…Greenidge urges speedy implementation of agreements
After a 10-year hiatus, the Seventh Session of the Guyana-Suriname Cooperation Council was declared open in Georgetown, amid calls for the Council to move away from just signing agreements but ensuring the implementation of same.Foreign Affairs Minister,Carl Greenidge,in opening the Council on Monday,charged representatives from both countries to do more to ensure that the countries ties are deepened. “Far too often, agreements are signed and become ends in and of themselves;this must be changed – the Council must go beyond signing of agreements to ensure good faith implementation of the agreed to activities. Once this is done I am sure the burden you carry would be much appreciated,” Greenidge said during a simple opening ceremony held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ boardroom.
He explained that the Cooperation Council was established to deepen and strengthen relations between the two South American countries in the areas of health, natural resources, technology, security, and economics,and noted that with the reconvening of the meeting presents a “myriad opportunities for cooperation, for action.”
President David Granger and Suriname’s President,Desi Bouterse, committed to having the Council reconvened last December when the Surinamese leader visited Guyana. “Both heads of state rely on you,the esteemed members of the Council,to create the conditions for and establish means by which those prospective advantages can be realised in the shortest possible time,” the Foreign Affairs Minister stated while noting that while the Council has not been convened for over a decade, the relationship between the two countries has not died but has seen a reduction in the intensity and scope of cooperation.
“The meetings of the Cooperation Council in the past have provided visions, goals, aims and objectives for the achievement and enhancement of the kind of relations between our two neighbouring countries that are desirable.”
Greenidge noted that the Council over the years has been supported by technical experts and ad hoc groups to sharpen and broaden the focused areas of cooperation for the countries and emphasised the countries being the only two contiguous states within the CARICOM Bloc.
The Foreign Affairs Minister reminded the members of the Council that the Presidents of Guyana and Suriname rely on them to create the means by which areas of cooperation can be materialized in the shortest possible time. He believes that while Guyana and Suriname have proven over the years to be “good friends” the duo with combined knowledge and resources can progress significantly.
“We must recognise that while we lack the ability (individually) to be the complete food baskets on our own, we can together achieve that goal together. It would take some self-sacrifice, much hard work, but the benefits of being together would eliminate the risks of trying to do it individually…and reduces the time to which they can be achieved,” said Greenidge.
Meanwhile, head of the Surinamese delegation, Ambassador Dr John Kolader, said the reconvening of the Council provides a new beginning for the strengthening of cooperation between Guyana and Suriname and noted the need to hasten efforts of cooperation between the two countries.
“I think that this body should not only monitor and see what the several agencies are doing but also to take initiatives and give guidance in the efforts for the cooperation,” Dr Kolader,who also served as Suriname’s Ambassador to Guyana and is now the Chairman of the Border Commission,said.
He noted that Council is an important instrument used to promote and improve the friendship between Guyana and Suriname. “We are convinced that there is an urgent need to cooperate and to strengthen joint efforts to bring the two countries and people closer and closer to each other, a logical avenue as the two countries are adjacent to each other,” said the Surinamese diplomat.
Additionally, Dr Kolader stressed the need for both countries to prevent disturbances so that there can be continued strengthening of relations rather than “setbacks in development.”
In attendance were several representatives from varying government ministries and departments including, Chief Medical Officer Dr Shamdeo Persaud, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture George Jarvis, Ndibi Schwiers, Head of the Department of Environment and former Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,Elisabeth Harper,and representatives from the Ministries of Business and Security.