Canada Day Celebrated

President David Granger, Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Lilian Chatterjee (left) and Minister of State, Dawn Hastings-Williams share a toast to fruitful years of bilateral relations. (Adrian Narine photo)

– New Canadian Chamber of Commerce soon

CANADIAN High Commissioner to Guyana, Lilian Chatterjee, has announced that the Commission will be launching a Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Guyana later this year.
The announcement was made on Monday evening at a reception to celebrate Canada Day at the Marriott Hotel which saw the attendance of President David Granger. Chatterjee stated that the move is in recognition of the growing Canadian presence in Guyana and a special launching will take place at a later date.

Monday marked the 152nd Anniversary of the unification of the provinces and the formation of Canada as a Dominion on July 1, 1867.

In his address to the attendees, the President stated that, over time, Canada has become a symbol of social cohesion and a model of multiculturalism for countries around the world. He hailed the importance placed by Canada on human rights and inclusionary democracy; gender equity; climate change and its assistance to developing countries such as Guyana.
He also highlighted the recently launched Canada-Caribbean Resilience Facility Project as one which will build capacity for disaster management and response and noted the country’s investments in Guyana’s mining and oil and gas sectors.

Canadian High Commissioner Lilian Chatterjee greets Vice President and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock with a warm handshake (Adrian Narine photo)

“Canada has provided assistance to Guyana in a wide range of fields including education, the environment and climate resilience, indigenous peoples’ development, governance, justice administration, public administration, private sector development, social development and of course, support for the National Assembly,” the President said.
“Canada’s conspicuous and continuous cooperation in our economy, its commitment to common values and its collaboration with the Caribbean Community will continue to cement strong relations with Guyana and with the states of the western hemisphere.” He expressed gratitude, on behalf of Guyana, to Canada for its strong support of Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity over the past five decades.

Meanwhile, in her address to the gathering, Chatterjee reflected on the Guyana-Canada relations and how this has helped to improve both countries. She noted some of the assistance efforts rendered by Canada to Guyana dating back as far as 1910 and 1920, with the establishment of Missionary Schools where English and Hindi were taught.
She also named the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Canadian Executive Service Organization (CESO) and several other organizations which have rendered financial or technical assistance.

Chatterjee stated that Canadians are investing in Guyana’s oil and gas sector through companies such as CGX, JHI Associates Inc. (JHI) and Eco (Atlantic) Oil & Gas Ltd., while Canada works closely with the National Toshao Council (NTC).

A cultural presentation wows the audience (Adrian Narine photo)

“We will continue to connect our first nations peoples with indigenous communities in Guyana so that they can learn from each other,” the Canadian High Commissioner stated. She commended the Government of Guyana for its acceptance of Venezuelan migrants even in the face of border controversy with the same country. “It speaks to your compassion to accept people escaping harsh conditions when that country’s government is in a territorial dispute with you,” Chatterjee said.

She also took time out to acknowledge notable Guyanese living in Canada and others who have returned to Guyana from Canada to help build Guyana’s economy. “We were here when you had no oil. We have accompanied you in all stages of your development when very few were here to support you. We are not your donor, we are your partner and you can count on Canada to continue to partner with you as we cultivate our gardens of liberal democracy so that all of our citizens can flourish,” she said. Guyana and Canada have shared diplomatic relations since May 1966.

Among the attendees were Speaker of the National Assembly, Barton Scotland; Minister of State, Dawn Hastings-Williams; former Presidents– Donald Ramotar, Samuel Hinds and Bharrat Jagdeo; Former Mayor of Georgetown, Hamilton Green and Chief Justice (ag), Roxanne George. They joined a large audience of other Ministers of Government; members of the diplomatic corps; members of the Canadian diaspora and representatives of the Private Sector.