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European Union imposes aid sanction on Guyana

President Donald Ramotar and European Union Ambassador to Guyana, Robert Kopecky (right) ( File photo)

The European Union (EU) on Friday announced that they have withheld millions of Euros in budgetary support to Guyana for the sugar sector and sea defence, citing the need for all rules to be put in place.

“The latest partial payments related to these two programmes have been temporarily put on hold until all eligibility criteria, inter alia budget oversight, are satisfactorily addressed,” said the EU Mission in Guyana. Observers said that this amounts to the imposition of an aid sanction on the South American country.

The EU said that it has two on-going budget support programmes in Guyana, one for the sugar sector (EURO 28.9 million) and one for sea defences (EURO 14.8 million). The latest partial payments related to these two programmes have been temporarily put on hold until all eligibility criteria, inter alia budget oversight, are satisfactorily addressed.

When contacted, an EU Mission spokesman declined to go beyond the statement and could not say what are the amounts that have been put on hold.

Reacting earlier this month to Britain’s concern about the continued prorogation of Guyana’s Parliament and the failure by government to call Local Government Elections for the past 17 years, Cabinet Secretary Dr Roger Luncheon had sought to link Britain’s concerns to the EU’s temporary withholding of the monies.

Britain’s High Commissioner, Andrew Ayre is on record as saying that his country (which is an EU member) would not favour the disbursement of British taxpayers’ money to Guyana in the absence of parliamentary oversight. President Donald Ramotar has since named May 11, 2015 as the date for general and regional elections.

The EU said that it has a long standing commitment to support development and poverty reduction in Guyana. The mission noted that in 2014, EURO 34 million was allocated to Guyana under the 11th European Development Fund. EU aid is channelled through different modalities. Budget support is one of them.