Revocation of LEAD official’s work permit contrary to gov’t commitment to review project

– US Embassy

The Donald Ramotar administration’s decision to revoke the work permit of the head of a controversial USAID-funded democracy project here was contrary to its commitment for a review of the project, the US Embassy said yesterday.

In its first statement following the announcement that the work permit for the Head of the Leadership and Democracy (LEAD) project, Glenn Bradbury had been revoked for activities that offended the Laws of Guyana, the Embassy said the United States regretted the decision taken by the Government of Guyana. “The decision to revoke Mr. Bradbury’s permit is contrary to our understanding of the Government of Guyana’s commitment to review together the LEAD program and to the spirit of the discussions proposed by the Government of Guyana itself,” the statement added.

The move by the administration sparked surprise here and concerns about how this would impact on relations with Washington.

The US has been adamant that the project will go ahead, arguing that it is in line with the framework for bilateral relations agreed in 2009. The government, meanwhile, has advanced several reasons why it is opposed to the project but these objections have been denied by the US. The government had said that it would not enter discussions with the US while the project was still being executed here but it has reversed course on this matter.

The Embassy statement did welcome the willingness of the Government of Guyana to reengage in discussions with the United States on democracy and governance, and specifically in relation to the USAID LEAD project.

LEAD, it said, is designed to benefit the Government and people of Guyana through the promotion of understanding and consensus-building within the National Assembly; greater citizen engagement with Parliament; civic education on local government and greater civic engagement among women and youth. It added that the LEAD project implements the objectives described in the USAID Assistance Agreement for Governing Justly and Democratically, reached between the United States government and the Government of Guyana in 2009.

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