UK security reform money for Guyana by year end

Last Updated on Wednesday, 3 May 2017, 17:03 by Denis Chabrol

Security sector financing that had been rejected from the British Government by the now ousted Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Administration under the Security Sector Reform Programme (SSRP) could very well be released to Guyana by the end of the year.

Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, made this disclosure today (May 3, 2017), when he met with members of the local media corps to provide an update on the recent Guyana delegation’s State visit to the United Kingdom, led by President David Granger.

Vice President Greenidge told media operatives that Granger used the opportunity of the State visit to raise the matter of security assistance with the British representatives.

Greenidge reminded that the billions in aid for the security sector reform had been rejected by the PPP/C in 2007 but the coalition government is keen on reactivating the security assistance mechanism.

He drew reference to the British Security expert currently in Guyana undertaking a ‘scoping’ mission and said that based on the talks between the two governments and the ground work laid thus far suggests that Guyana could be able to access the money by the end of this year.

British High Commissioner to Guyana, Greg Quinn has already said the UK has since shifted its assistance priority from security to infrastructural development in a 53 million pound sterling Caribbean package. Quinn has said that  will essentially see a cut back in the original 3 million pound sterling Security Sector Reform Programme for Guyana.

According to Greenidge, “the visit takes place at a critical juncture of Guyana’s development and at an equally critical one in UK’s political and economic evolution.”

He said, the discussions centered on cooperation in the sphere in crime and security as well as in relation to the development of a Green State in Guyana
Greenidge reported too that the discussions with the British representatives included a range of pertinent issues including the impact of Brexit and the Caribbean.

In addition to meeting with Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, Head of State Granger, along with the Guyana delegation, met with more than 200 potential investors looking to get involved in Guyana, specifically in emerging the Oil and Gas sector.

The Vice President was quick to point out that the meeting was not of a technical nature and as such there were no formal proposals inked.

He told media operatives there were separate meetings held—collectively and separately—with the investors and that the bulk were interested in the petroleum and gas sectors while others did express an interested in mining.

Pointing out it was not a meeting at which government expected firm proposals, the Vice President reported that many of the persons and businesses were interested in learning more about the different frameworks in place to accommodate their investments in addition to highlighting concerns over investments in Guyana.

Touching briefly on Brexit and its impact on the Caribbean and Guyana, Greenidge said this was a matter raised by the President since neither the UK, the European Union nor the Caribbean is clear on what obtains post Bexit, since this is an arrangement that still needs to be negotiated.

The Vice President said the job of the Guyana delegation was not to find out what was negotiated but rather to indicate Guyana’s concerns

He used the occasion to remind that trade relations for country such as Guyana and the UK will have to revert back to the bilateral mechanisms previously established through the various high commissioners.