US direct assistance to Guyana tops US$126M in last three years

Kaieteur News
April 10, 2007

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In the past three years, the United States direct assistance to Guyana has amounted to more than US$126 million, with funding being provided to several programmes in the security and social sector.

According to information provided by the US Embassy in Georgetown, in 2006 alone, the US devoted some US$31 million in several key areas of partnerships including over US$20 million to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS.

The US, through President George W. Bush's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), has committed more than US$70 million to combat the dreaded disease and according to local Embassy, an additional US$29 million will be made available to fight HIV/AIDS in Guyana during this year.

A further US$2.1 million was injected last year by the US in support of the electoral process and democratic governance.

The US also provided funding and 24 Embassy volunteers for the Organisation of American States (OAS) Electoral Observation Mission during the August 28 polls.

Last year, the business sector also benefited from assistance, with US$2 million being granted to help expand Guyana's trade capacity and competitiveness.

Additionally, the US spent a further US$2.9 million to promote education and youth development.

In the areas of security, some US$632,000 was given to enhance Guyana's law enforcement and military capabilities and another US$310,000 to strengthen the justice system.

But, the US is not only providing monetary assistance.

Last year, some five dozen Peace Corps volunteers served in Guyana on health, education and Information Technology projects.

Guyana has also benefited from a national development workshop for aviation security professionals by the US Transportation Security Administration, while the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has provided training in community policing for more than 30 members of the Guyana Police Force.

In agriculture, the US has facilitated training for the Chief Veterinary Officer within the Ministry of Agriculture on Avian Influenza and has also provided training for four researchers in applied agriculture through the US Department of Agriculture's Norman E. Borlaug Fellowship Programme.

The US Secret Service has also provided training for more than 40 law enforcement and banking officials in counterfeit currency detection.

According to the Embassy, more than 70 officials from the small business, banking, tourism and government agencies benefited from a seminar last year with specific focus on using e-Commerce.

The US has also been working with non-governmental organisations to improve the life of Guyanese, including a US$2 million grant from the US Department of Labour to help eradicate child labour through education.

Some US$36,000 in grants have been distributed through the Ambassador's Self-Help fund to assist local organisations working in the areas of small farm productivity, literacy and vocational education, youth development and subsidized eye treatment.

Another US$27,296 has been made available through the Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation for the restoration and upgrade of storage facilities at the National Gallery of Art.

US Ambassador to Guyana, David Robinson, has signaled his government's intention to build partnerships with Guyanese entrepreneurs in support of humanitarian and economic assistance programmes manned by the Georgetown Embassy.

He said, last week, that the US would like to bridge some of the factors that push the peoples of the two countries apart.