Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Morning Edition

Here's the story, as it appeared in the Stabroek News, a local newspaper out of Georgetown.

In response to an inquiry, Acting Chief of Mission at the United States Embassy in Georgetown, Michael Thomas yesterday disclosed that Guyana's Peace Corps Country Director Kumar Lakhavani has resigned stating personal reasons.

"We wish him well in his future activities," he said, adding that Lakhavani enjoyed his stay in Guyana. Lakhavani could not be reached for comment. Thomas, the Embassy's Charge d'Affaires, said that Lakhavani is scheduled to leave Guyana this week. He resigned on October 7, Thomas said.

Sources told this newspaper that the Country Director had encountered difficulty in his relationship with Wash-ington DC Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez and this led to his decision to leave.

A former Peace Corps volunteer who has completed his two years in Guyana said that he was shocked and dismayed by the developments.

Lakhavani is said to have turned the programme around, reinvigorating the volunteers and boosting their morale.

"We, the volunteer and returned volunteer community are very upset with this sudden news and are totally in the dark as to what is going on. We were under the impression that things were on the up and up within our own community," he said.

A staff member of the Peace Corps office in Guyana said that the matter was the subject of a meeting that was to be held yesterday afternoon involving officials of the United States Embassy.

When Stabroek News contacted the Peace Corps offices in the US, staff said that because of the Privacy Act and confidentiality agreements, it was not possible to comment on personnel matters.

Peace Corps volunteers in Guyana are involved in many aspects of social services including health and education. According to the organisation's website, Lakhavani, was president of the Greensboro Junior Chamber of Commerce before joining the Peace Corps. It said that during his tenure, the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce and the Junior Chamber International recognised him as the 1998 Outstanding President.

Lakhavani also managed PricewaterhouseCoopers' international training centre in Tampa, Florida, managed the European ERP practice at Deloitte Consulting, and then moved on to work with USAID as a special assistant leading projects in human resources, procurement, financial management, and security and administrative services. He began his posting in Guyana earlier this year.

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