Foreign Affairs Ministry in 2003
January 11, 2004
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In Government's quest to strengthen Guyana's bilateral relations with countries both near and far, several activities ensued.
Strengthening Southern Relations
* On January 1, Prime Minister, Hon. Samuel Hinds attended the inauguration ceremony of Brazil's newly elected President, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva.
* On January 30, the Hon. Minister of Works and Hydraulics, Anthony Xavier, led a four-member delegation to Boa Vista for the formal opening of the Honorary Consulate of Brazil in Boa Vista.
* On July 30, His Excellency, President Bharrat Jagdeo paid a working visit to Brazil, during which a wide range of issues were discussed and several agreements met. These included:
* The strengthening of communication links, the completion of the bridge across the Takutu River, and trade and investment opportunities and
* A reciprocal agreement on the Partial Abolition of visas and an agreement on Data Base Management and Dairy Cattle Production.
* In October, President Jagdeo paid a visit to the State of Roraima, as a follow-up to this earlier visit to Brazil. During that visit, discussions focused on Guyana/Brazil cooperation in the agriculture sector.
* In November, the President attended the International Conference on the `Millennium Development Goals' which was held in Brazil. In addition, during 2003, Guyana commenced negotiations with Brazil, on a bilateral Extradition Treaty.
Relations with Venezuela
* In April, Venezuela's Minister of External Relations, H.E. Roy Chaderton Matos, visited Guyana, and held discussions on a number of areas, including fisheries, consular matters, health, culture, trade and investment. That visit was seen as an impetus to relations between Guyana and Venezuela.
* In September, the second meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Group on Guyana was convened in New York. The group expressed its support for the Government and people of Guyana in the maintenance of their territorial integrity and sovereignty.
* In November, the second meeting of the Guyana/Venezuela Technical Committee to discuss the proposed road link between the two countries was convened in Georgetown.
* In 2003, Guyana continued to engage Venezuela in discussions aimed at accessing petroleum under the Caracas Energy Cooperation Agreement signed in December 2001.
* During 2003, Joint Meetings of the Border Commissions of Guyana and Suriname continued to be the main framework within which discussions were held between the two countries. The Fifth Joint Meeting was held on March 10, 2003.
* Suriname's renewed efforts to claim the New River Triangle continued to be protested by Guyana and with relation to fishing issues, officials of the two sides met to discuss the issuance of licences, access for Guyanese fishermen to the Suriname fishing area, and the landing of the catch.
* In November 2003, Guyana opened a Consulate in Nickerie, which is headed by a Consul General.
* The ongoing problems faced by Guyanese in their attempt to visit Barbados, saw the sealing of an agreement between the Guyanese and Barbadian Governments, for the secondment of local immigration officers to Barbados, to view that country's immigration procedures.
* During the month of April, Guyana represented CARICOM on the Rio Group, at meetings on `Governmental Experts' and `Ministers of Foreign Affairs'. Both meetings were held in Trujillo, Peru, and were attended by Guyana's Ambassador to Brazil, H.E. Cheryl Miles.
* On August 14, 2003, H.E. Roland Bullen presented his credentials to H.E. President Jagdeo, as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Guyana.
* Guyana and the US advanced their negotiations for the conclusion of a Memorandum of Understanding to govern the procedures for Criminal Returns. It is expected that this Agreement will be concluded and signed early in 2004.
* On December 11, 2003, Guyana and the US signed a bilateral immunity agreement, which would govern the procedures for surrendering US nationals to the International Criminal Court.
* From January 7-8, 2003, Madame Wu Yi, State Councillor in the Government of the People's Republic of China visited Guyana. Cooperation agreements between Guyana and China were clinched for:
* The Construction of a Conference Centre
* A 20M RMB grant for Economic and Technical Cooperation
* The deputation of a table tennis coach, a martial arts coach and an interpreter
* Debt relief for Guyana for three loans
* From February 2-4, India's Minister of State for External Affairs, H.E. Mr. Digvijay Singh, paid a visit to Guyana.
* From March 27 - April 2, President Jagdeo paid a reciprocal visit to the People's Republic of China. During that visit, a friendship cooperation agreement was signed between the cities of Georgetown and Fujian, the capital city of the Fuzhou province.
* From August 24-29, H.E. President Bharrat Jagdeo paid a State visit to India. India extended to Guyana a concessional Line of Credit of US $25.2M for the modernisation of three sugar estates. In addition, agreements were signed for a Cultural and Education Exchange Programme respectively, and for India's waiving of the outstanding balance from the first credit line extended to Guyana in 1989.
African, European and Middle East Relations
* In March, a South African fact-finding mission was made to Guyana, by a team that sought to explore areas of bilateral cooperation
* From May 14-16, H.E the President paid an official visit to Russia to attend a Forum for Graduates of Russian Institutions of Higher Learning.
International Crime Fight
* From October 6-8, the acting Commissioner of Police, Floyd Mc Donald, represented the Guyana Government at the first Inter-American Meeting on Mechanisms for Cooperation to Combat Organised Crime. The meeting was held in Mexico City.
* From November 17-20, the Hon. Minister of Home Affairs, Ronald Gajraj represented Government at the XXX15 Regular Session of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) held in Montreal, Canada.
Regional & International Cooperation Agendas
* In March 2003, the sod was turned for the reconstruction of the New Amsterdam Hospital under the Japanese Grant Aid.
* The Eighth Meeting of the Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) was held in Suriname, from April 26-28. Issues discussed included Caribbean Youth Development, Development through Sport, and CARICOM Youth Ambassadors Programme.
* The Sixth Meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) was held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines from May 8-9. The International Criminal Court was inaugurated in March, and Trinidadian Justice Karl-Hudson Phillips, QC was one of the judges installed.
* The 24th meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community was held in Montego Bay, Jamaica from July 2-5.
* The Government of Guyana was represented at the 7th Intercessory Preparatory Meeting of the Ministerial Council of the Association of Caribbean States
* The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was engaged in preparations for and coordinated national involvement in the 58th Session of the United Nation's General Assembly in September-December. Guyana's delegation was headed by H.E the President.
Protocol and Consular Affairs
In 2003, several persons were appointed to serve as Honorary Consuls for Guyana:
* Robert Reis - Antigua and Barbuda, Ramzan Roshanah Ali - Florida, and Ernie Ross - Trinidad and Tobago.
* Geoffrey Brian James and Christopher Fernandes were appointed to serve as Honorary Consuls in the Republic of Korea and the Federative Republic of Germany respectively, on behalf of Foreign Governments in Guyana.
In 2003 also, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs continued to pay special attention to human rights. UN Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, Doudou Diene visited Guyana from July 14-21. Diene's findings will be presented to the UN Commission on Human Rights in March 2004.
By the close of 2003, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs processed 172 applications for remigration status, and continues to push for capacity building within the Ministry towards achieving its mandate.