[www.inewsguyana.com] – President David Granger on Monday, June 29 met with Commonwealth Secretary General, Mr Kamalesh Sharma and delegation, during which discussions were held on the strengthening of the Commonwealth’s partnership with Guyana.
The delegation included, Mr. Simon Gimson, Director of the Secretary General’s Office, Mr. Albert Mariner, Head of Caribbean/Pacific Political Division, and Ms. Natricia Duncan, Communication Officer. Minister of Social Cohesion Ms. Amna Ally was also present at the meeting held at the Ministry of the Presidency.
The Secretary General said his meeting with the Guyanese Head of State saw him being advised on areas in which the organisation and Guyana can collaborate, to strengthen the work of the Commonwealth.
Mr. Sharma added that already Guyana, and the Commonwealth are working in many areas, including governance, trade, financial services, and elections, all of which the Commonwealth is happy to build on.
During the meeting also the President was briefed on the substance and theme of the next Commonwealth summit.
“It is going to be a summit of Commonwealth Heads, with a particular focus on small states, the contribution which Commonwealth can make to small states, in diverse areas, of debt, trade, climate change, technical collaboration, advocacy, creating bodies, and institutions.”
Going forward, the Secretary General stated that there is now a larger area which is “happily” being covered by the Commonwealth. The next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will be held in Malta, from November 27 to 29 this year. Heads welcomed the offer of Malta to host CHOGM when they met in Sri Lanka in 2013.
Meetings will take place at a number of historical venues around Malta, while the Heads of Government retreat would be held at Fort St. Angelo, situated in Vittoriosa. CHOGM is held every two years, and is the Commonwealth’s highest consultative and policy-making body.
Mr Sharma is on a three-day visit to Guyana during which he is expected to pay courtesy calls on a number of top government officials including Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo.
Meanwhile the Secretary General reiterated that the Commonwealth stands in solidarity with Guyana with regards Venezuela’s maritime claim, and the matter will be deliberated upon further at an upcoming meeting with Foreign Ministers in New York.
In a statement issued on Saturday, Mr. Sharma stated that “the Commonwealth stands as one and speaks with one voice in our commitment to Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We are an association of 53 member states worldwide accounting for one quarter of the United Nations membership. Commonwealth member governments, individually and collectively, are also committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes and to the rule of law.” [Extracted and modified from GINA]