The president of Guyana has expressed his appreciation for the contributions from Guyanese in Canada, individually or through organizations, to aid the country’s development.
On his first official visit to Canada last weekend since succeeding Bharrat Jagdeo seven months ago, Donald Ramotar said he and his government value the donations and will continue to facilitate and support the contributions which enhance economic and social growth.
“Even though you left Guyana for economic, political and other reasons, what we are proud about is that you have never forgotten our country and many of you are making significant contributions and in the process making our country stronger,” Ramotar said at the Guyana Independence Day celebration last Saturday at Markham Civic Centre.
Ramotar met with active organizations in the Greater Toronto Area last Sunday to acknowledge their support and also find out what his government can do help their efforts.
Accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Ramotar left the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development early to celebrate the 17th annual independence celebrations organized by nationals in the GTA.
Guyana is considered a leader when it comes to addressing the impact of climate variability and formulating a response to managing and adapting to climate change. Three years ago, Jagdeo – who is the goodwill ambassador for the tropical-forest basins of Amazonia, Congo and Borneo-Mekong – launched a low carbon development strategy in Guyana that is viewed as an investment in low carbon infrastructure, employment in low carbon economic sectors and in communities with human capital.
In November 2009, Guyana signed an agreement with Norway that provides for the Scandinavian country to invest up to US$250 million over a five-year period in protecting Guyana’s forests to avoid the deforestation that fuels climate change. The agreement is one of the first carbon offset agreements to be signed under a new initiative known as Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD).
“We have developed a low carbon strategy that will see us enhancing the quality of life in our country with minimal effect to the environment that we live in while keeping our forest intact as much as possible,” Ramotar said before cutting the ribbon to open the celebration. “We will be, in another four to five years when we are finished constructing our hydro power which we hope to start very soon, one of the countries in the world where 92 per cent of our energy services will come from renewable resources and not from burning fossil fuel.”
The celebration, started in 1996 to mark Guyana’s independence on May 26, 1966, was moved from Scarborough to Markham this year.
Markham’s Mayor Frank Scarpitti welcomed his town’s opportunity to host the event that included a soft-ball cricket tournament.
“Honestly, I don’t think you could have chosen a better location than Markham to hold this celebration because it’s in this community that we have the most ethnically diverse people in all of Canada and Guyanese nationals are part of this diversity we have in this wonderful community,” he said.
“But, it’s not about Scarborough today and it’s not even about Markham. It’s about Guyana. When you come to this country, you do not want to leave who you are and what you are behind you. We want you to bring your culture and your food and share that with the rest of Canada.”
Scarborough-Agincourt Member of Parliament Jim Karygiannis, Scarborough Rouge-River Member of Provincial Parliament Bas Balkissoon, Markham councillor Logan Kanapathi, Canada’s High Commissioner to Guyana David Devine, Guyana’s High Commissioner in Ottawa Harry Narine Nawbatt, consul general Sattie Sawh and former consul general Geoff DaSilva, who is now Guyana’s ambassador to Venezuela, attended the event.
By RON FANFAIR