Guyana revokes work permit for Head of LEAD project amidst row with Embassy

Guyana revokes work permit for Head of LEAD project amidst row with Embassy

The Government of Guyana announced on Wednesday morning that it had revoked the work permit and extension of stay for the Chief of Party for the USAID Leadership and Democracy Project, Glenn Bradbury.

The announcement was made by Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon and comes at a time when the Guyana government appears to be stepping up its opposition to the project which is funded and organised by the U.S Government through its United States Agency for International Development-USAID.

Dr. Luncheon told a press conference at the Office of the President that “Mr. Glenn Bradbury who is the Principal Official of the International Republican Institute, contracted by USAID to implement the LEAD project, in the meanwhile, Mr. Bradbury has had his extension of stay and his work permit in Guyana revoked.”

The Cabinet Secretary said he met with the U.S Ambassador to Guyana Brent Hardt, last week, and once again expressed the government’s concerns about the LEAD project. He said he told the U.S Ambassador that the Government of Guyana was willing to re-engage on the project but would only do so,once the project is put on hold. He said that position has been dispatched officially to the U.S Government and the Ambassador has undertaken to that there is an official response which should come in a timely manner.

It is unclear whether the government’s decision to revoke the work permit and the extension of stay for the Canadian born, USAID official, will impact on the U.S Government’s response to the request that the project be put on hold.

When asked by News Source whether the Ambassador was made aware of the move to revoke the work permit for the LEAD official, during the meeting with the Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Luncheon said “I don’t know if you want to interject motives at this point; I would prefer for it to remain at the level of facts and it is a fact that the revocation has taken place and it is equally a fact that Mr. Bradbury, a Canadian citizen, has had the revocation brought to the attention both, of his employer, the U.S government through its Ambassador and to the Canadian High Commission”.

Further pressed by News Source about the reason behind the decision to revoke Bradbury’s work permit and his extension of stay, the Cabinet Secretary said “we can in general speak to the revocation being based on the conclusion that the immigration laws of Guyana have been offended by Mr. Bradbury and his actions in Guyana”.  Dr. Luncheon would offer no further detail on the move.

The Government of Guyana has continuously opposed the U.S Funded Leadership and Democracy project and has refused to participate in it or provide the project with its blessings. Opposition parties and other stakeholders have embraced the project and have been lending their support.

Despite the concerns of the Government of Guyana, the U.S Embassy in Georgetown has been implementing the project. Community outreaches and workshops on the democracy and leadership have started in several communities across the country.

The Government of Guyana believes the move by the local U.S Embassy is an affront to the sovereignty of Guyana.

In July 2013, when Glenn Bradbury was introduced the the Chief of Party for the project, U.S Amassador Brent Hardt sought to explain the decision behind the project.

He said “the United States recognized back in 2011 that  this new scenario — in which for the first time in Guyana’s independent history — all parties had a seat at the table and an ability to shape governance, offered hope for a “win-win” scenario for the people of Guyana. But we also recognized that this new configuration would pose many challenges which, if not handled with a spirit of compromise and a focus on the national interest, could lead to stalemate and frustration.”

The Ambassador added “that’s why we asked the State Department and USAID in Washington to support a specially tailored democracy and governance program here, to enhance the National Assembly’s functioning and encourage consensus building. We were pleased that USAID shared our view and was willing to support a program to strengthen parliamentary democracy, local governance, and youth and women’s engagement”.

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