By Tracey Khan – Drakes
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Guyanese involvement and participation in the decision making process of the country is one of the biggest achievements of outgoing United States Ambassador, Brent Hardt.
During an interview with iNews today (Tuesday, June 24), the Ambassador deemed his tenure in Guyana as successful, even though he was unable to achieve all of the goals set out. He mentioned the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) which is yet to be established and the holding of Local Government Elections as two such goals that were not realized for the benefit of the Guyanese people.
During the interview, Hardt also explained his most challenging period being the 2011 National Elections, and the Linden unrest that not only saw violence but the death of three Lindeners. The government’s rejection of the Leadership and Democracy (LEAD) project was another significant hurdle that was confronted.
However, the achievements overshadow the challenges for the Ambassador and his best impression of Guyana is the people’s religious tolerance for each other.
The U.S embassy has given its support to many organizations/groups that are making a more meaningful and positive contribution to the development of the country. Additionally, the embassy’s role in bringing to the fore the importance of local government elections cannot be overstated and has seen more organizations and groups calling for the elections.
Ambassador Hardt said the United States role in reducing the transmission and spread of HIV/AIDS cannot be overstated through its USAID, PEPFAR programmes. Also, their contribution in the security sector that has helped to modernize the force and train its human resources, are all contributions that will go a far way.
However, not being able to see a test match cricket in Guyana remains one of the biggest regrets of the Ambassador. He came with high hopes when his tenure began in Guyana that he would be able to view the test match live.
The outgoing ambassador has been accused of meddling in the country’s political and other affairs on many occasions by the Government as a result of his outspoken demeanor on a number of issues.
The Ambassador has never been shy to making his views known on political, social and economic matters in the country, something which does not sit well with the government.
Hardt was sworn in as Ambassador to Guyana on August 19, 2011. He also serves as Plenipotentiary Representative of the United States of America to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
Ambassador Hardt is a career Senior Foreign Service Officer with extensive service in the Western Hemisphere and Europe. Prior to his nomination, he served as Charge d’Affaires, at the U.S. Embassy to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. He also served as Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge d’Affaires, at U.S. Embassy in Nassau, Bahamas and at the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See in Rome.