President Donald Ramotar has said that the Government of Guyana values its partnership with USAID and expressed deep appreciation of the invaluable role played by the US Government in developments in the local economy.
President Ramotar made those remarks on Tuesday evening when he joined US Ambassador to Guyana, Brent Hardt and the diplomatic community at a reception in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the United States Agency for Inter-national Development (USAID), the Government Information Agency (GINA) reported.
The Guyanese Head of State also said that 50 years is a very long time by any measure for an organisation and, lauded the agency’s accomplishments in building a peaceful and prosperous world.
“Government of Guyana has consistently sought to create a society where people can lead comfortable and productive lives and welcomes the assistance that it has continued to receive in realising these objectives and, it is for this reason that the Government of Guyana values its partnership with the USAID,” the President is quoted as saying.
Earlier this year, USAID announced that it was closing its office in Guyana.
Ramotar pointed out that small states like Guyana are faced with many challenges and require cooperation and collaboration and noted that USAID continues to be especially supportive of government’s efforts in bringing the country to an economically viable place where opportunities are created for every citizen to enjoy an excellent quality of life.
This collaboration has resulted in significant diversification of the local economy in both the traditional and non-traditional areas.
“We are deeply appreciative of the invaluable role played by the US government in these developments,” he said.
He said too that government remains tireless in its endeavour to create a strong democratic culture where the will of the people prevails; noting that sustained social and economic development is not possible without strong democracy and the recently-held general and regional elections is proof of the seriousness to foster such a culture.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Hardt said that the spirit of innovation and the belief in doing the right thing, which are hallmarks of USAID, have never been stronger.
“We have had a long and productive history of development partnership in Guyana over the course of decades dating back to the construction of the Linden road and sea defences to today’s public health, economic diversification, security and democracy programmes…USAID represents perhaps one of the finest expressions of who we are as a people and our desire to work in partnership and other countries and peoples throughout the world,” the Ambassador is quoted by GINA as saying.
USAID Mission Director acting, Eric Kite, said that in recent years, the agency’s activities have focused on strengthening the capacity of local institutions to help meet the needs of Guyanese.
The Mission has targeted its resources to address transnational challenges that threaten peace and prosperity in Guyana and the region at large.
These include high levels of crime and violence, youth unemployment, HIV/AIDS pandemic, needed economic diversification and competitiveness, strengthened democratic institutions and climate change issues.
Kite noted that the Mission plans to continue its engagement in Guyana with regards to strengthening the public health system and the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) programme, focusing on crime prevention.
In a statement on March 15 this year, the United States Embassy announced that USAID planed to close its Mission here in Fiscal Year 2012 as part of its worldwide strategy to be more efficient in the management of its aid resources.
The embassy said that the closing of the mission does not signal the end of USAID’s relationship with Guyana. “The United States Government, including USAID, will continue to remain involved in working with the government and people of Guyana to respond to key development challenges”, the release said.
The release noted that USAID and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) manage the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) programme here which focuses on reducing HIV transmission, mitigating the impact of illness, and strengthening the public healthcare system. It said that Guyana will also continue to participate in and benefit from the U.S. Government’s regional citizen security programme, the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) which is focused on responding to the causes of crime and violence. The management of these programmes will be transferred to USAID’s Caribbean Regional Mission in Barbados to take advantage of efficiencies of scale.
USAID was created in 1961 by then US President John F. Kennedy and over the past half century it has been at the forefront in assisting countries to unleash the potential of their citizens by fostering equitable economic growth, revolutionising agricultural productivity, fighting endemic diseases and new pandemics. It also has helped to find new ways to expand educational opportunities and foster democracy and good governance, GINA added.