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– to discuss responsible, transparent behaviour of private sector
Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo will discuss among other things responsible, transparent private sector behaviour when he meets with President Irfaan Ali and his cabinet later this week.
Pompeo is due for a two-day visit here from Thursday as part of a South American tour to celebrate democracy and help revitalise economies stung by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a release the the US State Department said during Pompeo’s visit here he will congratulate newly elected president Irfaan Ali and his cabinet, and meet with CARICOM Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque. ” He will reinforce the promise of a values-based U.S. partnership highlighting opportunities for more responsible and transparent private sector investment to increase prosperity for the people of Guyana, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement read.
Guyanese have been sceptical about Pompeo’s visit with questions being raised regarding the agenda for the visit. Pompeo had been loud in his call for the former government to step aside following the March 2, 2020 polls.
Ahead of the visit the A Partnership for National + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) wants the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government to clearly state the country’s position on Venezuela.
Glad to be visiting Suriname, Guyana, Brazil, Colombia and Texas to celebrate and fight for democracy in the Western Hemisphere. Looking forward to strengthening regional partnerships that will benefit the American people.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) September 15, 2020
During Monday’s opening round of budget debates in the National Assembly, Opposition Member of Parliament, Attorney-at-Law Amanza Walton- Desir placed before the House a number of burning questions to be answered as a matter of urgency by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hugh Todd.
‘What is Guyana’s key interest and non-negotiable policies as it relates to Venezuela? Is the country still committed to the non-intervention in the internal affairs of Venezuela?’ – are among questions the APNU+AFC Coalition is hoping that the Government will answer before Pompeo arrives in Guyana on Thursday, September 18, 2020 for his two-day visit.
The US has imposed severe sanctions on the Nicolas Maduro Administration over a range of issues including human rights violations and poor governance, and has been on a mission to muster support from countries within the Western Hemisphere.
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has long maintained that it will not interfere or intervene in the internal affairs of Venezuela or any other state – a position Guyana has embraced.
The APNU+AFC also wants PPP/C Administration to assure the nation that the country’s national interests will not be compromised. In seeking further assurance, Walton- Desir asked that the country be assured that the Government will not be a party, directly or indirectly, to any aggression against Venezuela.
Further, the Opposition Member of Parliament asked the Foreign Affairs Minister to disclose what are the agreements to be reached, during the meeting with the U.S
Secretary of State; and what support was offered by the PPP/C Administration ahead of the high-level meeting.
“Could the Hon. Minister map the scenario analyses of the likely consequences of any action taken by Guyana for our case before the International Court of Justice in the
Guyana/Venezuela territorial controversy,” the Opposition Parliamentarian further asked.
During the months-long elections dispute in Guyana, it was disclosed that the APNU+AFC Administration had turned down a request by the United States Government to relay Voice of America content to Venezuela utilising one of this country’s medium wave towers. It is likely that during the meeting with President Irfaan Ali, the request again placed on the table by the US Secretary of State.
In a recent interview with News Room, President Ali described the visit by the US Secretary of State as “extremely important,” noting that that the two countries intends to strengthen their bilateral relations.
Aside from Guyana’s development, the Head of State said that there are a number of issues regionally and globally that require attention by countries.
“I think his visit is at a key time especially when as a country, we are exploring various initiatives in accessing capital, ensuring that we have capital that is not only accessible but cheap capital or low-interest capital. We also have a transformative agenda that we want all to be involved in,” President Ali said.
Climate Change, private sector collaboration, local content, biodiversity, democracy and freedom, as well as security and tackling the drug trade are among issues that will be discussed during the high-level meeting come Thursday and Friday.
In January, visited Jamaica with the intention of seven Caribbean leaders to discuss regional concerns including Venezuela’s political crisis but the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, who had the time was the Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), had boycott the meeting, describing it as an attempt to divide the 15-member organisation. , trade and national security. Prime Minister Mottley had received the support of her Trinidadian counterpart, Prime Minister Keith Rowley.
Meanwhile, the State Department said too that Pompeo will travel to Paramaribo, Suriname; Georgetown, Guyana; Boa Vista, Brazil; Bogota, Colombia; and Plano, Texas, September 17-20, 2020. “This trip will highlight the United States’ commitment to defend democracy, combat COVID-19 while revitalizing our economies in the pandemic’s wake, and strengthen security against regional threats.”
In Paramaribo, Secretary Pompeo will celebrate the triumph of democracy by meeting with recently elected Surinamese President Chan Santokhi and his cabinet to discuss increased bilateral cooperation and opportunities for partnerships in energy and security, the State Department said.
In Boa Vista, Brazil, Secretary Pompeo will underscore the importance of U.S. and Brazilian support for the Venezuelan people in their time of need by visiting with Venezuelan migrants fleeing the manmade disaster in Venezuela.
Secretary Pompeo will then travel to Bogota to meet with Colombian President Ivan Duque to discuss the strong partnership our countries share, including in managing the COVID-19 response, promoting mutual prosperity, and tackling the threats to regional security from narcotraffickers, terror groups, and Maduro’s illegitimate regime.
Finally, Secretary Pompeo will return to the United States to discuss Department of State priorities at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas.