Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d), Mark Phillips reiterated Guyana’s support for CELAC Member States while addressing issues of inequality and marginalisation.
During his address at the 7th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Prime Minister also spoke about finding solutions to ensure the sustainable and resilient development of people across the Region.
“Let me reiterate the continued commitment of the Government of Guyana to this regional integration process and to the efforts towards the attainment of sustained economic advancement and growth of our respective states and the region as a whole.”
Prime Minister Phillips added that “cooperation and unity” were necessary to advance growth and development in the region.
“It is important for the citizens of the region to enjoy peace, security and fundamental freedoms. This will be essential for democracy to flourish. Guyana remains committed to the common principles of democracy, good governance, respect for the rule of law and the protection of sovereignty and territorial integrity of States. These are critical elements to the maintenance of peace and security across our Region.”
The Prime Minister said that as the world begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and all of its socioeconomic effects, it is crucial to keep in mind that “our survival as a Region demands a collective response through a comprehensive programme of action.”
He noted that CELAC provides the opportunity for “us to strengthen these partnerships not only within the region but through third-party engagements.”
He added that climate change, food security, and managing debt remain priority issues to be collectively handled.
Speaking on climate change, he said the crisis has worsened, with Small Island and Low-Lying Coastal Developing States like Guyana being particularly affected.
“It is imperative that a balanced and commensurate global response, addressing mitigation, adaptation and loss and damage, be realised; our very lives depend on it.”
Guyana, he explained, has adopted a Low Carbon Development Strategy, which aims to combat climate change; emphasise services provided by forests and other ecosystems; promote future growth through clean energy and sustainable economic activities; and align economic and social policies with global climate goals.
Food security measures were also highlighted along with CARICOM’s drive to reduce its food import bill by 25% by 2025.
The Prime Minister had also signalled Guyana’s support for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, prior to them winning CELAC’s rotating presidency for 2023.
The islands were the first of the English-speaking Caribbean to present their candidature for this position.
THE SEVENTH SUMMIT OF CELAC
On Tuesday, representatives from 33 member states signed and released the “Buenos Aires Declaration” (CELAC).
The Declaration emphasises CELAC member states’ commitment to collaborate in order to safeguard the rights and interests of the regional populace and to accelerate the process of regional integration.
It called for the end of the US blockade against Cuba. The CELAC countries also expressed their support for dialogue between the Venezuelan government led by President Nicolas Maduro and the political opposition.
The Buenos Aires declaration also endorsed Argentina’s legitimate rights to the Falkland Islands, which are currently listed as a United Kingdom Overseas Territory.