Gov’t holds first bilateral consultation with Canada, closer cooperation expected

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The Irfaan Ali-led government held its first bilateral consultation with officials of the Canadian government earlier this week on a range of shared priority issues including COVID-19.

The consultation was done virtually on Monday, April 12, 2021, and included senior officials from Global Affairs Canada and Guyana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, a press release from the Foreign Ministry noted on Tuesday.

The consultations were held following several high-level meetings, which include the first Canada-CARICOM Foreign Ministers’ Group Meeting in February; a teleconference between Canadian Foreign Minister, Marc Garneau, and Guyanese Foreign Minister, Hugh Todd, and discussions between the Canadian High Commissioner, Mark Berman, the President and members of his Cabinet.

Foreign Secretary, Robert Persaud

According to the release, the consultations provided an opportunity to build on issues discussed at these high-level meetings for culminating in a ‘Roadmap’ that would identify concrete steps to move forward.

The key topics on the agenda included COVID-19 and an inclusive green economic recovery, trade and commercial engagements and regional and global issues including CARICOM and Venezuela, as well as the issue of climate change.  Both delegations included ‘subject level’ experts that provided detailed information on the issues identified.

At the end of the discussions, both parties agreed to future meetings for updates and decisions on how to advance the work in the areas of collaboration that were discussed, with a view to achieving mutual benefit.

The team from Canada was led by Sylvia Cesaratto, Director General for Central America and the Caribbean and discussions from Guyana were led by Ambassador Elisabeth Harper, Permanent Secretary of Guyana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Foreign Secretary, Robert Persaud.

Ambassador Elisabeth Harper, Permanent Secretary of Guyana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

Also present at the meeting from Canada were Mark Berman, High Commissioner of Canada to Guyana and Chargé d’affaires Marsha Caddett from the Guyana High Commission in Ottawa, in addition to Peter Ramsaroop, Chief Investment Officer for Go-Invest, and several other officials of the Government of Guyana and the Government of Canada.

In recent weeks, Canada’s High Commissioner to Guyana had also met with other senior Guyana Government officials, including the Minister of Finance, the Attorney General and the Minister of Tourism Industry and Commerce as Canada and Guyana continue dialogue in key areas to broaden their relationship.

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