Canada pledges more assistance to Guyana in combating COVID-19 as new envoy accredited
– President Ali lauds partnership between 2 countries
A new Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana was on Monday accredited by President Dr Irfaan Ali, amid pledges to deepen ties between the two countries and for Canada to further assist Guyana in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
New Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, His Excellency Mark Berman presented his credentials to President Ali at the Office of the President. The Canadian dignitary is replacing Lilian Chatterjee as the Resident High Commissioner.
Chatterjee, who played an integral part in the local fight for democracy after the March 2020 elections through her advocacy on her Government’s behalf, has since left Guyana to take up a new post in Barbados.
In his address to the gathering, Berman spoke of Canada’s intentions to deepen ties with Guyana and for further assistance with COVID-19, which he noted Guyana has made strides in addressing.
“During this difficult time, as we all face the challenges associated with COVID, I congratulate Guyana on its efforts to tackle this pandemic. And I would reiterate a commitment made to Guyana and the wider Caricom region, to assist in the response to the pandemic to the extent possible,” he said.
Berman also referred to the recent launch of the Canada-Guyana Chamber of Commerce and pledged that he would play his part in advocating for Canadians to invest locally. Additionally, the diplomat said that support from Canada will continue in other, non-economic areas.
“You can continue to count on the High Commissioner to support Guyana in the development priorities, working in areas such as Private Sector development, strengthening the Judiciary, promoting gender equality, supporting indigenous peoples and other areas as you continue your rapid economic growth,” he said.
“Canada remains committed to Guyana’s development. In trade, Canada and Guyana has experienced a long and successful history especially in the mining sector… with the recent launch of the Canada-Guyana Chamber of Commerce, trade between our two countries will no doubt increase as both Canadian and Guyana businesses will further work together.”
Meanwhile, President Ali lauded the Canadians for the support they have given and continue to give to Guyana. In accepting the Letters of Credence, President Ali reiterated his appreciation for the unwavering stance which Canada took in defence of Guyana’s democracy and its support for the county’s development. He noted that the two countries share a history of cooperation which has intensified since the establishment of diplomatic relations.
The President said that the countries’ shared respect for democracy, human rights, the rule of law, the promotion of sustainable development, each other’s territorial integrity, and the peaceful resolution of controversies have provided a firm foundation for bilateral relations.
“On behalf of the Government and people of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, I express our gratitude for Canada’s continued support for the peaceful resolution of the border controversy between Guyana and Venezuela that is now before the International Court of Justice (ICJ),” President Ali said.
President Ali noted too that with Guyana on the cusp of major economic transformation, new opportunities for mutually beneficial partnerships are arising, which is exemplified by the recent establishment of the Canada-Guyana Chambers of Commerce.
“This reciprocal initiative paves the way for greater trade ties between our states as is evident with the presence of major Canadian companies operating in Guyana. Guyanese-owned businesses are partnering with Canadian companies. I welcome your own commitment to facilitate the contributions of Guyanese Canadians to Guyana’s development.”
High Commissioner Berman formerly worked as the Director General for Global Affairs Canada. He will also serve as Canada’s representative to Caricom. The High Commissioner was accompanied by his wife Allison Berman along with staff of the High Commission.