No component of assistance to political parties in US democracy project
CHARGE d’ Affairs of the United States Embassy in Georgetown, Bryan Hunt stressed Wednesday that there is no component of assistance to political parties that forms part of the controversial $300M US Agency for International Development (USAID) funded Leadership and Democracy (LEAD) Project.
Hunt hosted a press conference with Secretary to the Cabinet, Dr. Roger Luncheon following the latter’s weekly post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the President in Georgetown.
The press conference served to announce that the two governments had reached “final agreements” on the design and implementation mechanisms of the once controversial project.
According to Hunt, many months ago, there was a discussion with stakeholders as to whether granting support to political parties would be useful but after the Guyana Government felt this to be inappropriate, USAID simply dropped that component from any further development.
Hunt said they will be “very actively engaged” with the parliamentary leadership across the board – the Speaker, Chief Whips, Leaders of the Opposition and the governing bench, the individual Members of Parliament – as they participate in various workshops and discussion programmes.
However, he stressed that they will be working with the parliament and not with any individual political party.
“In the LEAD Programme documents that were originally sent to the Government of Guyana after we had concluded the design, there was no support to Opposition political parties or the governing political party envisioned as part of the LEAD programme.
“When Dr. Luncheon received the original programme design, it did not contain support to political parties; the revised programme design does not contain support for political parties. We do not envision supporting political parties under LEAD,” Hunt stated.
Despite any modifications that have been made to programme activities and implementation tools, the redesigned LEAD Programme’s fundamental objectives remain the same – strengthening the work of the National Assembly and consensus building around important national issues; civic education for local government elections; encouraging greater participation in civic life by women and youth; and providing Guyanese institutions and stakeholders with the tools and expertise needed to address challenges.