As Guyana prepares for early elections following a no-confidence vote last December, new US ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch, has stopped short of endorsing one.
Rather, the diplomat is urging free and fair elections.
“Moving forward, we will continue to encourage genuinely free and fair elections, freedom of speech and assembly, multiparty representation, and a constitutional judiciary process. We will emphasize the importance of citizen security and territorial integrity along your long-established borders. And we will encourage the protection of your natural resources and incredible biodiversity,” the envoy said yesterday.
Ambassador Lynch was presenting her credentials to President Granger, yesterday, at Office of the President. She said the U.S. is mindful of Guyana’s importance within the Caribbean Bloc, as a leader in economic growth and in combating organised crime.
The president said that Guyana would prefer non-interference in its internal affairs.
In his remarks, President Granger reminded that Guyana and the U.S. have enjoyed cordial relations for more than five decades in the areas of commerce, defence, the economy, energy, public health, public security and youth empowerment.
“Our relations are founded on mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, cooperation for mutual benefit, respect for treaties and international law, and the maintenance of regional peace and security,” President Granger said.
The Head of State said both countries share the values of respect for the rule of law and civil rights while noting that Guyana is committed to ensuring that the Caribbean and the South American continent remain a zone of peace.
“Peace in our region could be endangered by transnational threats such as trafficking in people, weapons and narcotics; money laundering; illegal migration; environmental hazards and territorial aggressions…
“Guyana is a small state. It is resolved, however, to defend its territory, dismantle transnational criminal networks and develop its natural resources for the benefit of its people. The capabilities of the criminal cartels could exceed those of small states such as Guyana. We must seek support, through partnerships with other states which have an interest in preserving the Caribbean and the South American Continent as a zone of peace,” said President Granger.
He said, too, that Guyana looks forward to the support of friendly states in its legitimate quest to protect itself against threats to its people, its economy and its territorial integrity and sovereignty.
“The preservation of regional peace and stability is vital to protecting our common interests. We welcome investment from foreign firms and will work towards ensuring a safe, stable and secure environment for investors,” said President Granger.
Additionally, the President noted that Guyana is moving towards the establishment of a ‘green state’ within the Guiana Shield of the South American continent.
“The ‘green state’ would emphasise the protection of our environment, the preservation of our biodiversity, the promotion of renewable energy and the adaption of practical measures to ensure climate adaptation,” President Granger said.
Ambassador Lynch, like President Granger, said Guyana and the U.S. have a long-standing partnership that has remained strong in the face of change. “Our shared values of democracy, human rights, and economic freedom keep this partnership rooted in mutual respect,” she said.
The newly accredited U.S. Ambassador said she is impressed by the history of collaboration and exchange between the two countries.
“Together we have blazed new trails in industry and commerce, fought to safeguard the local biodiversity, and made strides to improve the health and safety of all Guyanese.
“As Ambassador, not only will I continue the work of my predecessors, I will aim to deepen the relationship between our two nations and our peoples, moving forward in partnership to our mutual benefit,” she stated.
Ambassador Lynch noted that Guyana and the U.S. share a spirit of community, with dynamic expatriate and diaspora communities, while stressing the importance of fostering a multicultural society.
“Guyana is embarking upon a time of significant transition and growth, and I am excited to be in Guyana for this moment in history. Your nation is poised to become a regional leader with unprecedented opportunity.
“While there are still many challenges to overcome, we remain committed to collaboration with the government and people of Guyana to rise above those challenges and prepare for a bright future,” she said.
The Ambassador noted that together, Guyana and the U.S. can build upon the new economic opportunities that are developing here. The U.S. she said supports Guyana as it uses its resources to invest in infrastructure, increase bilateral trade, diversify the economy, and strengthen social services.
“At this moment of incredible potential, we must continue to rely on each other,” Ambassador Lynch said while also noting that there has been a strengthening of democratic processes and political institutions.
Director-General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Audrey Jardine-Waddell; Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Georgetown, Mr. Terry Steers-Gonzalez, and Ambassador Lynch’s husband, Dr. Kevin Healy, were also present at the accreditation ceremony.
In a separate statement, the U.S. Embassy in welcoming the ambassador, disclosed that until recently, she served as the Acting Assistant Administrator for USAID’s Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).
She has also served as the Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for LAC; USAID Mission Director in Iraq; and the Director of the Office of Iraq and Arabian Peninsula Affairs in USAID’s Middle East Bureau.
A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Ambassador Lynch has been with USAID since 1993, and served overseas in Bangladesh, Peru, Afghanistan and Iraq. In Washington, she has served in the regional bureaus of the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the Bureau of Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance, and the Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs (OAPA).
She replaces Ambassador Perry Holloway who retired a few months ago and is now working with Guyana Goldfields.
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