AFC joins APNU in chiding Government’s rejection of USAID Project

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US Ambassador to Guyana, Brent Hardt
US Ambassador to Guyana, Brent Hardt

[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Alliance for Change (AFC) has joined its opposition counterpart – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) – in condemning Government’s rejection of the USAID funded leadership and democracy project.

The AFC says it has noted with amusement the ‘pretended alarm’ uttered by Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon in relation to the project.

Dr. Luncheon on Tuesday, December 24 accused US Ambassador Brent Hardt, who is spearheading the implementation of the project of making public statements which are arrogant and contentious. He said it was gross disrespect for the Ambassador to go ahead and implement aspects the project despite his administration’s rejection and described such reports is an insult to Guyana’s sovereignty.

Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon
Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon

The AFC in a statement said it believes that any effort which enhances democracy, promotes rather than undermines sovereignty. Moreover, at a time when there has been no Local Government Elections for over 14 years and “where the country is governed by a minority party which is continuously at war with the legislative arm of the state, any effort which improves the participation of a broader cross section of the population in the decision making process of the country is not only welcomed but necessary.”

The AFC has endorsed the project and its implementation stating that it is not only useful but necessary at a time when “Guyana totters on the brink of minority authoritarianism.”

According to the AFC the Government seems to have conveniently forgotten that it was their founder leader Dr. Cheddie Jagan, who not only sought but insisted on the participation of former US President Jimmy Cater in his efforts to enhance democracy in Guyana in 1992.

In this regard, the party said it is perplexed by what circumstances might have changed, that now categorizes efforts at enhanced democracy as a challenge to sovereignty.

“But what could be the justification in not wanting to support a project as this, which has increased participation of the citizenry in democracy building, consensus building in the National Assembly, funding for research and legal drafting skills for Parliamentarians, women and youth civic education festivals, and local government education and awareness?” the statement further noted, adding that “it could only be the downgrading of participatory democracy and the abandoning of a once loudly heralded PPP’s goal: No Development without Democracy”.

This newfound political approach of confrontational diplomacy and harsh assailing of a most senior ranking diplomat from USA, is a retrograde step towards full-fledged authoritarianism, the AFC contends.

The party has called for all Guyanese and the members in the Guyanese Diaspora in the USA, to speak out against what it says is an unacceptable stance adopted by the government.

The AFC registered its supports for the position taken by the US Government and looks forward to the positive contribution it will provide to enhanced leadership and democracy in Guyana.

Opposition Leader David Granger had also lashed out at the Government for rejecting a project which he says would have been to the benefit of all Guyanese. The APNU like the AFC has endorsed the project and its implementation.

Leader of the APNU, David Granger.
Leader of the APNU, David Granger.

The Government maintains that the project should not be implemented. When asked about specific reasons for the administration’s rejection, Dr. Luncheon made it clear that the Government is not obliged to provide such information.

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