By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Chief of Party and Head of the USAID Leadership and Democracy Project in Guyana, Glenn Bradbury says the ongoing work under the project has been rewarding so far.
Glenn, in an exclusive interview with iNews said a meeting, which he anticipates to attract hundreds of persons, is set to take place at Queen’s College, Georgetown tonight [Thursday, October 2], from 17:00hrs to 19:00hrs.
Already meetings were conducted in Rosignol, Rosehall and New Amsterdam to which hundreds of persons turned up.
“We are getting a good reception and people are asking a degree of questions and some pretty straight forward and direct questions,” Bradbury said.
He said from his interaction, it is clear that a lot of Guyanese want Local Government Elections (LGE) even as he pointed out that Guyanese in other parts of the world are participating fully in the electoral processes and take their civic duties seriously in those adopted countries.
He informed that representatives from both the governing and Opposition parties along with Non – Governmental Organisations (NGOs), senior groups, youths and individual citizens have all been accounted for at these meetings.
Bradbury reminded that the purpose of the town hall meetings are to deliver civic education and discuss among other things, what local government is, what it does, why is it important to participate in the process and the responsibilities and rights of voters in such elections.
He pointed out that a relationship has been established with the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) where a representative is present at all meetings to help answer questions and to ensure that the information being disseminated is accurate.
These meetings are to “galvanize and provide a venue for citizens to receive information about local government,” he added. The Chief of Party believes that with more knowledge, it will see more involvement of people in the electoral process but cautioned that “it is a two Way Street… people can complain all they want about the government or a political party but they have to get involved to see change.”
He made it clear that he has no political ideology but is only interested in consulting with people to hear what issues they have and try to provide assistance through his program.
The LEAD project which commenced in July 2013 is expected to end on April 1, 2015.
“I’m not sure will happen, if new programs will commence or this will be extended but I will like to see it fulfill its mandate in the time and with the budget we have left.”
In recalling the halt that the project experienced earlier in the year following concerns raised by the administration, the Project Head stated “its water under the bridge, you can’t put a Genie back in a bottle and I have never been a person to concentrate on negativity, but the agreement reached is positive… if I had to leave I would have but I have faith in both the Government of Guyana and the U.S Embassy to reach an agreement.”
He said he understands why the interruption occurred and he supports the process.
He advised that people have a right to vote for who they want but must know what the issues are before casting their vote; adding that “it’s simple when u think about it but in other parts of the world is not so simple.”
He said Guyanese should be very proud of their country and what future it has; explaining that the LEAD project will have no direct impact on when Local Government Elections, which was last held in Guyana two decades ago, will be held. He said that will be determined through political will of all Parties.
The LEAD Project has three main agendas; to assist and support the development of youth and women organization so that their voice is heard by all Parties, to work with the National Assembly’s staff and elected officials to make it work better in serving the people and to education the population on local government elections.