contract with the Caribbean state.

dominican republicThe Washington-based firm will prepare and distribute press releases and monitor the media for DR’s office of the presidency.

It will conduct a “constant search of informational opportunities for the placement of news items of all types: interviews, features, opinion pieces in US mainstream media,” according to the agreement.

S&J will get involved in “specific management of opinion pieces in the US media” and handle DR’s relations with third parties in the American government, cultural institutions and non-governmental organizations.

Luis Fortuno, the former governor of DR’s neighbor Puerto Rico, is a member of the S&J team. He bills $1,162 hourly.

Serving from 2008 to 2012, Fortuno is remembered for passing the biggest tax cut in the US territory’s history and “rightsizing” its government.

PR is currently struggling to deal with a massive $70B debt and is experiencing the biggest level of migration to the U.S. since the 1950s.

The Obama White House said Jan. 22 that it is not mulling a Detroit-style bailout of PR, according to a Reuters report.

The U.S. Agency for International Development agreed Jan. 15 to give DR $184M in aid over the next five years to improve economic development and citizen safety.