Senior Finance Minister meets with Commonwealth Secretary-General
–cooperation, collaboration in key areas discussed
Senior Finance Minister Dr. Ashni K. Singh today met with visiting Commonwealth Secretary-General Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC and her delegation at the Ministry of Finance where the two officials discussed cooperation and collaboration in a number of key areas.
During the meeting, Minister Singh welcomed the Secretary-General and her team to Guyana and indicated that the President Irfaan-Ali led Government continues to believe strongly in the Commonwealth’s relevance and its importance in the current contemporary situation in Commonwealth countries such as Guyana.
“Even when we were in Government (before) we could recall there were a number of important pressing global problems whereby the Commonwealth played an integral role. Our issues in Climate Change was one example but there were other things like the Multi-dimensional Vulnerability Index. In particular, the Commonwealth has demonstrated a unique leadership on Small States issues and that is in particular, a topic that we feel very strongly about,” Dr. Singh said.
Minister Singh noted that there is a long list of areas in which Guyana would have benefitted through the Commonwealth (in terms of support) with two at the top of the list being the role the Commonwealth played in supporting Guyana’s fight for its democracy in 2020 and the issue pertaining to Guyana’s relationship with Venezuela.
For her part, the Commonwealth Secretary-General noted that the current period is a new era where small States have a pivotal role to play with Guyana’s leadership being of particular importance in terms of its current approach to development as it is not only focused on oil and gas but also on developing other areas (sectors).
She added that Small States despite possessing only small voices, will be very powerful especially since the small States have demonstrated graphically the consequences of Climate Change. With Guyana being both a part of CARICOM as well as a part of the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth Secretary-General also noted that the country will be a major focus of the Commonwealth in terms of its management approaches as this may serve as a model for other small States.
Meanwhile, other areas discussed (in which both teams can cooperate and collaborate) included debt-management, good governance and anti-corruption, information communication technology in terms of digital solutions for effective financial management as well as the development of upstream petroleum policies.
The Commonwealth Secretary-General was accompanied by Director and Head of the SG’s Office, Ms. Deborah Jamieson; Senior Director, Governance and Peace Directorate, Professor Luis Franceschi, Assistant Research Officer of the SG’s Office, Mr. Francis Wanjiku and Assistant Research Officer of the Governance and Peace Directorate, Ms. Fayola Fraser.
Accompanying the Senior Finance Minister at the meeting were Finance Secretary, Mr. Sukrishnalall Pasha, Director of Projects (Project Cycle Management Division), Mr. Tarachand Balgobin, Head (Bilateral Division) Ms. Donna Levi and Head (Debt Management Division), Ms. Donna Yearwood.
In November 2021, President Ali had met the Secretary-General in Glasgow, Scotland at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP) 26.