- Dr. Luncheon assures SSRP will be implemented at Gov’t expense
NEGOTIATIONS with the United Kingdom (UK) Government for a 4.9M pounds sterling security sector reform project have been abandoned by that Government.
The Press and Publicity Unit at the Office of the President late last night issued a brief statement on the situation, saying it has noted a report about the UK government’s withdrawal from the Guyana Security Sector Reform Project.
“This decision by the UK Government is believed to be linked to the administration’s refusal to permit training of British Special Forces in Guyana using live firing in an Amerindian community on the western border with Brazil and Venezuela,” the OP statement said.
And Head of the Presidential Secretariat and Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon, in an earlier statement last evening issued via the Government Information Agency (GINA), said the decision is regrettable and noted the project itself had attracted media attention in the past.
Dr. Luncheon pointed out that from the trend of the negotiations, it was expected that there would have been approval and implementation.
He recalled that as late as December 2008, the two parties, the Government of Guyana and the Government of the UK, had agreed in Georgetown on a design that was submitted to the principals in the UK for their blessings.
In April 2009, Luncheon said “Guyanese were advised about the re-design that was unilaterally carried out by the UK when they submitted their response to our joint December 2008 submission”.
He said this design “violated the sovereignty of Guyana” and “it was drawn to the attention of the British High Commission here in Guyana and after efforts it was agreed that the government would submit its revised version of the British design”.
President Bharrat Jagdeo was involved in the revision of the document after which it was presented to the British High Commission in detail which outlined Guyana’s version of the model to be used to design and ultimately implement the Security Sector Project.
“Lo and behold, the President was involved in the discussion surrounding the new design submitted by the Guyanese team when he was informed that the project itself had been halted and the UK Government had provided him with information saying that they were not interested in pursuing an agreement with the Government of Guyana,” Dr. Luncheon stated.
He further pointed out, “It is tempting to believe that this about-face from the December 2008 joint agreement to what happened in the middle of 2009 might have been associated with some decision that the Guyanese Government made with request for training by the UK Special Forces, on a Western Border location with live firing to which the Government was unprepared to support.”
The Cabinet Secretary stated it is possible that the UK Government is not aware of Guyana’s commitment and emphasis on the vision of non-violation of the sovereignty of Guyana.