EU Ambassador pledges support for ‘One Guyana’ during Europe Day celebrations
As the European Union (EU) celebrated its more than 70-year ambitious pact to secure long-term peace and protect democracy and the rule of law among its member states, EU Ambassador to Guyana Fernando Ponz Cantó has committed support to build “One Guyana.”
The Head of the European Delegation here made the statement during a reception to commemorate Europe Day and the 50th anniversary of the EU’s presence in Guyana at Black Magenta (Georgetown Club) on Monday.
Europe Day commemorates the signing of the ‘Schuman Declaration’ on May 9, 1950 to ensure a post-war Europe that is considered the beginning of what is now the European Union.
The EU Ambassador said he personally believes it is the greatest achievement of Europe to always ensure peace between its member states.
The Shuman Declaration is not restricted to protecting peace but contains other essential elements and principles such as solidarity, cooperation, respect for democracy and the rule of law.
“… and I am happy to say that we have been working hard also in Guyana to uphold those principles,” Cantó said as he also pledged support for stringer regional integration in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
He said just as the European Union has achieved unity in diversity and across divides to secure ‘One Europe’ so too will the EU support the building of a ‘One Guyana.’
The ‘One Guyana’ initiative is a vision of President Dr Irfaan Ali and has to do with creating a more equal society, guaranteeing that everyone is afforded the opportunity to lead productive and happy lives as well as reducing inequality in access to education, health, employment, income and justice.
“We want to have one Europe… we want also to support one Guyana,” the Ambassador added.
The diplomat became Head of the EU Delegation here in 2019 and now with the two sides celebrating 50 years of friendship, he has welcomed the expansion of relations into the full branch of cooperation and not just development cooperation.
The EU and Guyana now collaborate in every area “from political cooperation to trade to development cooperation to investment and of course culture,” the Ambassador added.
The EU Delegation was granted full diplomatic status in Guyana last year but the Ambassador said the two sides have achieved a lot together, particularly in relation to development, cooperation in sea defence and improving civil society.
“You can count on us to continue.
“We have the best ever relations between the EU and Guyana today, they were always good but now they are even better.
“We will keep working to uphold democracy, governance, the rule of law and help Guyana where it asks,” he said.
The reception was attended by several Cabinet Members led by Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, members of the Opposition including Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton and members of civil society.
Speaking on behalf of President Ali and Prime Minister Mark Phillips, Dr. Jagdeo said he welcomes the celebration that reminds him of its purpose which is peace and unity and the defeat of fascism.
He thanked the EU for the role it played to ensure freedom and democracy here and said the Ambassador was personally involved in ensuring democracy was not subverted during the 2020 elections.
“You need to know how integrally involved Fernando and many of the ambassadors were in the process here to ensure that our democratic values were maintained.”
“This is important to us because Fernando will be leaving soon,” Jagdeo said.