…as State Dept official reaffirms commitment to supporting defence modernisation

Guyana came in for praise from the United States on its international and regional leadership on climate change and food security, as well as commitments for deepened commercial ties and defence modernisation support.
On Tuesday, Foreign Secretary Robert Persaud hosted a virtual strategic dialogue with US officials from the State Department. Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the United States National Security Council (USNSC), Daniel Erikson, spoke about the strength of relations between the United States and Guyana.

Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the United States National Security Council (USNSC), Daniel Erikson; Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Brian Nichols and another senior member of the US delegation during the virtual meeting with Guyanese Foreign Ministry officials

“Your leadership in the Caribbean Community is well recognised and your current role on the United Nations Security Council is a testament to the growing stature and influence of Guyana… in the area of climate, your areas through the Low Carbon Development Strategy 2030, clean resilient growth will go a long way to alleviating climate induced hazards.”

Foreign Secretary Robert Persaud, as he addressed the meeting

“The United States remains a steadfast partner in helping Guyana achieve low-carbon future. And we’re also appreciative of your leadership on food security in this region, to include our work together on the youth Caribbean partnership to address the climate crisis,” Erickson said.
Praise also came Guyana’s way from Erickson when it comes to the leadership displayed in Haiti’s rebuilding efforts, after the country was rocked by weeks of gang violence this year. According to him, Guyana has been instrumental in leading the way for the Haitian transitional council and the multi-national security mission.
As then Caricom Chairman, President Dr Irfaan Ali has been instrumental in several agreements being reached between Caricom Heads and Haitian stakeholders, including for the establishment of a Transitional Council that would select a new interim Prime Minister.
Coming out of crucial talks among Caricom Heads in Jamaica on how to return Haiti to a state of normalcy, the regional bloc had announced that the Transitional Council would be established to guide Haiti towards elections and the restoration of order.
That council was established and in May, had named Garry Conille as the interim Prime Minister. He wasted little time in forming a new government that is currently in the process of returning some semblance to normalcy.

Commercial and defence ties
Meanwhile, Erickson also assured that the US remains committed to growing its commercial ties with Guyana and to further support Guyana’s efforts to modernise its defence capacity. One example in recent times has been Guyana’s use of American company Metal Shark to supply an Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV).
“The United States is well positioned to support Guyana, as you continue to expand your civilian defence institutions, whether through Karate training, our international military education training programmes or by assisting the modernisation efforts, the US can help Guyana improve your existing defence capabilities.”
For his part, Foreign Secretary Robert Persaud noted the strong ties between Guyana and the US. He expressed Guyana’s hopes to grow these ties and have many bilateral discussions with the United States at various levels.
“Recently, we have witnessed heightened interactions between Guyana and the United States at all levels. We hosted visits by Secretaries of State, members of Congress and other senior US government functionaries, as recent as last week.”
“President Ali has also visited the United States and met with members of Congress and senior government officials, during which fruitful discussions were held and which we intend to continue, not only in Washington DC, but also during the sidelines of the 79th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York this September,” he further said.
Also among the US delegation were Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Brian Nichols; Special Advisor to the US Vice President for the Western Hemisphere, Scott Winton; and other senior officials of the White House, the US State Department, the US National Security Council, the US Department of Energy, the US Department of Defence, and the US Department of Commerce
Bilateral ties between Guyana and the US have continued to expand across every facet, especially through trade relations, which have seen yet another year of exponential growth to now be over US$4 billion.
The US has long been Guyana’s largest trading partner, with accumulated trade of more than US$3.9 billion recorded in 2022. In fact, the US is ranked as Guyana’s number one export and import destination, with exports and imports pegged at some US$2.7 billion and US$1.2 billion respectively in 2022.
Moreover, in July 2023, it was reported that in the previous three years alone, the figure for foreign direct investment from the US in Guyana stood at US$4.2 billion. Currently, over 100 US-based companies are operating in Guyana, with US Ambassador to Guyana, Nicole Theriot, recently revealing that this number is growing every day across various sectors in the Guyanese economy. (G3)