President David Granger: Honourable Justice Yonette Cumming Edwards, Chancellor of the Judiciary; Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire, Chief Justice; His Excellency, Mr. Greg Quinn, British High Commissioner and Mrs. Wendy Quinn; Members of the Diplomatic Corps; British citizens, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, members of the media.
The Cooperative Republic of Guyana congratulates Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II on the celebration of her 91st birth anniversary. We extend best wishes for Her Majesty’s happiness and health and for the peace and prosperity of the people of the United Kingdom.
Guyana and Britain have enjoyed an unbroken tradition of friendship since the establishment of diplomatic relations on the 26th May, 1966. Our two countries: one represented by the jaguar; the other by the lion and the unicorn, have cooperated rather than fighting each other at the bilateral and multilateral levels in the fields of public security, the promotion of democracy, the protection of the environment, the alleviation of poverty and the development of public infrastructure.
Your Excellency, Guyana’s security and its struggle to preserve its sovereignty and territorial integrity also have received Britain’s unwavering support consistently over the last fifty-one years. Guyana’s development in the fields of education, public sector reform, security sector reform, strengthening of the judiciary, disaster relief, water supply, restructuring of the sugar industry and debt relief has received Britain’s assistance.
Britain’s Caribbean infrastructure fund will be a welcomed and necessary boost to the extension of our country’s physical and public infrastructure. Guyana is particularly pleased with Britain’s re-engagements in the reimplementation of reforms in the security sector. Guyana, through this initiative, will benefit from improvement in policy making and crime fighting.
Excellency, Guyana and Britain have enjoyed excellent cooperation within the framework of the Commonwealth. We look forward to Britain’s continued support, especially within the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group as we seek finally to bring claims to Guyana’s territory to a peaceful and lawful conclusion.
Guyana and Britain share common aspirations for international peace, for public security and human safety. We take this opportunity to iterate our condemnation of the vicious and outrageous terrorist attack upon British citizens most recently last month in Manchester. We are confident that Your Majesty’s Government and the British people will emerge from the experience of these atrocities with increased resolve to protect its citizens and to counter the scourge of international terrorism.
Excellency, Guyana’s drive to become a ‘green state’, one which will balance environmental sustainability with economic and human development is well known. I’m happy to have had the honour of meeting her majesty and of sharing with her, a common commitment to forest conservation and to the protection of our precious biodiversity.
We are happy in this regards to recall the visit of Her Majesty’s grandson, Prince Harry last year and of her son Prince Charles in 2000 and Prince Charles to this day, remains patron of our iconic Iwokrama Centre for Rain Forest Conservation and Development. Guyana looks forward to continued collaboration and cooperation with Britain for the protection of the environment; for the promotion of peace and for the development of our economy.
Excellency, ladies and gentlemen, please join me in a toast to the happiness and health of Her Majesty, the Queen and to the friendship between the Guyanese and the British people.