President Granger attends official opening of CHOGM 2018
DPI, GUYANA, Thursday, April 19, 2018
The formal opening of the 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) being held in London, United Kingdom (UK) began this morning, with the official welcome of all the Heads of Government including Guyana’s Head of State, H.E. David. A. Granger, at the Buckingham Palace.
This was followed by the formal arrival of the Royal Family and the official welcome by His Royal Highness Prince Charles of Wales, who said the 2018 CHOGM is symbolic of the renewed pride of the Commonwealth family.
His Royal Highness expressed optimism that this year’s meeting will not only revitalize the bond between the 53 nations that constitute the Commonwealth but build bridges between countries as they work towards a common goal.
Prince Charles’ aspiration is that the Commonwealth remains a “connoisseur for the lives of future generations.”
Her Majesty the Queen declared the event opened and, in her speech, expressed “pride and satisfaction” that the Commonwealth continues to grow stronger each year, with increased emphasis on trade, helping the Organisation to establish new and exciting areas of collaboration, which she hopes will extend globally.
Stability and continuity for future generations is Her Majesty’s aspiration for the Commonwealth and that Prince Charles continues the important work started by her father in 1949.
The host of CHOGM, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and incoming Commonwealth Secretary-General, Rt. Hon. Theresa May noted that this year’s meeting represents the first full heads meeting of the Commonwealth held in the UK in almost forty years.
She said the Commonwealth over the years, has brought together nations young and old and of all sizes to celebrate common bonds, despite the difficulties and controversies.
The UK Prime Minister called on leaders to be responsible by ensuring that the voices of the youth are heard and emphasised the need for coordination and cooperation to tackle some of the 21st Century biggest challenges, such as climate change, protection of vulnerable states and responding to the threat of cyber-attacks.
Democracy, observance of human rights and tolerance continue to be the hallmark of a fairer commonwealth, PM May said, pointing to the fact that many of the problems that exist within the nations cannot be solved individually.
While echoing similar sentiments, Outgoing Secretary-General, Rt. Hon. Patricia Scotland, QC said the presence of all the leaders together in the Buckingham Palace, united in purpose, is demonstrative of their “supreme expression of faith in the Commonwealth.”
According to Baroness Scotland, an untold debt of gratitude is owed to the Head of the Commonwealth, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth.
She urged the Heads of Government to remain receptive and responsive to the needs of all, especially the youth and marginalized, while alluding to the fruits of initiatives such as the Langkawi Declaration, signed in 1989 in Langkawi, Malaysia, the Queen’s Young Leaders Programme and the Commonwealth Youth Charter.
Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth, Prime Minister of Malta, Joseph Muscat said he is pleased to witness the rekindled interest among the states and wished the Organisation continued success.
He reminded that equality is not relative and charged his counterparts to assist decision makers and promote best practices.
The 2018 CHOGM continues today with the first Executive meeting of the Heads of Government.
“Towards a common future” is this year’s theme.
By: Stacy Carmichael