Commonwealth has much to offer
-- Queen in Commonwealth Day message

Guyana Chronicle
March 11, 2003

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HEAD of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth, has said in her Commonwealth Day message that the grouping has much to offer.

Her message was delivered on Commonwealth Day observed in all member countries yesterday.

Here is the text of The Queen's message:

"Among my cherished memories of my Jubilee celebrations last year were those connected with the Commonwealth - in particular the visits to Jamaica, New Zealand, Australia and Canada.

There was also the undoubted success of the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester - both as a great sporting and Commonwealth occasion, and as a tremendous expression of the host city's community spirit.

Launching the Baton Relay from Buckingham Palace on Commonwealth Day last year was one of the many colourful events leading up to the Games.

A few days before, I had opened the 2002 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Coolum, Australia.

That summit charted a new course for the Commonwealth, confident of the important contribution the association can play as a force for good in the world.

What we have in common makes the choice of this year's theme for Commonwealth Day, 'Partners in Development', so fitting.

We are reminded daily that we live in an interdependent world. And yet there exist great global inequalities, with millions living lives of deep poverty and deprivation, which present a great and constant challenge to the notion of commonwealth.

Under these conditions, peace is often more difficult to sustain while precious natural resources and the environment are threatened, economic growth and activity may be impeded as well as the benefits of modern technology denied to many.

Working in a partnership is essential if the nations of the earth, whether they be developed or developing, are to build a better, more secure and more sustainable world.

Only together can governments and peoples create just, open and democratic societies.

And through a sense of partnership and mutual respect we should be able to recognise that we all share a common humanity, regardless of who we are or where we may be from.

In all this, the Commonwealth has much to offer. It is a unique global grouping, spanning every region of the world and including in its membership countries of all sizes and stages of development.

It is an association of peoples as well as governments and, as we particularly celebrated last year, it is a body which cherishes the richness of its diversity.

The special role of the Commonwealth in development was spelt out once again in the Coolum Declaration and at the meeting of Commonwealth Finance Ministers in London last September.

2002 was for me personally a special year - and it was also an opportunity to recall those elements of my life, notably the Commonwealth which have been of enduring importance.

Appreciating just how far the Commonwealth has developed in the last 50 years is surely a cause for great hope in the future."

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