President Ali’s overseas visits ‘carefully’ crafted, benefitting the people – Foreign Minister
Guyana’s foreign policy is being advanced and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Hugh Todd on Monday told the National Assembly that the overseas visits by President Dr Irfaan Ali have redound to the benefit of the economy and citizens.
In his presentation during the first day of the 2024 Budget Debates, Todd said all overseas travel undertaken by President Ali is “carefully” crafted to ensure that the citizens of the country will benefit.
Since assuming office in 2020, President Ali has undertaken several bilateral visits, regionally and internationally, to enhance the country’s foreign policy agenda.
Through these visits, Todd said advancements were recorded across the various sectors including climate, food and energy.
From August 2020 to May 2023, more than $56 million was expended by the Government to finance overseas visits for President Ali and Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo.
Of the sum, over $35M was spent on overseas trips undertaken by the President.
In a document circulated in the National Assembly in December last, in response to a question asked by the Opposition, it was revealed that President Ali had 24 overseas trips.
The visits include the Caribbean Community Heads of Government meetings, energy conferences in Trinidad and Tobago, and investment forums in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
And coming out of these trips, the document highlighted that trade and bilateral relations were also bolstered with countries such as Canada, Saudi Arabia, and China.
Todd told the National Assembly that more than 40 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs), agreements and roadmaps were signed with countries across the world.
“Every time the President leaves Guyana we are bringing benefits to the people and that is how we do it. We are building a strong and resilient economy. We are able to travel and represent Guyana in the international forum on all of the issues,” Todd told the National Assembly.
Todd said 44 accreditations were granted across the global environment.
This, Todd said, speaks of the volume of other countries’ interest in engaging Guyana.
“Whether it is political dialogue, economic cooperation, people-to-people exchange, we have been very busy working in the interest of the people,” Todd said.
Altogether, Todd said the efforts are geared at strengthening the country’s bilateral targets, removing trade and economic barriers while enhancing the image and presence of the country and people on the world stage.
Additionally, Todd said under the Ministry’s development of foreign policy agenda, 93 percent of the Foreign Service officers have been trained in 89 programs so far.