UK remains a strategic partner to Guyana -President Granger says at reception in honour of Queen’s 92nd birthday

Georgetown, Guyana – (June 14, 2018) President David Granger has reaffirmed that the United Kingdom (UK) remains a strategic partner of Guyana and expressed his Government’s appreciation for its support for Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, debt relief and for the anticipated benefits under the UK Caribbean Infrastructure Fund. The President made these remarks last evening at a reception held in celebration of the 92nd birth anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II, which she celebrated on April 21. The event was held at the residence of the British High Commissioner to Guyana in Bel Air.

“We are confident that the strong ties which exist between our two states will be strengthened in the years ahead… The UK, through the Department For International Development [DFID], has provided assistance to Guyana in the fields of agriculture, aquaculture, disaster-relief, education, economic competitiveness, governance, law enforcement, trade facilitation, water supply, judicial service reform, public sector reform and security sector reform,” the Head of State said.

The President said that the Queen is held in high esteem by the Commonwealth of which Guyana is a member state. This, he said, was reiterated by Commonwealth Heads at its most recent meeting in April.

Speaking of Guyana’s commitment to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, the President said that Guyana has been pleased to dedicate the Kanashen Protected Area, located in the Upper Takatu-Upper Essequibo (Region Nine) to this laudable initiative, which is Her Majesty’s environmental legacy. The Kanashen Protected Area spans an area of almost 7,000 square kilometers, a little larger than Trinidad and Tobago.

Meanwhile, British High Commissioner to Guyana, Mr. Greg Quinn in his remarks said that quite apart from the Security Sector Reform (SSR) Project, Britain has assisted Guyana with maritime and aviation reviews and provided training to financial investigators from the Guyana Police Force’s Strategic Planning Unit and the Guyana Prison Service. He said that much more will be done this year and informed that British Security Expert, Colonel Russell Combe will be in Guyana till March 2019 to transition the reform process to one that is Guyanese-led.

“The work that is being done under SSR is only part of a broader relationship that we have on combating organised crime…Significant UK funds are being committed to the security area and also to broader development areas. This include over £2M of UK assistance last year in areas such as Chevening scholarships, surveying the approaches of the Georgetown port…there is also over £61M of DFID expenditure committed to Guyana over the next five years,” the High Commissioner said.

In addition, the UK Government, in partnership with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) will be working to build the road from Linden to Mabura Hills and a bridge at Kurupukari. “Since I arrived in Guyana in 2015, over £67M of UK grant-assistance has been committed to or spent in this country and we continue to work hard to bring British business and expertise across a range of topics to Guyana,” he said.

Britain’s ties to Guyana were initiated in the Convention of London by which the Sovereign Principality of the United Netherlands formally ceded the three colonies, Demerara, Essequibo and Berbice, to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1814 in the reign of King George III. The colonial ties were severed 52 years later when Guyana became independent under Queen Elisabeth in 1966 but cordial relations continued.

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