The PPP today issued the following statement on the suspension of the LEAD project to enable further talks between Guyana and the US.
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) welcomes the suspension of the US-sponsored Leadership and Democracy Project (LEAD) which was being implemented without the knowledge nor approval of the Government of Guyana.
That unwelcome intrusion by USAID in pursuing the LEAD programme despite strong objections by the Guyana Government was both unnecessary and unwarranted. Moreover, it represented not only an insult to the people of Guyana but a clear case of violation of the country’s sovereign rights to determine its own affairs which is a fundamental right of all nations as enshrined in the United Nations Charter.
The Party fully supports the position taken by the PPP/C administration that the US Ambassador misrepresented the facts when he said that the Project was approved by the Guyana Government.
The Party is strongly of the view that the action taken by the US Ambassador is a clear departure from protocols and conventions governing inter-state relations and therefore deserve the full condemnation of the Guyanese people and their elected leaders.
The PPP has also noted with disgust the repeated attempts made by Ambassador Hardt to refer to the provisions of the 2009 Government of Guyana/USAID agreement in justification of the stance taken by the US Government to go ahead with the Project.
The fact of the matter, as pointed out by Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr. Luncheon, is that at no time was the Project the subject of any agreement between the Government and USAID. In fact the Government has always insisted that the Project was conceived, designed and implemented without the concurrence, approval or any inputs whatsoever from the administration.
It is unfortunate that the Government had to resort to the revocation of the visa and work permit of IRI resident Country Director Mr. Glenn Bradbury but such a decision must be seen in the context of USAID’s non-adherence to, and violation of the country’s immigration laws and regulations.
The PPP is hopeful that the lessons of this episode will serve to safeguard against any future recurrence and that the preferred and tested method of consultation, concurrence and reason will form the basis of any future engagement.
It is the hope of the PPP that the good and friendly relations between Guyana and the United States will continue to grow and deepen within the parameters of mutual respect and cooperation notwithstanding the lack of consensus on some elements of the LEAD Project and its implementation mode.
The Party has taken note of attempts by some opposition elements to blow the issue out of proportion in an attempt to score cheap political points.
The decision to suspend the Project will provide the parties involved with enough space to revisit the Project and find common ground on how best the Project could advance the stated objectives of leadership and democracy to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.
In this regard, the Party is pleased with the decision taken by the parties involved to put the Project on hold and commended the PPP/C administration for the resolute manner in which it represented the issue and for the successful halt to the Project until a mutual resolution could be found.