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US AID Pulling Out Of Guyana

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The United States Embassy here in Georgetown today announced that’s its US AID mission in Guyana will cease operations effective from the beginning of the fiscal year 2012. That fiscal year begins in October of this year. The move according to the US government is part of its worldwide strategy, in a tight budgetary environment, to be more efficient in the management of its aid resources.

However the embassy cautions that the closing of the mission does not mean the end of USAID’s relationship with Guyana. According to the embassy The United States Government, including USAID, will continue to remain involved in working with the government and people of Guyana to respond to key development challenges.

USAID has been involved in several health and development projects here especially those that cover the fight against HIV and Aids.

In the statement, the embassy noted that USAID and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) manage the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) program in Guyana, which focuses on reducing HIV transmission, mitigating the impact of illness, and strengthening the public healthcare system.

This country will also continue to participate in and benefit from the U.S. Government’s regional citizen security program, the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), focused on responding to the causes of crime and violence. The management of the programs will be transferred to USAID’s Caribbean Regional Mission in Barbados. Capitol News understands that a number of local non governmental agencies that partnered with USAID are already feeling the squeeze from the budget cuts.

Many of the groups especially those involved in the HIV fight have seen a significant cut in funding and at least 6 groups have been cut from the US AID Programme all together. The remaining ones have been forced to work on a much tighter budget.

USAID has led the way in several of those organizations and projects. Some of them will be forced to scale back on the work they do unless funding could be sourced from some other groups. Reports state that the groups that receive funding from USAID were briefed about the changes a few months back and US AID’s decision to cut back on its operations here may clear the way for the government and the private sector to step in and fill the gap if the programmes supported are seen as important to improving the way of life here.

USAID has been operating in Guyana for several years and through the US government has invested millions of US dollars in several critical projects.

Just recently the WORLD BANK office in Guyana announced that its head will be moving to Jamaica where most of the bank’s work will be done from. The world bank’s decision came after the bank’s local office came under a stinging attack from the finance minister Dr Ashni Singh who described the bank’s staff of having “one of the largest appetites for publicity and self-promotion”.

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