President David Granger: Vice President Carl Greenidge, Minister of Foreign Affairs; Speaker of the National Assembly, Honourable Dr. Barton Scotland; His Excellency, Ambassador, Mr. Lineu Pupo de Paula, Ambassador – the Federative Republic of Brazil to Guyana; Ministers of the Government; Members of the National Assembly; Members of the Diplomatic Corps; military attachés of Brazil and other friendly armies; citizens of Brazil; distinguished guests; members of the media; ladies and gentlemen.
I’m very happy this evening, on behalf of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, to extend warmest congratulations to the Government and People of the Federative Republic of Brazil on the occasion of the 195th Anniversary of Independence- 7th September.
Guyana and Brazil have forged strong bonds of friendship since the establishment of diplomatic relations on the 18th December, 1968. Our friendship, as the ambassador said, is founded on mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, cooperation for mutual benefit, respect for treaties, the inviolability of borders and international law and the maintenance of international peace and security.
Your Excellency, Guyana looks forward to celebrating with Brazil the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations next year. Relations between our two Republics have witnessed cooperation in agriculture, in defence, in education, energy, health, security, sport, trade and water.
Excellency, Guyana continues to pursue joint venture investment, tourism and trade with Brazil. Our citizens will benefit from the increased movement of capital, goods and people as a result of the signing of an updated Air Services Agreement between our two countries. Residents of Lethem, the border town of Brazil will soon benefit from wells, which are being drilled by the Brazilian Army to provide potable water in the Rupununi.
The recent turning of the sod ceremony which we referred to, for Guyana’s new embassy in Brasilia, signals the significance of our strengthening neighbourly relations. Guyana has been encouraged by the outcomes, as you pointed out, of the Fifth Meeting of the Border Committee of the First Working Group Meeting on Technical Cooperation of the Third Administrative Commission Meeting under the Economic Complementation Partial Scope Agreement between the Federative Republic of Brazil and the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, and the 10th Conference of the Mixed Border Commission.
Guyana will continue to work with Brazil to advance the infrastructural integration of South America through the development of a paved road link between Lethem and Linden; the construction of a deep water harbour and joint cooperation on sustainable energy projects. The Takutu River does not divide but rather unites our two countries owing to the construction of a bridge, which stands as a concrete symbol of cooperation and as a signpost to our continental destiny.
Excellency, Guyana is in transition to becoming a ‘green state’. Guyana and Brazil share the Guiana Shield. We also share a common interest in preserving and protecting the Guiana Shield and in providing environmental services to the rest of humanity. The green development is an important field for the future of cooperation between our two countries.
Ladies and gentlemen, it has often been said that you can choose your friends but you cannot choose your neighbours. Guyana is proud to have a neighbour which is also a friend.
I ask therefore, that you join me in raising a toast to the good health of His Excellency Michel Temer; President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, to the prosperity of the Brazilian people and to the continued excellent relations between our two Republics.
I thank you.