Major tangible outcomes for Guyana from Pres. Ali’s visit to Washington – Dr. Singh
As President Irfaan Ali prepares to wrap up day two of his visit to Washington DC, Guyanese at home and abroad are being assured of exciting and direct outcomes and benefits for the country and a stronger relationship with the government and people of the United States of America.
So says Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh who indicated that very significant tangible benefits will be emerging from the visit, not only from the meetings that have already been held but also from meetings slated for tomorrow and beyond. Without wishing to preempt the meetings that are still to be held, Minister Singh hinted at major developments and announcements expected to emerge from these meetings.
Already, Dr Irfaan Ali has met several top government officials, including Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves, and participated in events with global and hemispheric think tanks at the Wilson Center and Atlantic Council.
The President’s engagements and that of his delegation, which includes Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hugh Todd, go way beyond this. The visit provides an important opportunity to follow up on commitments made at the recently concluded Summit of the Americas and areas identified in the shared strategic relationship for attention during President Ali’s recent engagement with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Even though the President wears a regional and hemisphere hat when representing issues on which Guyana is providing global leadership, the visit also has a very strong bilateral dimension as well.
It is against this backdrop that Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh expressed strong optimism about the immediate and longer-term outcomes expected to emerge from the visit. “I’m incredibly excited about the outcomes that I know will be emerging from this visit, including from some of the meetings that are yet to come,” Dr. Singh told the News Room on Tuesday even as the President was speaking at the Wilson Center on domestic policies and how they complement global targets in the areas of climate change and food and energy security.
Dr. Singh said more high-level meetings and engagements are still to happen later this week.
“I don’t want to pre-empt the meetings yet to happen but I assure you, there are going to be very significant, demonstrable and tangible outcomes.”
“This is a visit of the highest level of strategic importance in relation to the interests that Guyana shares with the U.S, and Guyana is confident that these shared interests will be advanced by the discussions currently taking place in Washington DC,” Dr. Singh added.
To this end, he turned his attention to what he described as “fringe elements” and “usual naysayers” seeking to understate the importance of and trivialise the visit.
Dr. Singh said the visit had long been planned, with those efforts starting shortly after Dr. Ali became President in August 2020. As a consequence, the Finance Minister said those making spurious claims about the visit are demonstrating their lack of familiarity with the nature of relationships between friendly sovereign states.
Dr. Singh said the visit also comes at a time when the relationship between Guyana and the United States is at its strongest ever, even as he reminded of the U.S involvement in fighting for democracy when the APNU+AFC refused to give up power after the 2020 election where it suffered a defeat and only demitted office following sanctions from the United States.
“One has to contextualize the commentary now being made by the fringe element within the reality that that fringe element comprises persons associated with a rogue APNU/AFC administration that refused to accept the results of the 2020 elections, and who only demitted office after being publicly threatened with sanctions by the US administration” he added.
Apart from the bilateral agenda, President Ali continues Guyana’s leadership on hemispheric issues such as climate change, food security, energy security and financing for development.
Asked for specifics on the bilateral value of the visit, Dr, Singh “I could, but would not want to, be more specific at this time because there are important meetings that are yet to happen, and it would be inappropriate for me to pre-empt the outcome of those meetings.”
Dr. Singh reiterated, however, that the United States is a highly cherished and much-valued partner to Guyana and that the bilateral relationship is of tremendous strategic importance.