Fmr US President Bill Clinton arrives in Guyana today for historic United Caribbean Forum

Former US President Bill Clinton

Guyana’s reputation as an investment destination is set to get a major boost with the visit of former United States President Bill Clinton, who arrives in Guyana today, ahead of his planned participation in an upcoming investment forum.

Guyana will be hosting the United Caribbean Forum on Tuesday at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, where there will be a panel discussion on local investment opportunities. The keynote speaker will be none other than the former President, who served two terms in the White House from 1993 to 2001.

During an interview with the media on Saturday, Dominican Republic Ambassador Ernesto Torres Pereyra explained what Clinton’s visit meant for Guyana. He noted that this visit puts Guyana firmly in the international spotlight.

“Actually, we’re very excited with the recent developments and the possibility, through the Chamber of Commerce, of bringing in former President William Jefferson Clinton, to Guyana. That shows that truly Guyana is in the focus of the international community for good reasons. So, we’re extremely excited,” he said.

The Ambassador explained that Clinton’s visit to Guyana was conceived by the former US President himself, who will arrive in Georgetown today. He noted that Clinton’s interest in visiting Guyana, coupled with plans from major players in the Dominican Republic’s Private Sector to visit Guyana, resulted in this initiative.

“I think the most important drivers of the whole process of development of this country, besides the Government which has had an incredible role, is the Private Sector. So, in the case of President Clinton, he has very close relationships with key players in the Private Sector of the Dominican Republic.

“And he expressed his desire to understand more about the process that has been taking place in Guyana… they decided to come together so they can also present that notion of the united Caribbean,” the Ambassador further explained.

Ambassador Pereyra also had high praise for the way the Government has gone about laying the foundation for Guyana to attract international investment. In particular, he acknowledged the work done by President Dr Irfaan Ali in this regard.

“President Ali has been preparing this country to embrace this economic transition while setting the foundation to face the imminent challenges that come with this process. And a forum like this one will enhance that vision.

“We’re using the experience from successful businessmen and also from very successful and prominent statesmen, combined, to showcase alternatives for this country; that is such an important process,” Ambassador Pereyra said.

Guyana has seen a flurry of high-profile visits. Only on Thursday, President Ali received a courtesy visit from the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the US, William J Burns, at State House.

Burns was accompanied by the US Ambassador to Guyana, Nicole Theriot. Other senior officials on the Guyana side who were present included Prime Minister, Retired Brigadier Mark Phillips; Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall; Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn; Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier Omar Khan; Police Commissioner (ag) Clifton Hicken; and Head of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU), James Singh.

Further, former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair arrived in Guyana on Friday. The former PM met with President Ali, and they held talks on the progress of collaborative works in the areas of health care, digitalisation, and food security.

Former PM Blair had visited Guyana last year to take part in the launch of the Sophia Point Rainforest Research Centre. While in Guyana, he had spoken positively of the way Guyana has been managing its oil success, contributing to the country becoming one of the world’s most exciting destinations.

The former PM had held a discussion with President Ali in the University of Guyana George Walcott Lecture Theatre, during which he had expressed optimism that Guyana would learn from the various examples of countries that have developed their oil and gas industries.