[www.inewsguyana.com] – Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, on January 15 paid a two- day visit to Guatemala at the invitation of her counterpart, Minister of Foreign Affairs Luis Fernando Carrera Castro.
Rodrigues-Birkett had discussions with Minister Carrera and also met with officials in the tourism, sugar and handicraft sectors.
Minister Rodrigues-Birkett met with the President of the Sugar Association of Guatemala Mr Fraterno Vila who expressed a keen interest in working with Guyana in the sugar sector. Himself, a private miller and farmer, Mr. Vila has more than 35 years’ experience in sugar and owns one of the most efficient and productive companies in the sugar sector.
He guided Minister Rodrigues-Birkett on a tour of his operations. Guatemala is ranked as the fourth largest sugar exporter in the world and third in terms of efficiency and productivity. Guyana will continue to engage Guatemala in cooperation in this sector.
Guatemala also boasts a developed handicraft industry which is closely linked to the tourism sector. At a meeting with officials from these two sectors, assistance was offered to Guyanese women in particular as Guyana seeks to develop its handicraft industry.
Guyana and Guatemala established diplomatic relations in 1992 but bilateral relations have not been very active. In an effort to strengthen these relations Minister Rodrigues-Birkett had invited Minister Carrera to Guyana and he paid a working visit in August 2013.
During her visit, Minister Rodrigues-Birkett and Minister Carrera signed an Agreement on Political Consultations which would provide a mechanism for Guyana and Guatemala to develop coordinated positions on several matters as well as allow regular exchanges on issues of common interest on the regional and international agendas.
Minister Rodrigues-Birkett was accompanied by Mr Jevon Rodrigues, Foreign Service Officer II in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.