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The closing ceremony for the second phase of “Spanish Language training for Public servants” conducted by the Universidad Nacional de Colombia was held on September 5, 2014, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The programme is part of the on-going support from the Government of Colombia in the area of capacity building. The first segment was conducted last year in response to a formal request made by the Hon Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Minister of Foreign Affairs. Participants were drawn from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs; Home Affairs; Local Government; Education; Agriculture; Health; Education; Labour, Human Services and Social Security; the Immigration and Passport Office, the Bureau of Standards; the Guyana Defence Force; the Guyana Revenue Authority; the Guyana Forestry Commission; Habitat for Humanity and the Office of the Prime Minister.

In attendance at the closing ceremony were Mr. Luis Armando Soto Boutin, Director of Cultural Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia who travelled to Guyana for the occasion; Ambassador Elisabeth Harper, Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ambassador Audrey Jardine-Waddell, Director of the Department of the Americas of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the participants of the programme.

In her brief remarks Ambassador Harper expressed the appreciation of the Government of Guyana for the kind offer received from the Government of Colombia, and underlined the importance of the programme to the increasing emphasis on language training given Government’s policy of strengthening relations with the countries in Latin America. She said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was committed to working with the Government of Colombia towards the sustainability of the language programme.

Mr. Luis Armando Soto Boutin, in his remarks indicated that the Government of Colombia hopes to expand its offer in the future to include training at the university level especially for teachers of Spanish.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
September 5, 2014




The United Nations Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) is taking place in Apia, Samoa. The meeting began on September 1 and will conclude on September 4. Small island developing states (SIDS) and low lying coastal states, face peculiar vulnerabilities that challenge their path to development. Guyana has therefore continued to play a very active role in the SIDS process at the UN as these countries seek to highlight these vulnerabilities and urge that the focus remain on support for practical solutions.

The Government of Guyana is being represented at the Conference by the Honourable Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
September 2, 2014



The biennial Conference of the Heads of Guyana’s Missions overseas opened today at the Guyana International Conference Centre. His Excellency President Donald Ramotar in his discussions with the Heads spoke at length on specific global developments which struck at the heart of international relations. Key amongst these was what the President described as “the dreaded situation”facing the Palestinian people and the unspeakable atrocities committed against them on a daily basis.

President Ramotar referred to the recent attacks on Gaza which have not spared innocent lives of children, women, the elderly, sick and maimed. He said this action was a stain against humanity and one of the worst committed against unarmed civilians. The President reiterated that the Government of Guyana was in total solidarity with the Palestinian people who deserved the right to a homeland and an end to occupation. He saluted their heroism in facing a powerful army.

Touching on other conflict areas in the Middle East, in particular the instability in Iraq, Libya and Syria, President Ramotar commented on the growth of extremism and the fact that events in those and other affected countries demonstrated that the imposition of any system from outside cause internal problems. Even if this helped in the change of Governments, it did not contribute to the building of democratic societies. He opined that the principle of self-determination was the best guide.

With regard to the situation in the Ukraine, President Ramotar pointed out that it was necessary for both sides to engage in dialogue towards a resolution of the issue. In terms of the dispute over the South China Sea, the President said that a peaceful solution needed to be found through dialogue and by observing international law.

Touching on the influence of China in the world, the President paid recognition to that country’s ability to provide much needed assistance to many developing countries. He lauded the establishment of a development bank by the BRICS nations recently at their Summit in Brasilia which offered another source of financing. In an accelerated programme to assist the Latin American and Caribbean region, China had also offered to the CELAC countries a total of ten billion United States dollars in soft loans and 6,000 scholarships over the next five years and was ready to expand its international trade using local currencies.

With regard to the regional mechanisms, President Ramotar noted that there had been many criticisms about CARICOM but stated that he is very optimistic about CARICOM since there were some favourable developments –more countries were joining the Caribbean Court of Justice and the Caribbean Development Bank was making a greater impact in the development of countries of the Community. President Ramotar suggested that if CARICOM countries could embark on more bilateral projects and improve trade between and among themselves, this could help to promote CARICOM integration even further. The President also said that Guyana was continuing to participate actively in the Union of South American Nations and to strengthen relations within that mechanism.

President Ramotar informed the Conference that with regard to Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Government will continue to ensure that unresolved issues pertaining to its borders were addressed within the context of international law and the peaceful settlement of disputes.

On Guyana’s foreign policy focus, the President said that his Government will continue to preserve and extend the country’s relations with its traditional partners Canada, the United States and Europe and also to expand relations with developing countries and promote South-South cooperation. In addressing diplomatic representation, he alluded to CARICOM’s call for exploring shared diplomatic space and said that Guyana should take advantage of this.

The President also acknowledged the Diaspora as a valuable asset in the development process and encouraged the Foreign Ministry and its representatives abroad to concretise policies aimed at tapping the resources and skills of the Diaspora.

The Heads of Mission were fully briefed on the political and economic situation in the country. President Ramotar encouraged the Heads of Mission to see themselves not only as executing foreign policy but also contributing to its formulation. He further urged them to be greater “advance scouts”for Guyana’s development thrust and to continue their commendable work in representing Guyana in the international community.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
August 11, 2014

 

 


His Excellency Donald Ramotar, President of the Republic of Guyana joined CARICOM Heads of Government in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on Monday July 28, 2014 for a meeting with His Excellency Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan. This was the First Summit meeting of CARICOM Heads of State and Government and their Japanese counterpart and took place as the countries are celebrating in 2014 CARICOM-Japan Friendship Year, to mark twenty years since their first formal engagement in 1993.

The discussions centred on the vulnerabilities faced by CARICOM Member States towards achieving sustainable economic growth, strengthening the relations between Japan and CARICOM at the bilateral level and enhancing cooperation at the multilateral level.

In his intervention, President Ramotar expressed his appreciation for Prime Minister Abe’s recognition of the developmental challenges of CARICOM Member States particular the issue of graduation which has seen those Member States now qualified as middle or high income countries no longer being eligible for concessional loans and grants from international financial institutions. He acknowledged Prime Minister Abe’s stated support to represent the position of CARICOM Member States on this issue in the forums of the developed countries.

President Ramotar highlighted financing for development as one of the eight Millennium Development Goals that was still to reach its target as very few developed countries had made good on the pledge of 0.7% of GDP towards developmental assistance to vulnerable countries. He requested Prime Minister Abe’s further support in advancing the need for this commitment to be met.

With reference to climate change, President Ramotar thanked Prime Minister Abe for his Government’s assistance to CARICOM Member States in the area of humanitarian responses to natural disasters and in the promotion of measures to address adaptation, mitigation and disaster risk reduction.

In their bilateral meeting, the leaders of Guyana and Japan took the opportunity to reiterate their desire to enhance the relations of the two countries. President Ramotar referred to renewable energy, infrastructure and science and technology as areas where Guyana could benefit from Japan’s expertise and assistance. He also encouraged investment from Japanese companies particularly in the area of extraction of minerals. It was agreed that the two sides would pursue these and other areas of cooperation in the near future.

President Ramotar was accompanied by Honourable Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr the Honourable Ashni Singh, MP, Minister of Finance and Ambassador Elisabeth Harper, Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
July 28, 2014




The Government of Guyana continues to follow the tragic events obtaining in Gaza and condemns in the strongest of terms the deaths of hundreds of innocent lives including women and children. We also express our deep condemnation of the war crimes being committed and the Israeli air strike on the United Nations Shelter for refugees which has killed over a dozen people. Guyana deeply regrets this additional loss of life and injury. Moreover, the action has signaled a wanton disregard for the internationally renowned symbolism of the United Nations.

The Government of Guyana supports the call of the United Nations Human Rights Council to launch an international inquiry into the situation in Gaza and that those accountable should be brought to justice.

The Government reiterates its call for a peaceful and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
July 25, 2014




The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform that following the receipt of a request from the Government of the Republic of Portugal approval was granted by the Government of Guyana for the appointment of a new Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Portugal to the Republic of Guyana. Honourable Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guyana, on Thursday July 24, 2014 in the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs at 11:00 hrs presented to Mr. Michael Orlando Correia Jnr. his Exequatur appointing him as Honorary Consul of the Republic of Portugal to the Republic of Guyana. Mr. Correia succeeds Mr. Geoffrey Da Silva who was the previous Honorary Consul.

Mr. Michael Orlando Correia Jr. is the Chief Executive Officer of Correia’s Group of Companies which comprises several other companies in Guyana and is also the current Chairman of the Infrastructure Sub-Committee of the Private Sector Commission. Mr. Correia is a graduate of the Sir John A. McDonald School in Canada and York University in Toronto, Canada.

Guyana and Portugal established diplomatic relations on December 5th, 1978. Relations between Guyana and Portugal are cordial and operate primarily at the multilateral level through the European Union/African, Caribbean, Pacific Group (EU/ACP) partnership and the United Nations.

The appointment of Mr. Michael Orlando Correia Jr. as Honorary Consul of the Republic of Portugal in Guyana will not only provide a consular presence but it is hoped that it will also provide an opportunity for the exploration of the possibility of areas to enhance the bilateral relations between the two countries and further, to stimulate trade and economic cooperation between Guyana and Portugal.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
July 24, 2014




The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform that following the receipt of a request from the Government of the Kingdom of Sweden, approval was granted by the Government of Guyana for the appointment of a new Honorary Consul of the Kingdom of Sweden to the Republic of Guyana. Honourable Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guyana, on Thursday July 24, 2014 in the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs at 11:15 hrs presented to Mr. Mohamed Shabir Hussein his Exequatur appointing him as Honorary Consul of the Kingdom of Sweden to the Republic of Guyana. Mr. Hussein succeeds Mr. Clifford Reis who was the previous Honorary Consul.

Mr. Mohamed Shabir Hussein, is the Director for Engineering Services at Banks DIH Ltd. He has been the Director of the Demerara Harbour Bridge for over twelve (12) years and is the President of the Muslim Youth League of Guyana. Mr. Hussein is also a Fellow of the Society of Operations Engineers and the Institute of Road Transport Engineers respectively of London, England.

Guyana established formal diplomatic relations with Sweden on June 16, 1975. The two countries have maintained amicable relations over the years, operating predominantly through multilateral arrangements such as the Paris Club Agreement under which Guyana’s debt to the Swedish Export Credits Guarantee Board was written off in 1996, and the European Union/African, Caribbean and Pacific Group (EU/ACP) mechanism.

The appointment of Mr. Hussein as Honorary Consul will provide consular support for Swedish nationals in Guyana and further serve to promote the development of the relations between Sweden and Guyana in the coming years.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
July 24, 2014




STATEMENT ON THE ISRAELI – PALESTINIAN SITUATION

The Government of Guyana has followed the tragic events unfolding in Gaza and expresses its grave concern over the continuing attacks which are resulting in injury and the loss of life of a growing number of civilians, including women and children, as well as widespread destruction of infrastructure.

The Government of Guyana is of the view that the continued indiscriminateattacks on civilian areas will not resolve the long standing and complex issues at stake between Israel and the State of Palestine and calls for an immediate halt to the destruction being inflicted and the toll that is being taken on innocent lives. Guyana firmly believes that it is time for all parties concerned to take urgent steps to ensure the security and well being of their civilian population.

A military solution to the crisis in Gaza or to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should not be a first resort. Peace becomes harder to achieve with each military confrontation, each loss of life, and the creation of further mayhem on the ground. As a member of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People and as the first CARICOM country to recognize Palestine as a sovereign state based on its 1967 borders, Guyana supports the Palestinians’ aspiration to the full realization of their inalienable rights. A negotiated settlement is the best way to give the Palestinian people the state that they need and deserve and the Israeli people the security and peace to which they are entitled.

The Government of Guyanasupports the efforts of the United Nations Secretary Generalto bring about a cessation of the current violence and for the international community to act in a decisive manner to forestall an escalation of the present situation.

Once again the Government of Guyana implores the Israelis and Palestinians to return to negotiations, toexercise maximum restraint and avoid further civilian casualties and overall destabilization. We reiterate our call to the international community to intensify efforts to urgently push the peace process forward and for steps to be taken for a two-State solution in accordance with the relevant UN Resolutions.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
July 11, 2014




The Government of Guyana wishes to express its deep concern over the sentencing by an Egyptian Court of three Al-jazeera journalists to seven years in prison. This act by the Egyptian authorities is an affront to the principles which govern press freedom the world over.

The Government of Guyana believes that freedom of the press is essential for the full and effective exercise of freedom of expression and an indispensable instrument for the functioning of representative democracy, through which individuals exercise their right to receive, impart and seek information.

In this regard, the Government of Guyana joins calls by the international community for their immediate release.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
June 24, 2014



On behalf of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, today (June 20th) delivered a statement on sugar to the 39th Joint Council of the ACP- European Union (ACP-EU) which is being held in Nairobi, Kenya. Click here to read statement.

Minister Rodrigues-Birkett also attended the 99th Session of the ACP Council of Ministers from the 17th-18th June 2104. She called on the ACP group to give full support to the upcoming Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to be held in Samoa in September 2014 and more so the issues that affect SIDS. Minister Rodrigues-Birkett posited that 2014 is designated as the International Year of SIDS to call attention to the peculiar issues affecting these States and if meaningful progress is to be made to address these issues it must be done this year. As such, the support of the ACP, whose membership consists of many SIDS, is extremely important.

Following some clarification and in keeping with the principle of rotation and the equitable distribution among the ACP groupings, it was also decided that the next Secretary General for the term 2015-2020 will come from the Caribbean region. The Caribbean, in the person of Sir Edwin Carrington, last held the position from 1985-1990.The current Secretary General, His Excellency Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni hails from Ghana in the West African Region.

Accompanying Minister Rodrigues-Birkett to the ACP and ACP-EU Council Meetings is Guyana's Ambassador to Brussels, Dr. Patrick Gomes, who also chairs the Ambassadorial Working Group on the Future Perspectives of the ACP.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
June 20, 2014

 


His Excellency President Donald Ramotar attended the Third CARICOM-Mexico Summit held on Tuesday April 29, 2014 in Mérida, Yucatan, Mexico.

Speaking on the theme of his CARICOM portfolio responsibility, President Ramotar said that there was a growing recognition of the importance of agriculture, which was vital for food security and essential in maintaining the political stability of the Community as well as the region as a whole.

President Ramotar welcomed the announcement made earlier by His Excellency Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico regarding his Government’s financial contribution to the Inter-American Institute for Agriculture for assistance to CARICOM States to support the improvement of the agricultural sector, an important aspect of Caribbean life. President Ramotar reminded the meeting that it was the rise in food prices in Tunisia that had started the crisis which was unfortunately still raging in the Middle East.

Highlighting the challenges which CARICOM faced in the agricultural sector, President Ramotar pointed out that despite the many initiatives taken, the CARICOM Region was still a net importer of food with the food bill amounting to more than US$4b per year.

He said that it was clear that the Region needed a joint agricultural policy through which Member States could complement each other and raise their production to reduce the vulnerability in the sector, in the process examining the many problems that have emerged and those that were emerging.

Referring to the impact of climate change on agriculture, President Ramotar cited GUYSUCO as a practical example, explaining that since 2004 it was expected that there would be 120 days for land preparation for planting of sugar cane. Due to changing weather patterns, the average amount of days per year had been reduced to 80.

There was also need to have easy access to each other’s markets. However to accomplish this, it was necessary to improve the transportation links - maritime and air transport.

Another task was for the Community to jointly work to fight the huge food subsidy by developed countries which results in dumping thus keeping the countries in a state of dependency.

Another challenge was that of making agriculture attractive for young people to become involved. The solution was to introduce more technology into the agriculture sector and for this it was necessary to invest in human resources to produce the modern farmer.

The President said that countries of the Community must also aim to transform their agricultural products from just being raw materials to agro- industries. This is important to create jobs both in agriculture and in industry where additional skills would be required and where value would be added.

President Ramotar posited that it was time that the Community began to consider some form of division of labour in agriculture which would help to broaden the amount of agricultural products that the region could make available to its peoples.

Linked to the development of the agricultural sector and agro-industry was the need for reliable and affordable energy, particularly for processing of agricultural products. In this regard, President Ramotar noted that the Community could benefit from Mexico’s experience and expertise.

In acknowledging the strengthened relations between Guyana and Mexico, President Ramotar recognized the active role played by the Mexican Ambassador resident in Georgetown. He also drew attention to the investment made by Mexican company Qualfon as the largest single private and foreign employer in Guyana which was planning to expand its operations, encouraged by its favourable business experience.

President Ramotar expressed his appreciation to President Peña Nieto for the warm welcome and hospitality that he was accorded. He was accompanied by the Honourable Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Irfaan Ali, Minister of Housing and Water and Acting Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce and Ambassador Elisabeth Harper, Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
April 30, 2014



Government welcomes CARICOM Statement on AMLCFT Legislation

The Government of Guyana welcomes the statement made by CARICOM Heads of Government following their recent meeting in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the Anti-Money Laundering Legislation before the Parliament. In the Statement they stressed the negative impact which the failure by Guyana to enact the Bill would have on its national economy and the consequential implications for the wider region.

The CARICOM statement recognises the grave perils that loom before Guyana and the Caribbean should the CFATF recommendations not be enacted and should Guyana find itself blacklisted as a consequence. In doing so, the statement has vindicated the concerns expressed by the Government of Guyana over the past year, and the call by Government and by the multitude of other national stakeholders for the National Assembly to proceed with passage of the Bill submitted by Government in response to the CFATF recommendations.

The call by CARICOM for enactment of the legislation is a welcome one. It is the hope of the Government of Guyana therefore that the Opposition Parliamentary Parties will heed the call of our regional partners and allow Guyana to proceed with the Bill with the required urgency, and not procrastinate any further thereby placing the country and the Region in jeopardy.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
March 12, 2014

 


Guyana and Norway to lead UN process on Financing for Development

The Permanent Representatives of Guyana and Norway have been appointed by the President of the United Nations General Assembly to lead a UN process on financing for development. Ambassador George Talbot of Guyana and his Norwegian counterpart, Ambassador Geir Pedersen, have been mandated to conduct inclusive and transparent intergovernmental consultations, with the participation of major institutional stakeholders, on all issues related to the forthcoming third international conference on financing for development, including the date, format, organisation and scope of the conference. The conference will likely be held in 2015.

With the United Nations currently embarked on the elaboration of a post-2015 development agenda as a successor to the Millennium Development Goals framework that has anchored the Organisation's work in development since 2000, an agreement on the means of implementation, including on financing, will be critical to the efficacy and successful implementation of the new agenda. The financing for development conference is expected to provide a holistic framework for mobilizing resources from a variety of sources and for the effective use of financing for the achievement of the sustainable development goals that will be at the core of the post-2015 development agenda.

Public financing, including ODA, will remain a key component of global financing for development. The leveraging of financing from other sources, including new private sector investments, unlocking domestic resources, harnessing trade flows, and curbing illicit outflows will be among the important questions that the conference will address. The forthcoming conference will follow up and build on the Monterrey Consensus adopted at the International Conference on Financing for Development held in 2002 in Monterrey, Mexico, and the Doha Declaration which emanated from the 2008 Doha conference on the subject.

Guyana's appointment is a reflection of the respect that the country enjoys at the United Nations, in particular on issues of sustainable development. It affords a special opportunity to contribute to the effort to update and strengthen the multilateral financing framework that could help to translate the post-2015 development agenda into meaningful outcomes for member countries.

This latest Guyana-Norway collaboration at the multilateral level follows on the already established bilateral cooperation arrangement between the two countries in the promotion of sustainable development and the combat of climate change.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
March 5, 2014



Honourable Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Minister of Foreign Affairs paid a two day visit to Guatemala on January 15th and 16th, 2014 at the invitation of her counterpart Minister of Foreign Affairs Honourable Luis Fernando Carrera Castro. She had discussions with Minister Carrera and also met with officials in the tourism, sugar and handicraft sectors.

Minister Rodrigues-Birkett met with the President of the Sugar Association of Guatemala Mr Fraterno Vila who expressed a keen interest in working with Guyana in the sugar sector. Himself a private miller and farmer, Mr. Vila has more than 35 years’ experience in sugar and owns one of the most efficient and productive companies in the sugar sector. He guided Minister Rodrigues-Birkett on a tour of his operations. Guatemala is ranked as the fourth largest sugar exporter in the world and third in terms of efficiency and productivity. Guyana will continue to engage Guatemala in cooperation in this sector.

Guatemala also boasts a developed handicraft industry which is closely linked to the tourism sector. At a meeting with officials from these two sectors, assistance was offered to Guyanese women in particular as Guyana seeks to develop its handicraft industry.

Guyana and Guatemala established diplomatic relations in 1992 but bilateral relations have not been very active. In an effort to strengthen these relations Minister Rodrigues-Birkett had invited Minister Carrera to Guyana and he paid a working visit in August 2013.

During her visit, Minister Rodrigues-Birkett and Minister Carrera signed an Agreement on Political Consultations which would provide a mechanism for Guyana and Guatemala to develop coordinated positions on several matters as well as allow regular exchanges on issues of common interest on the regional and international agendas.

Minister Rodrigues-Birkett was accompanied by Mr Jevon Rodrigues, Foreign Service Officer II in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
January 17, 2014