Gov’t does about-face on talks with US on democracy project

A government delegation will today again meet with United States Ambassador to Guyana Brendt Hardt to discuss the contentious USAID-funded Leader-ship and Democracy Project (LEAD), just days after the Donald Ramotar administration said it would not discuss the project while it was being implemented.

Calling the decision to proceed with the project “provocative,” the administration last week stated that there would be no further talks on the initiative unless it is suspended.

Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr. Roger Luncheon had said the time had come for government to insist on its stance.

However yesterday Luncheon informed that government’s delegation will be meeting with Hardt at the Office of the President. Asked if his government was aware of elements of the project being implemented or halted and if this would form any grounds for the proposed talks today, Luncheon would only say “I would like to answer that question after tomorrow.”

The United States Embassy confirmed the meeting, saying, “The Ambassador will be meeting with government officials Thursday to discuss the LEAD program. We remain optimistic that such dialogue can lead to a mutually beneficial outcome for the government and people of Guyana,”

Hardt had met with government’s delegation—President Ramotar, Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, and Presidential Advisor Gail Teixeira—on March 27th last. However, Luncheon had explained that government became aware that the programme was still being implemented in its entirety and saw this as a premeditated act.

Hardt, when asked in February at a Rotary function if the programme was continuing, had said that it was. He explained that since it was a budgeted programme, contracts were already signed with employees and the contractor implementing it, the International Republican Institute (IRI), had specified project timelines. However, he echoed previous statements saying that he was open to talks with government at any time and that it was free to “get onboard” the project whenever it saw fit.

Government had said that there were areas of concern with the programme, including its belief that political parties could receive financial support through the project—an assertion denied by Hardt.

According to Hardt, the project is intended to promote understanding, consensus building, strengthen the National Assembly, and encourage greater citizen engagement. He has also said its core elements were proposed after extensive consultations with the government and other stakeholders over the course of the past year.

More in Local News

The car, PSS 1236 after it stuck the three victims.

Driver in accident with St Lucian cubs jailed for 10 months

The police today said that the driver of the motor vehicle who was involved in an accident with two St Lucian cub scouts has been jailed for 10 months.

default placeholder

Draft bill sees state assets recovery via civil proceedings

The draft State Assets Recovery Bill 2016 envisages non-conviction based, civil recoveries of property over $10m with a 12-year limitation period and wide powers will be available to the agency to be set up under the law to gather information.

Raphael Trotman

Gov’t will not be ‘lectured to in the press’ on forest concessions, Trotman says

Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Raphael Trotman yesterday said that the government will not be “lectured” to in the press on the issue of forestry concessions, while announcing that the arrival of officials from a company in China that may take over the operations of the controversial Baishanlin is being awaited.

Black Bush murder victims laid to rest: Rice farmer, Pawan Chandradeo, 37; his fifteen-year-old son, Jaikarran Chandradeo, both of 163 Mibicuri North, Black Bush Polder and his brother-in-law Naresh Rooplall, 33, of Number 75 Village, Corentyne were yesterday laid to rest following an emotional funeral. They were buried at the Babu John Cemetery, Port Mourant. The trio were found dead on Friday, less than a day after they had left to go on a fishing trip in Black Bush Polder. Intense investigations are underway into the murders. Photo shows the caskets of the three victims and part of the crowd that gathered.

Black Bush triple murder suspects brought to city

Seven men, including the main suspect who was arrested in connection with the Black Bush Polder, Corentyne triple murder were transported to Georgetown on Tuesday evening and are currently being questioned by ranks from the Criminal Investigation Department’s (CID), Major Crimes Unit.

Anthony Jhagroo

Bulletin issued for suspect in murder of mechanic

The police yesterday issued a  bulletin for Anthony Jhagroo, who is wanted for questioning in relation to two offences: escaping from lawful custody and the murder of mechanic, Yugeshwar Shiwcharan.

default placeholder

Five cops under close arrest over stolen gold

Five police officers attached to the Brickdam Police Station are currently under close arrest after they allegedly stole a quantity of raw gold from some miners last Friday.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: