Jun 01, 2016 News
The confidence that the United Kingdom (UK) has in Guyana and its new Administration has allowed the country to benefit from a £52M ($16B) grant.
This was noted yesterday by United Kingdom High Commissioner to Guyana, James Quinn. The envoy hosted a media briefing at his official residence. At that forum, the press was introduced to James Duddridge MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office. Duddridge has specific responsibility for Caribbean relations.
Duddridge mentioned the grant as he spoke extensively about the renewed relationship between the UK and the Caribbean. He reminded that UK Prime Minister David Cameron visited Jamaica and announced that his government will invest £300 million for vital new infrastructure in the Caribbean. These include roads, bridges and ports to help drive economic growth and development across the region. The £300M allocated converts to about US$550M.
This has made the UK the single largest bilateral donor to the region.
Duddridge said yesterday this is a start to a reinvigorated relationship between the UK and Caribbean countries. These countries are Jamaica, Guyana, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda and St. Vincent & the Grenadines.
Of the £300 million, £52M has been set aside for Guyana which is ranked among the most corrupt countries in the world.
Questioned about UK’s level of skepticism that the money might be misspent or siphoned off, High Commissioner Quinn said that the fact that Guyana has been named one of the Caribbean jurisdictions to benefit from the grant shows that the UK is comfortable putting its money here.
“If we had any concerns then the money would not have been coming to Guyana,” said Quinn.
He said this as he avoided directly answering whether he is of the opinion that the new government is doing enough to stamp out corruption.
Duddridge also declined to answer that question. Instead, the politician turned his attention to how the international community is dealing with corruption. He said that internationally, more can be done to address corruption.
The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has been designated by the UK government to design, develop and implement the programme in collaboration with the government of Guyana.
CDB is still examining Guyana’s proposals.
In April, Guyana identified and submitted project proposals for six major infrastructure development programmes to be funded by the grant.
These projects fall under waterfront development, water supply improvement and solid waste management. The grant was given under the newly established United Kingdom Caribbean Infrastructure Fund (UKCIF).
High Commissioner Quinn recently told Kaieteur News that the Bank has been mandated to examine all aspects of each proposal which makes it difficult to give a specific time as to when word should be expected.
Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan along with Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson and Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan met with Quinn and representatives of the CDB and the Department for International Fund (DFID) back in April to discuss the proposals. Quinn told Kaieteur News that these discussions went well. (Abena Rockcliffe)
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