The EU will be establishing a full-fledged embassy in Guyana, the functions of which would include the issuance of Schengen visas, so that Guyanese would no longer have to travel to Suriname or Trinidad to obtain those visas. In May, the globally recognized brand of P.F Chang, an Asian culinary giant that is popular in the USA, will open up its first Caribbean location in Georgetown. These are examples of Guyana’s growing international prestige. In the meanwhile, the US Ambassador has declared that everyone can see transformation occurring “in front of their eyes”.
Not so long ago, Guyana was Caricom’s “basket case”, a HIPC country, one of the most indebted countries in the world. Not so long ago, it was one of the countries with the highest poverty rates. But now Guyana is a global powerhouse. With our global presence and recognition, in proverbial terms, Guyana is punching far above its weight class.
On Sunday, one of the most influential, powerful and admired former Presidents of America, President Bill Clinton, arrived in Guyana. Beside meeting with President Irfaan Ali, VP Bharrat Jagdeo and other Government officials, President Bill Clinton will also be the keynote speaker at the United Caribbean Forum, an investment forum organized by the Government of the Dominican Republic. He will be only the second president from America to ever visit Guyana, the first being President Jimmy Carter.
Last week, days before President Clinton landed in Guyana, the head of the American Central Intelligence Agency was in Guyana to hold talks with President Irfaan Ali, VP Bharrat Jagdeo, and other Government officials. Many other high-level American Government officials have been in Guyana over the last few months. Such high-level visits by American Government officials have become commonplace. The attention Guyana has garnered from America underlines its growing prestige and importance in the world.
Days before President Bill Clinton arrived in Guyana, the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, one of the most powerful British Prime Ministers ever, also came to visit. It was in fact Tony Blair’s second visit to Guyana. Tony Blair is the first ever British Prime Minister to have visited Guyana. His visit is only one of the visits by high officials of the British Government that have become commonplace in Guyana. Visits from high officials of Canada and of developed countries in Europe have also become commonplace. Visits by heads of states in Caricom, from non-Caricom Caribbean States, from South and Central America, and from Africa are testimony that Guyana is now a global powerhouse.
Guyana has not become a global powerhouse because of a powerful army. That Guyana has been the fastest-growing economy over the last three years, and is on a trajectory of double-digit growth for several more years are NOT the only reasons for Guyana’s growing influence and prestige, and for Guyana earning its powerhouse status. The world was already intrigued by Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), which was first introduced in 2010 under President Bharrat Jagdeo.
The LCDS has become one of the most influential models for forest preservation, the development of a carbon credit market, and in the fight against global warming and climate change. Guyana is now the only country that has been formally certified with carbon credit resources, and has already sold 30% of its first installment for US$750M. The country has just this month secured certification for airline carbon credits, which now means that airlines can begin to procure carbon credits from Guyana. The whole world is watching with excitement at how Guyana has turned its forests into one of the world’s most exciting climate change-linked industries.
Guyana this year became a member of the exclusive UN Security Council, which is made up of 15 members only. Guyana is not the first-ever developing or Caricom country to become a member of the UN Security Council but, clearly, Guyana is one of the non-permanent members of the council that appeared to be making a mark. Not only has it been influential in the discussion on Gaza, but the Council recently held a special session on Global Food Security at which President Irfaan Ali was the keynote speaker. And Guyana is demonstrating that it is bold and confident enough to take independent positions. When Guyana abstained from the vote on the American Resolution for a ceasefire in Gaza, Guyana rebuked America for a wishy-washy resolution that did not demand an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza war, and for not having the courage to tell Israel it is committing genocide in Gaza. In addition, no President of the UN Security Council from a developing country has ever served with as much distinction as Guyana’s Ambassador to the UN, Carolyn Rodrigues.
President Ali’s global crusade for global food security; push for self-sufficiency in food supply in Caricom; leadership in pushing Caricom to take responsibility for Haiti; push for Caricom to strengthen relationship with Africa, the Middle East, India, China, and the rest of Asia; and his push for greater solidarity and cooperation with South American and Central American countries have made him a global influential leader.
Much of Guyana’s prestige and powerhouse status has to do with President Irfaan Ali’s and VP Bharrat Jagdeo’s leadership. As President of Guyana, Dr. Irfaan Ali has been an influential figure at home and internationally, bringing his leadership skills to garner confidence in Guyana and exert influence internationally.
As General Secretary of the governing PPP and as Vice President of Guyana, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo continues to inspire the Guyanese people and to be one of the most admired politicians that have ever come out of Guyana and the Caribbean.
Last week, the Ambassador of the Dominican Republic posited that Guyana has become a possible model for development, and that other countries are already watching Guyana closely. It is astonishing that while a small group of naysayers in Guyana keep drumming the message of gloom and doom, almost the whole of the rest of Guyana and the whole world are excited about developments in Guyana.