Guyana/Venezuela controversy top of the agenda at Commonwealth Conference

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President David Granger speaking with the Guyanese press corps in Malta
President David Granger speaking with the Guyanese press corps in Malta

[www.inewsguyana.com] – President David Granger, who is in Malta for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference, will be pushing a number of global issues that are important to Guyana, including the controversy with Venezuela.

Speaking with the Guyana press corps covering the conference, the President said the border controversy is at the top of the agenda for the Guyana delegation.

“Over the last 30 years, the Commonwealth has been one of the strongest voices in the international community on the rights of small states, not only in terms of the environment, but in terms of security and economic vulnerability,” the President said.

He noted that the Commonwealth Heads Conference is the best forum Guyana could have hoped for to advance its case as the 53 – member grouping has many small states, particularly in the Pacific and Caribbean.

Guyana’s Foreign Minister Carl Greenidgein discussions with the Rt Hon Hugo Swire, Minister of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, in Malta. Also in photo is Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Guyana, Ambassador Audrey Waddell.
Guyana’s Foreign Minister Carl Greenidgein discussions with the Rt Hon Hugo Swire, Minister of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, in Malta. Also in photo is Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Guyana, Ambassador Audrey Waddell.

“This is a very important forum for us,” the Guyanese Head of State said. Noting that the conference would also address climate change, the President said, Guyana will also be using the opportunity to seek financial support for the Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development.

He noted that Iwokrama has a global laboratory for ecology and the global environment, and it has been on the agenda of previous conferences. According to President Granger, Iwokrama cannot survive or achieve the objectives it set itself 20 years ago without foreign financing.

“It is an international scheme and it is an international obligation to fund that scheme,” he said.

President David Granger and Guyana’s Foreign Minister Carl Greenidge at the Radisson Golden Sands
President David Granger and Guyana’s Foreign Minister Carl Greenidge at the Radisson Golden Sands

He acknowledged that the global financial situation has affected funding of Iwokrama. In 1995, Guyana gifted to the world the 371,000 hectares of rainforest for study and research.

According to President Granger, Guyana would focus not only on Iwokrama but, on the whole idea of a low carbon development strategy and other aspects of climate change.

The Heads of Government Conference opens on Friday, November 27 under the theme, “Adding Global Value.” It will address issues such as climate change, building resilience in small states, trade and sustainable development, the empowerment of youth, gender equality and human rights.

The Guyana delegation also includes Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge. [Extracted and modified from GINA]

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