By Abigail Brower
CHILE on Tuesday celebrated its 207th independence anniversary and also 46 years of formal diplomatic relations with Guyana at a gala reception held at the Marriott Hotel, Kingston, Georgetown.
Addressing the ceremony held at the Marriott Hotel, Chile’s Ambassador to Guyana, Claudio Rachel Rojas, said the 207th independence anniversary since the beginning of its path of becoming a free and sovereign nation has been confronted with multiple challenges. He also noted that 46 years of diplomatic ties is not only an important milestone in the history of bilateral relations between Guyana and Chile, but also an avenue to help overcome inequalities and become a more developed and inclusive society, where economic growth can be achieved in a sustainable manner.
“Chile and Guyana’s relationship is as a result of a process of many years and sustained efforts,” said Ambassador Rojas. He noted that the Embassy of Chile after its establishment on August 2015 has created a new momentum for the further development of ties between the two nations.
Just two weeks ago, Minister of Agriculture Noel Holder and the Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin, participated in a seminar where the Chilean Agency for Food Safety of the Minister of Agriculture along with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in
Agriculture (IICA), concluded the Technical Assistant Programme to develop the procedures and manual of a Phytosanitary and Food Safety Allimentarius System (CODEX) to Guyana, and to other countries of the Caribbean Region. “Chile is a partner that is committed to sharing the best of its experiences with Guyana for the good of the country’s economic, social and cultural development,” the ambassador said, adding that the Chilean Embassy and the work with the Government of Guyana are aimed at promoting friendly ties and to create an enabling environment that is conducive to enlarging the political, cultural, social, trade and economic relations between the two countries. Chile will go to the polls in presidential elections in November and the ambassador reassured Guyana that whoever is elected as the new president of the South American country, the foreign policy will reflect and remain one of development between Chile and Guyana.
Meanwhile, also delivering remarks was Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, who is also performing duties of President. He said Chile is regarded as one of the most stable countries in South America with a vibrant economy and strong democratic institutions. “We therefore applaud you on this achievement and wish you continued success in the years ahead,” the prime minister said.
The prime minister said Guyana attaches great value to the friendly relations she shares with Chile, since the establishment of diplomatic ties on July 22, 1971. “We are especially pleased that our bilateral relations have become increasingly active since the commissioning of the Embassy of Chile in 2015. I am confident that in the years ahead, we will continue to build on the foundations of the fruitful relations between our two countries.” Mr Nagamootoo said the Government of Guyana is extremely appreciative of the progress made by both sides on the commitments of President David Granger and Her Excellency Michelle Bachelet during their encounters in 2016. In highlighting this progress, he referred to the ongoing collaboration between the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and the National Service of Geology and Mining (SERNAGEOMIN) of Chile in the area of capacity-building in geological mapping in Guyana; the forthcoming Spanish language training for Guyanese public officials offered by the Government of Chile and the Course in Globalization and Global Governance for Foreign Service Officials. “In addition to our bilateral cooperation, our two countries share common values and positions in relation to the respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, the rule of international law and treaties and the maintenance of peace and security,” Mr Nagamooto said, adding that these shared common values have enabled us to closely collaborate within the regional and international mechanisms such as CARICOM, the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), Community of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAC), the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United Nations (UN).
Under the UNASUR framework, Nagamootoo said Chile has played an integral role in the regional integration process in South America, especially within the context of the South American Council for Infrastructure and Planning (COSIPLAN). Guyana is also prepared to assume its role as the conduit to the Caribbean and North America and is therefore committed to the implementation of the integration of South American infrastructural arrangements, the prime minister said.
He reaffirmed Guyana’s commitment towards ensuring that the Region remains a zone of peace in order to promote social and economic development through harmonious and friendly relations. He said increasingly, Guyana has been confronted with threats beyond “our control and outside our borders. Right now, as I speak, Mexico is hit by an earthquake which has so far claimed 116 lives, and is the second earthquake this month,” the prime minister said. He said the disaster coincides with the anniversary of the 1985 earthquake. “Also, our Region is reeling from the effects of hurricanes; first Harvey, then Irma, and now Maria. These hurricanes are called by horrible-sounding names as they devastate the lives of our brothers and sisters in our Region. Geospatial images show our once lush, green islands as bare and brown patches in the midst of the Sahara desert. I wish to acknowledge in our presence two friends who are visiting from Puerto Rico, which is now threatened by Maria. We pray for the safety of the people of Dominica, Puerto Rico and elsewhere.”
“As we commemorate the anniversary of your nation’s birth, I wish to take this opportunity to commend you for working concertedly towards the strengthening of bilateral relations between Guyana and Chile. I would also wish to reiterate my Government’s commitment to continue working closely with your Government to build stronger ties in the years ahead as we seek to improve the livelihoods of our people. I am therefore delighted this evening to propose a toast to the continued good health and success of Her Excellency Michelle Bachelet and to the continued prosperity of the Government and people of the Republic of Chile,” the prime minister said.
At the event the Embassy of Chile presented an award to business magnate Dr. Yesu Persaud, for his significant contributions and commitment to his homeland and for being an ambassador for the development of Guyana. Former President of Guyana, Donald Ramotar, Minister of State Joseph Harmon, Members of the Diplomatic Corps and other invited guests were present at the event.