The US Government’s Leadership and Democracy Project (LEAD) for Guyana will continue now that the US Government and the Guyana Government have reached a final agreement on moving the project forward and all of the areas that should be covered by it.
The project was put on hold when the Guyana government raised objections to its implementation back in May of this year.
At a joint press conference on Wednesday at the office of the President, representatives of the US and Guyana governments announced that the project will continue to be implemented in wake of the agreement.
US Embassy Charge D’ Affairs Bryan Hunt explained at the press conference, that both sides were pleased with the agreement.
“While the discussions that have led to this agreement have been lengthy and, at times, challenging, I can confirm that in the end, both sides feel that the LEAD program design and implementation mechanisms are now stronger and has benefitted from the additional review and consultations that have been undertaken”, Hunt said.
The US Diplomat also noted that it is his sincere hope that the LEAD Program which was designed to promote understanding and active participation in democratic governance, will contribute to enhancing democracy and its positive values that all Guyanese share and desire for their country.
He added that the project will provide tools, international expertise, and opportunities to help facilitate conversations and activities on important national issues. Hunt noted that “at all times, the programme will act to support Guyanese stakeholders in being the driving force in identifying relevant issues and with developing solutions to address identified problems”.
The United States government believes that although there have been some changes to the design of the project, it still has the same objectives which would include strengthening the work of the National Assembly and building consensus around important national issues; civic education for local government elections, and encouraging greater participation in civic life by women and youth.
Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon said the Government of Guyana will continue to play close attention to the project as it is being implemented.
The discussions between the Governments of Guyana and the US started in May when the programme was put on hold. The US had always maintained that the Government was consulted on the project under USAID, although the Guyana government said it was not.
The project is pulling on the strengths of a number of youth groups, youth leaders and several organisations to aid in the project’s implementation. Work had already started in communities across the country.