Guyana, U.S. solidify relations
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President Dr Irfaan Ali and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the joint press conference at State House on Friday (Adrian Narine photo)
President Dr Irfaan Ali and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the joint press conference at State House on Friday (Adrian Narine photo)

— sign key agreements to tackle narco-trafficking, facilitate growth and development

GUYANA is looking forward to partner with the U.S. to strengthen border control, anti-terrorism, cyber security, technology transfer and anti-corruption measures, said President Dr Irfaan Ali.

During a joint press conference on Friday morning at State House with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the President said he also discussed with Secretary Pompeo collaboration on combatting the COVID-19 pandemic and lifting the economy out of the economic downturn.
“I am grateful for the U.S. support to Guyana, in helping us to fight the pandemic. I am confident that there will be more targeted assistance for our health sector, as well as support for our traditional, emerging, and attractive sectors,” the President said.
The President noted that Secretary Mike Pompeo’s historic visit sends a powerful signal that Guyana is regarded as a responsible member of the hemispheric and international communities, as a sovereign nation firmly rooted in democratic principles, the rule of law, respect for human rights and the pursuit of sustainable and equitable development.

Adding that his government is grateful to the U.S. Government and, in particular, to Secretary Pompeo, President Ali noted that the U.S.’ unwavering support for democracy and constitutional order in Guyana during the recent political and electoral crisis in the country is testimony to that support.

He explained that Secretary Pompeo’s visit serves to remind Guyanese that the U.S. will continue to be a steadfast partner as stakeholders work to consolidate democracy, strengthen institutions and pursue a path of unprecedented economic growth and development.

Secretary Pompeo’s visit, moreover, he said, solidifies the bilateral relationship between Guyana and the U.S. and sets the stage for expanding and deepening U.S. cooperation with Guyana.

“I am, therefore, pleased to announce the signing this [Friday] morning of a framework agreement between the U.S. Government and the Government of Guyana, to strengthen energy and infrastructure finance and market-building cooperation, in the context of the Growth in the Americas Initiative,” the President said.

This agreement, the President said, will boost the business environment for U.S. private sector investment in Guyana, particularly in the fields of energy, both non-renewables and renewables, along with infrastructure.

Further, he said the agreement will also pave the way for the U.S. private sector to expand their investment portfolio and partner with Guyana’s private sector.

President Ali said these partnerships will help to meet Guyana’s broader infrastructural and downstream development needs and by extension drive economic growth and development as well as job creation.

INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Notably, he said more opportunities will be available for firms to explore investment opportunities in the tourism and hospitality sector, ICT and food production, among others.

“I am also pleased to announce that Guyana and the U.S. will deepen cooperation in the area of security, with specific attention to maritime security and joint patrols, to interdict narcotics trafficking. This will also allow us to improve our technical and human capabilities in monitoring Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone,” the President said.

He said that this will augur well for stronger collaboration and broader technical assistance to help combat both domestic and transnational organised criminal networks.

The President noted that Guyana is also mindful that the largest bloc of its diaspora resides in the U.S. and government remains committed to leveraging the skills and investment potential of the diaspora.

“I raised with Secretary Pompeo the need to revisit the current export restriction placed on wild-caught catfish, a product which is a great demand in the Guyanese diaspora. This market is very important not only for our export earning, but also for the sustenance of the livelihood of the fishing communities,” he said.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the U.S. and Guyana have been friends for over five decades, but this is the first official visit from an American Secretary of State.

“Now is the time to move forward with even closer ties….We know the Guyanese people cherish democracy, they cherish freedom, they value free, fair, and transparent elections, just as Americans do, just as all people do. I was proud to publicly support the Guyanese people in their quest to have the results of the election respected. The results certainly took longer than any of us would have wished or hoped, but it was worth fighting for. It was worth fighting to honour the people’s sovereign decision. That’s indeed what democracy is all about,” Pompeo said, while congratulating President Ali.

The Secretary of State said the U.S. is ready to partner with Guyana, especially when big decisions are faced on moving forward in future prosperity.

“That’s how Americans will help produce local jobs and sustainable growth for the people of your country. You should know that the United States AID that works as part of the State Department is on the same page too. I’m proud to announce this morning that the agency has committed $3M for a locally led programme for citizens’ involvement in their government, and a million and a half so that the youth of Guyana will be involved in democracy as well,” he explained.

Adding that Guyanese are leading their nation’s journey to self-reliance, Pompeo said Guyana is the second Caribbean country to sign a new agreement under the Growth in the Americas initiative.

“It demonstrates that the United States wants to model the private sector, not state-owned enterprises, because that model, that investment model is superior; it will deliver real, good things for the people of your country. It’ll bring both those jobs – frankly, jobs to America as well – and it’ll increase cooperation on environmental issues, just like potential spill responses.”

The last economic piece the two governments are working on, Pompeo said, is to increase trade and foreign direct investment here.

“There’s a lot of places where we had the chance where we’ll work hand in hand. Our new security agreement to counter narcotics trafficking, something that has decimated so many nations all across the world will enter into force on Monday.”

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