[www.inewsguyana.com] – Former President, Donald Ramotar and Ambassador of the European Union to Guyana, Jernej Videtič, continue to be at loggerheads as it relates to the disbursement of EU grants to Guyana under the former PPP government.
The Ambassador had responded to Ramotar, who had accused the EU of not delivering on a €25 million agreement. In a letter published on the official Facebook Page of the Delegation of the European Union in Guyana, the Ambassador made it clear that it was the former PPP government which did not deliver on the terms of the agreement due to the prorogation of Parliament and “little progress in public finance management reforms.”
But Ramotar in his response on October 27 remains adamant that Guyana did meet the conditions required for disbursement of EU budget support grants.
See Ramotar’s full response below:
I have noted yesterday’s statement by the current EU Ambassador regarding the withholding of budget support grants due to Guyana by the EU and, in particular, the Ambassador’s suggestion that the grants were withheld because Guyana was not in compliance with the conditions required for disbursement.
It is most regrettable that the Ambassador did not acquaint himself fully with the facts of this matter before pronouncing on it.
In January 2015, my Government issued a release stating as follows: “Government now wishes to make publicly available the attached communication from the same EU Delegation, dated 8 September 2014, indicating clearly that Guyana had met the eligibility criteria required to qualify for disbursements totalling €25,858,025, and that the same Delegation had recommended disbursement of this sum to the EU Budget Support Steering Committee in Brussels which was due to meet on 17 September 2014.”
At the time of making that release, my Government pointed out that the EU Delegation had stated in writing that the conditions were fulfilled and had further stated in writing that they were recommending the disbursement of €25.9 million on the basis of their satisfaction with fulfilment of the required conditions.
At the time of the January 2015 statement, it was further pointed out that Parliament was not prorogued until 10 November 2014, so the prorogation of Parliament could not possibly have been a basis for withholding a disbursement due since September 2014.
In fact, after Guyana had qualified for the grants and encountered the first delays in their disbursement, in a meeting in my office with the then EU Ambassador, I was advised that the reason for the delay was the impasse over the anti-money laundering legislation.
No mention was made about the prorogation of Parliament, not surprisingly because prorogation was only to come much later, and no mention was made about any conditions not being met. The sole matter mentioned was the delay in passage of the anti-money laundering legislation.
The indisputable fact is that Guyana did meet the conditions required for disbursement, the technical officers at the EU Delegation and the EU’s contracted technical experts were satisfied that these conditions were met, they confirmed this in writing to my Government at the time, but the disbursements were subsequently withheld with absolutely no legitimate basis. Indeed, with all that has transpired since, it is now evident that the withholding of these grants was an act of political interference.
I maintain my earlier position that Guyana had qualified for the budget support grants and that these were unjustifiably and arbitrarily withheld by the EU, and I reproduce hereunder the communication previously released publicly in January 2015.
The Ambassador speaks of European taxpayers’ money. Perhaps he needs to be reminded that much of the wealth accumulated by Europe was built on the backs of enslaved and bounded labour, and as a result of the worst crime ever committed against humanity, leading to the very justifiable recent calls for reparations. In this regard, Walter Rodney’s seminal book, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, is instructive in understanding European exploitation of the developing world, including the Caribbean.