President concludes successful Commonwealth Heads meeting in Sri Lanka
Georgetown, GINA, November 18, 2013
President Donald Ramotar expressed his sincere appreciation to the Government and people of Sri Lanka for what he said were excellent arrangements put in place for hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
Joining dozens of high level officials including Heads of State and Government, President Ramotar said the warm and gracious welcome accorded to all of the delegations had set the tone for serious and substantive dialogue and a successful outcome of the meeting.
In the lead up to the CHOGM meeting, human rights violations in Sri Lanka and speculations about some Heads of State absenting, headlined the international press to shed a bad spotlight on the host nation.
The meeting with however, successfully hosted with leaders focusing on debt management, solvency and resilience in small member states; Climate finance for small and vulnerable states; practical trade measures to help increase exports including finance and advocacy that can help shape the global trade agenda; unlocking the potential for member governments to assist each other directly, giving fuller meaning to the notion of the commonwealth; and a proposed Commonwealth Plan for Broadband Inclusion among others.
President Ramotar in his remarks noted that the meeting afforded the opportunity for them as leaders of the Commonwealth to recommit to the values and principles of the Organisation.
He highlighted the enormous contribution which the Commonwealth had made over the years in the strengthening of democracy among member states that have varying levels of development.
The Guyanese Head of State sees the 53-member intergovernmental organisation as one that remains relevant in a world facing many political, socio-economic and environmental problems.
Leading a country that has gained international recognition for its climate initiatives, President Ramotar updated Heads of State and Government on the work of the Iwokrama International Rainforest Centre and the valuable role that the Iwokrama Rainforest Programme continued to play in promoting research on the impact of climate change.
Accompanying the Guyana delegation were First Lady Deolatchmee Ramotar, Minister of Foreign Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Director General in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Elisabeth Harper, and Guyana’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Laleshwar Singh.
On November 17, Guyana was selected to serve on the reconstituted Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) and Minister Rodrigues-Birkett, attended the Group’s first meeting held in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
The CMAG was established by Commonwealth Heads of Government in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1995 and deals with serious or persistent violations of the Harare Declaration, which contains Commonwealth’s fundamental political values.