Gov’t succeeds in halting LEAD Project

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L-R: U.S Ambassador Brent Hardt, Coordinator Azeem Khan and Cabinet Secretary  Dr. Roger Luncheon
L-R: U.S Ambassador Brent Hardt, Coordinator Azeem Khan and Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon

[www.inewsguyana.com]“We have achieved what we sought, which was to have the implementation of the project put on hold while we reengage in talks”, said Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon at a joint press conference between himself and the United States Ambassador to Guyana Brent Hardt this morning (Thursday, May 8).

At the press conference it was announced that the project, which was rejected by the government, will be halted while the two sides reengage in talks which will hopefully result in modifications and adjustments to the project’s design.

The news is to some degree a victory to the government who for months now was urging U.S authorities to discontinue the implementation of the project and engage in talks.

But despite government’s urging the project was still being implemented and recently saw the revocation of the work permit of Glen Bradbury, who was tasked with the implementation of the project.  

When asked whether the revocation of the work permit of its employee forced the U.S to halt to project, Ambassador Hardt rejected the assertion.  

He pointed out that it was the U.S government’s commitment to engage in talks, established through bilateral relations was what prompted U.S authorities to reengaged the government.

Meanwhile, Dr. Luncheon said the government welcomes the opportunity to move forward in a structured manner and said there is considerable expectation that there will be a mutually beneficial outcome.

He could not disclose a time frame for the talks and neither could the outgoing U.S Ambassador who however indicated that his hope was for a resolution to be met before he departs.

“I am confident we can find a way forward for the LEAD program, my confidence is buoyed by the knowledge that he LEAD projects fits firmly within the framework agreements previously reached between our governments within the 2009 USAID assistance agreement.”

Luncheon reiterated that government’s sole objection was with the design of the project.

The Ambassador in a statement reminded that the goals of the project are to promote understanding and consensus building within the National Assembly, greater citizen engagement with Parliament, civic education for local government elections and greater civic engagement among women and youth.

He recalled that LEAD was developed through extensive consultations with stakeholders, including the Guyana Government.

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