Foreign Ministry continues to enhance Guyana’s image, boost economic diplomacy

GINA, Guyana, Friday, December 9, 2016

Government has concentrated on improving relations with international counterparts and pushing its developmental agenda, Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge told the House, on Thursday, as he highlighted some of his Ministry’s achievements for 2016 during the 2017 national Budget debates.

Highlighting the moves to resolve the border claims being made by Venezuela, Minister Greenidge said that, ‘The Way Forward/Proposals’, was the title that the United Nations Secretary General (SG) Ban-Ki-moon gave to the proposals he made to the resolution of the controversy.

He added that the Way Forward/ Proposals envisage the conclusion at the end of the year which is also the end of the SG’s term. “We have every reason to believe that the Secretary General’s (position) will be conveyed eminently,” Greenidge said.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge making his presentation to the National Assembly during the National Budget Debates

The Minister also put to the House that Guyana has, in spite of limited finances, done well in garnering support internationally for its position on the aforementioned issue. The Foreign Ministry has also coordinated its response to challenges and developments, globally and regionally, Minister Greenidge noted “and continued to seek support for the promotion of a good life for all Guyanese.”

The Foreign Affairs Ministry has been reorganised and structurally realigned to, “better place emphasis on areas central to the promotion of the Ministry’s economic diplomacy programme and the safeguarding of Guyana’s national interest,” the Minister said.

The Ministry also embarked on hiring staffers and ambassadors, “steeped in relevant skills and having experience necessary to pursue our goals. I think we have been largely successful in that regard,” the Minister further said.

Moves to enhance training to boost economic diplomacy with diplomatic training programmes were undertaken in the past year, Minister Greenidge explained. He added that the Foreign Service Institute, “has been tasked with creating programmes geared to meet the needs of the Ministry, and in this regard a number training programmes in foreign languages and foreign trade were successfully launched.”

Minister Greenidge said that the Ministry published a book authored by Sir Shridath Ramphal titled ‘Guyana in the world- The first 50 years, and the predatory challenge’ for Guyana’s 50th Independence anniversary. He said that a series of television programmes, booklets, brochures and lectures were also completed.

Work, Minister Greenidge stated, will continue on building Guyana’s image so as to improve its standing on the international arena. He also spoke of enhancing of bilateral relations with bilateral air services and visa free travel agreements between several countries. The establishment of new embassies in Trinidad and Switzerland to boost international trade and agreements was also highlighted by the Minister. He reminded the House of the EU$24M Grant Agreement signed two months prior to offer assistance to the local sugar sector’s diversification efforts.

“The path to greater prosperity and the rest of the Caribbean lies in greater integration,” said the Minister, as he spoke of the CARICOM meetings held and due to take place in the new year, in Guyana (the 28th Inter-sessional Meeting of Heads of Government from the February 16 to 17, 2017).

“CARICOM remains critical to Guyana and its pursuit of diplomacy and national sovereignty,” the Minister stressed. Mention was also made of the efforts to foster better integration such as the implementation of the Caribbean single Market and Economy’s (CSME) Application Processing System. This system will enable CARICOM residents to apply online for skills certificate. Guyana is the first country to implement this system, the Minister revealed.

In closing, Minister Greenidge noted that Guyana is committed to peace and stability throughout the region. This country remains committed to multilateralism, the Minister emphasised, and a rule based international order.  “To this end, the Ministry will continue as far as possible to participate and play an active role in the UN system, its specialised agencies, funds and programmes, multilateral activities, namely global security, sustainable development, human rights and the international law.”

By: Paul Mc Adam

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