Remarks as prepared
Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch
US. Independence Celebration
June 29, 2023
Honorable Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips, Prime Minister to the Co-Operative Republic of Guyana;
Honorable Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, Vice President;
Honorable Hugh Todd, Minister of Foreign Affairs;
Honorable Ministers; Members of the Judiciary; Members of Parliament; and Speaker of the National Assembly;
Honorable Mr. Aubrey Norton, Leader of the Opposition;
Members of the Diplomatic Corps; the Private Sector, Civil Society; and Uniformed Services;
Our Generous Corporate Sponsors for tonight’s event;
Members of the media;
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to start by saying: A-salama-wa-laikum and Eid Mubarak! I wish a very Happy Eid al-Adha to all who are celebrating today! Being Ambassador to such a religiously diverse and rich nation has been a tremendous joy, and I hope you have enjoyed your celebration!
Welcome to the U.S. Embassy’s celebration of the 247th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America. Before I begin these brief remarks, I would like to echo Kelly’s thanks to the wonderful sponsors of tonight’s event. Without your very generous contributions, we would not be having this lovely party. Thank you for your collaboration, kindness, and generosity. Thanks also to the Marriott staff and my own team for all your hard work to put together this fabulous event tonight.
In 1776 with approximately 1,300 words, 56 delegates to the Second Continental Congress adopted a Declaration that laid out our nation’s central philosophy – (1) that we are all created equal; (2) that we should all enjoy the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and (3) that the main business of government is to protect those rights. These democratic values, shared by the United States and Guyana, have formed the basis for decades of friendship between our two nations.
I am honored to host you, Mr. Prime Minister, and all of you tonight to join us on this very special and festive occasion. In just a few days, on July 4th, Americans will come together to celebrate our independence with food, family, friends, and fireworks – whether on Main Streets in small towns or at casual backyard barbeques – Americans across the United States will gather to reflect on and cherish the values and principles that shaped our country – democracy, freedom, equality, justice, and happiness. I’m quite sure that many Guyanese-Americans, many who have helped our country uphold and pursue these values over time, will be celebrating in special ways – maybe with a glass of the world’s finest rum, some cookup or pepper pot, or some delicious coconut water.
As my staff and I celebrate here in Guyana, we will also be reflecting on our work here. During my tenure as U.S. Ambassador to Guyana, I have been extraordinarily proud to lead a hard-working U.S. Embassy team dedicated to deepening our partnership with the Guyanese people – those in the government, those in the private sector, and those in civil society – to secure those democratic values and those democratic principles.
Together we have worked in the area of governance to build the capacity of key institutions, ; we have partnered in the commercial area to see our bilateral trade triple over the past few years; and we have worked on critical issues in the areas of security to ensure that Guyana is a secure nation where citizens feel safe and investments are protected. We are also working on key areas like health care and education to support the betterment of all in Guyana.
This last year alone, we have seen:
- The return of dozens of Peace Corps volunteers who are once again working across the country in key sectors like education, health, and the environment;
- The start of the historic Gas-to-Energy project that will provide clean, reliable, and affordable electricity for Guyanese citizens;
- The second Caribbean regional security exercise in just two years, Tradewinds, co-hosted by U.S. Southern Command and the Guyana Defence Force;
- Dozens of young leaders, professionals, and budding entrepreneurs trained or sent on impactful exchange programs to the U.S.;
- A local government election which we observed and which was widely viewed as free and fair;
- A dramatic increase in U.S. companies, partnering in sectors outside of oil and gas like education, health care, agriculture, and infrastructure;
- The training of dozens of Guyanese law enforcement officers through partner agencies including Diplomatic Security, the FBI, DHS, DEA; and,
- A highly productive and fruitful trip to the United States by His Excellency and key members of his Administration to discuss ways in which we can further strengthen and deepen this wonderful partnership.
Strong democracies do not just focus internally, however; they project their values and their democratic principles externally to help strengthen other nations in their region and across the globe. This year, Guyana has not only become a strong leader within CARICOM, especially in the area of food security; but, you have also increased your leadership across the broader hemisphere and on the world stage. I would like to congratulate the Government on Guyana on securing its seat to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, with the election of Dr. Bulkan, demonstrating Guyana’s strong commitment to promote and protect human rights in the Americas. I would also like to congratulate you on becoming one of the newest elected non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, with 191 UN member nations casting their ballots for Guyana for this important global position. These are strong signs of confidence by the international community that Guyana wants to contribute to regional and global efforts to strengthen international partnership, the rule of law and to promote peace and stability around the globe.
Guyana is clearly on a unique and amazing journey. The United States has been and will continue to be on this journey with you. I could not be prouder of the enduring partnership between our two nations which I know will continue long past my tenure in Guyana.
Finally, as this is my last Fourth of July celebration in Guyana, I would like to once again thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, and everyone in this room for your partnership and friendship and for allowing me to be a guest in your nation over the years. At my first farewell held a few weeks ago (when, by the way, I said that I would be leaving “jus now” – a very handy expression, I must say!), I drew your attention to the names of charming Guyanese villages and communities, like Adventure, Friendship and Success – whose names also paint a picture of my experience working with all of you in this beautiful land. But, there are also the endearing communities of Charity, Unity, and Triumph which paint a picture of Guyana’s future as a caring, inclusive, and successful nation. You can count on me to be your champion for years to come. Your future is bright, Guyana, and like my favorite name of a tiny Guyanese community – Now or Never – Now is your moment, Guyana.
Let us raise our glasses to toast what was, what is, and what can be, in our relationship. Cheers!