OLD Kai was not amused at what appears to be a threat from the US Ambassador, Mr. Brent Hardt, which will have serious implications for the sovereignty of our country.
Despite the Guyana Government’s objection to the implementation of the US-crafted-and-funded LEAD project, and the fact that both nations have committed to meeting soon to discuss several aspects of the initiative, the US Ambassador has effectively underscored that he will not be taking the concerns of our nation seriously. This much can be deduced from a statement on May 6, 2014 where he is quoted as saying, “We (the US) will continue to try to implement the project, because we (the US) think it is for the benefit of all.”
The statement confirms the contentions by the Guyana Government that the project is one imposed on our people by the US Government, because they (the US) ‘think’ that our nation must fall in line with their agenda. The US Ambassador’s indicating that he ‘will continue’ to try to implement the project, irrespective of the reality that the initiative in its current form has been rejected by the Guyana Government and the work permit and visa of the project head being revoked, will clearly have implications on the sovereignty of our nation. This is not the behaviour of a nation which respects the sovereignty of another.
The revocation of the work permit of the LEAD project head has taken away the argument by the US that they are forced to move ahead with the project because of contractual obligations. So, the US Ambassador has now shifted the goalpost by stating that he ‘thinks’ this project will be good for Guyana, so they will go ahead and implement it.
The US Ambassador has also been exposed for misleading our citizens on the project, as was revealed by Presidential Advisor Gail Teixeira. The fact that Ms. Teixeira says she has proof to back up her contentions that the US LEAD project is paying specially selected UG students a ‘miserly stipend’, and assigning them to the opposition political parties, when the initial understanding is that they were being attached to the Parliament Office, confirms the contentions by the Guyana Government from the inception.
It is by no coincidence that this level of assistance to the opposition, through the LEAD project, comes a few months after the AFC would have publicly stated that ‘funds’ for party work had dried up, with supporters moving away from them. The APNU had also made similar claims for assistance.
The US Ambassador needs to account for his misleading statements, and what appears to be a deliberate attempt, with support from the opposition parties, to divert resources of the project in a clandestine manner to achieve their political interests. We saw how this was achieved in the 1960s, and the damage it caused our nation; and, here again, the US has returned.
The interference by this US official has reached an extent where he is now publicly instructing the local media to do his bidding. The Guyana Chronicle yesterday quoted the Ambassador as saying, “I would encourage all of you (journalists) to not be afraid to ask the tough follow-up question. For example, when a government official suggests that a foreign assistance programme is providing assistance to political parties, ask those officials to back up their allegations. Don’t keep repeating the same unsupported allegations in follow-up reports; press for new information; investigate, and inform.”
The US Ambassador sounds like the new Opposition leader in Guyana. Old Kai will expect that Mr. Hardt practises what he preaches, and will be ready, willing and able to answer the questions of local journalists as to why he has denied that the project is strategically supporting Opposition political parties when recent revelations prove otherwise.
He also has several other questions to answer, including the fact that the project he is referring to as being the genesis of the LEAD initiative had expired since 2011. We do not expect any ‘pappy show’ answer from the US Ambassador; anything less than full disclosure will contradict the virtues he recently espoused in commitment to transparency and accountability in governing and in dealing with the media.
Old Kai is also watching on keenly at how specific sections of the media will be dealing with this damning revelation by the Guyana Government.