…says joint efforts will continue to contribute to regional stability
United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, in his first direct public statement on Guyana since his appointment under the President Joe Biden Administration, has extended best wishes to Guyana on its 55th Independence Day celebration while lauding the partnership between the two countries.
In his statement, Blinken congratulated Guyana on behalf of the Government of the United States for attaining its 55th Independence anniversary, celebrated on Wednesday. He moreover reiterated the value the US placed on its partnership with Guyana.
“The partnership between the United States and Guyana is rooted in our shared principles. We value our continued collaboration to strengthen Guyana’s democratic institutions and processes,” Blinken said.
“Guyana’s hosting of the annual Tradewinds joint exercises next month is a testament to our strong security partnership. Our joint efforts to combat narcotics and illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing will continue to contribute to regional stability and cooperation.”
According to Blinken, the United States also values the shared commitment between the two countries to address climate change. According to him, the US remains hopeful that the two countries can work together to increase investments in renewable energy.
“As you celebrate this joyous occasion with family and friends, we join you in recognising this Independence Day celebration,” the Secretary of State said in his Independence Day message to Guyana.
Earlier this year, the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Coast Guard and the United States Coast Guard had commenced the first of a series of joint exercises as part of the operationalisation of the Shiprider Agreement ratified by the two countries in 2020.
This exercise took place off the coast of Guyana and focused mainly on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. The activity was conducted in collaboration with the <<<US Coast Guard Cutter Stone>>>, which was at the time in the Region for a multi-country tour.
In September, Blinken’s predecessor, Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, had visited Guyana and signed a maritime patrol pact with officials in Guyana to guard against narcotics and other regional security threats.
President Dr Irfaan Ali had explained that the maritime pact would see joint patrols to interdict narcotics trafficking. The President had also noted that it would allow for the improvement of technical and human capabilities in monitoring Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
That move, he had noted, would augur well for stronger collaboration and broader technical assistance to help combat both domestic and transnational organised criminal networks.
Meanwhile, the Tradewinds exercise is scheduled to be conducted next month. It is a multinational, Caribbean security exercise that is sponsored by the US Southern Command. The US Embassy in Guyana had announced in a statement in April that the exercise would occur at locations in Guyana.
“All training locations provide opportunities to conduct joint, combined, and interagency partner nation capacity building focused on increasing regional cooperation in complex multinational security operations, as well as in humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations,” the statement had said.
“This year’s exercise will include participation by officials and senior leadership of Caricom and its functional sub-agencies, many of whom are participating in this week’s planning conference. The strong relationships forged during Tradewinds through the exchange of knowledge and expertise are key to maintaining regional security and prosperity throughout the Caribbean,” the statement added. (First published in the Guyana Times)