Media Center



January 23, 2020 - Washington, DC

Distinguished Colleagues and Friends,

Thank you all for attending this handing-over ceremony. Please allow me to express sincere appreciation to the outgoing Chair, Ambassador Rita Claverie de Sciolli, Permanent Representative of Guatemala, for her effective and charming leadership in helping to advance the hemisphere’s development agenda.

I wish, at the outset, to pledge to you my commitment and that of my Delegation to the promotion of the work of CIDI.

In this respect, we are particularly mindful of Chapter VII of the OAS Charter which, in its 23 Articles, places Integral Development squarely at the centre of the hemispheric agenda and highlights inter-American cooperation, as “the common and joint responsibility” of Member States.

Distinguished Colleagues,

Guyana’s assumption of the Chair comes at an important juncture in our history. We celebrate 50 years as a Republic, on February 23, 2020, and with the country on the verge of a massive economic and social transformation, this is a time of reflection nationwide on the renewal of efforts to build a more prosperous and equitable country.

I have the honour to inform you that, earlier this month, His Excellency President David Granger declared that the year 2020 marks the beginning of a Decade of Development, which will accelerate the country’s four transformative processes – “the green state, the digital state, the petroleum state and an education nation”.

Even as Guyana became, on December 20 last, a petroleum producing nation, the country is being placed on the path towards sustainable development, through the sustainable exploitation of our natural resources, the creation of a diversified economic base, a focus on our traditional strength, agriculture, and the protection and proper management of the environment. This, we hope to achieve, through the “Green State Development Strategy: Vision 2040”, a twenty-year, national development policy for a green Guyana, centred on principles of a green economy defined by low-carbon and resilient development through the efficient use of resources, sustained over generations.

I believe that there is a strong convergence between Guyana’s own development thrust and the programmatic outlook of CIDI.

Our proposed priority themes are therefore intended to build on the work of CIDI and the direction taken by the outgoing Chair, Ambassador Rita Claverie Díaz de Sciolli. They are as follows:
• Quality and Equitable Education for the Americas;

• Economic competitiveness and social security for vulnerable groups in the Americas;

• Sustainable development and renewable energy for the transformation of the Americas; in this respect, we look forward to a successful ECPA in Jamaica, in late February;

• Bridging the technological gap through ICT; and

• Resilience to natural disasters and climate smart solutions to combat climate change in the Hemisphere, which I understand will be closely related to the central theme being proposed by The Bahamas for the next General Assembly.

We believe the above themes to be reflective of the interests of all Member States, in particular the small states of the Caribbean and Central America. Their successful advancement will provide continuity and add value and support to CIDI’s commitment to promote cooperation among Member States for the purpose of achieving integral development and helping to alleviate extreme poverty.

I believe that we have an excellent opportunity to advance the work programme of CIDI, through dialogue and consensus-building, for the benefit of all member states, in areas of convergence between Guyana’s own development priorities and those of CIDI. I wish to assure you that during Guyana’s chairmanship, a collective approach will be taken to addressing the challenges before us.

My Delegation and I look forward to working with you all and with Executive Secretary Kim Osborne and her Secretariat, with the Secretary General, Assistant Secretary General and the General Secretariat as a whole, over the next six months, on issues that profoundly affect the lives of the peoples of the Americas, in fulfilment of their aspirations for inclusive and sustainable economic, social and human development.

I thank you for your kind attention.