March 08, 2017
At the State Dinner in Honour of President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana His Excellency Brigadier David Granger and his delegation, on March 3, 2017, Prime Minister of The Bahamas and Minister of Finance the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie lauded The Bahamas' long, close and productive relationship with the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, and spoke highly of the nation-building role many Guyanese played in The Bahamas, whether it be as teachers, police officers or other civil posts.
"My predecessor, and our Founding Prime Minister Sir Lynden Pindling was great friends with the former President of Guyana, Forbes Burnham, and it was a personal friendship that duplicated itself in the relationship of our nations," Prime Minister Christie noted, during the event held at the British Colonial Hilton. "It is fitting that our brother, Brigadier Granger, is now in turn playing a leading role as the Chair of CARICOM; and we congratulate him on that."
In terms of Independence, Prime Minister Christie said, the Co-operative Republic of Guyana was actually a "big brother," having celebrated its 50th anniversary of Independence the year before.
"Further, we remember respectfully and with a sense of gratitude that Guyana was among the four founding countries, among the four original signatories of the Treaty of Chaguaramas, that gave us the Caribbean Community of which we are a part today. We thank them for their foresight and their commitment to the idea of Caribbean unity," he added.
In addition to offering deserved tribute to Guyana for its role in the creation of CARICOM, Prime Minister Christie pointed out that they were pioneers of the outreach to Cuba, which had ultimately and properly resulted in tremendous forward motion for that country in regional affairs.
"In that spirit of Caribbean unity, let me begin this evening by saying, by reiterating really, because this is a stated position and known position of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, that we stand in complete and utter rock-solid solidarity with our brothers from Guyana in their international dispute with their neighbour Venezuela," Prime Minister Christie stated. "We have worked with them through CARICOM as much as is possible to foster an amicable and equitable resolution to their dispute, and we will continue to lend our best offices in this regard."
Prime Minister Christie said that as CARICOM's lead Prime Minister on the issue of Tourism, he had been delighted to show the visiting delegation, both, in Nassau, and earlier that day, in Grand Bahama, some of the "exciting things that we're working on in the industry of tourism."
"I continue to believe that there are some striking areas of co-operation that we in the Caribbean can accomplish in the field of tourism that will multiply the benefits of the industry exponentially for the region at large," he said. "I hope that among the benefits of this visit will be the vibrant and growing seeds of such synergy and co-operation.
"I reiterate a sentiment that I shared earlier with our guests that in The Bahamas, we have learned that it is possible to offer tourists a wide and engaging possibility of different experiences from island to island, within our archipelago."
Prime Minister Christie pointed out that it was for him to get those in attendance to imagine how much more effective that concept could be when offering different and varying experiences from Caribbean island to Caribbean island.
He added that he wished to adopt the view of the President that the region should explore synergies with the product of sun, sand and sea on the one hand, and the wonderful flora, fauna and waterfalls of the continent on which stand Guyana, Suriname and Belize.
"I pointed out to the business community of Grand Bahama that Guyana's close co-operation in matters of trade should be of particular interest to the business community here in The Bahamas and I encourage exploration in this regard," Prime Minister Christie said.
"The idea is to explore and expand contacts and synergies in as many areas as possible between our countries that are of mutual benefit."
He also related that there were a number of Guyanese teachers present during their visit to that island.
Prime Minister Christie acknowledged that the President and his delegation had "come a long way to be here."
"You said it was 2,800 kilometers which is, in fact, 1,700 miles to come here," he said. "We are pleased that you have made the journey and we hope that your stay has been an informative and productive one."
Prime Minister Christie also took the opportunity to thank President Granger and his delegation for coming to The Bahamas and wished them a safe onward journey as they returned home the following day.
"I thank you all for coming to visit our Bahamas, and I again acknowledge the lasting and vibrant commitment we share in our Caribbean heritage," Prime Minister Christie said.
At State Dinner on Friday at the British Colonial Hilton, from left: President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana His Excellency Brigadier David Granger, Governor General Her Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling, Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, Mrs. Bernadette Christie, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Development the Hon. Philip Davis. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)
By Eric Rose
Bahamas Information Services