Remarks by Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch
Welcome Reception in her Honor
Friday, April 26, 2019
Welcome everyone and thank you so much for coming this evening.
I cannot believe that I have now been in Guyana for seven weeks. And, while I’ve had meetings with just about everyone in this room, I realize that there is still much more that I need to learn about the “land of many waters.” For example, just this past weekend at the National Park, I learned about the art of flying a kite! I must thank the children of Georgetown for holding back their laughter as I attempted to follow their instructions in all that is involved with this critical diplomatic skill – a lot is in the wrist action, as it turns out!
Likewise, a few weeks back, I experienced my first Phagwah, which was very colorful indeed. I proudly wore pink streaks in my hair for well – a very long time. After seeing me at one too many events donning pink hair, the Indian High Commissioner and Mrs. Mahalingam, very kindly – and diplomatically! – asked me if I would like some assistance, which I accepted, and for which I am still grateful. Although, it was fun to see the reactions I got with my pink hair!
Guyanese cultural events, like the delicious food and drinks that I’ve experienced here, bind the country in the most special of ways. And, for the record, I’ve already happily enjoyed seven curry, channa, and mammee fruit ,and the Most Refreshing Coconut Water in the world! As part of that bond, it is clear that all of Guyana wants to be a part of the tremendous opportunities that await this country in the very near future. And, I know that everyone in this room is committed to Guyana’s success, as am I.
We all have a lot of important work to do – each in our own way – and, I want you to know that the United States will work hard to continue to be a key partner of Guyana’s to help it realize its potential both in Guyana and the region – our collective neighborhood.
We will continue to partner with Guyana on the security front – this past week US-Guyanese security collaboration made history as we worked together on the highly successful extradition of alleged murderer, Troy Thomas – the first extradition to the US in well over a decade. We will continue to partner on the governance front – to adhere to the rule of law and to strengthen institutions, both governmental and non-governmental to become more transparent and accountable. And, we will continue to partner with the Government and all relevant actors on the prosperity front – to help this country create an enabling environment where trade and investment will abound and the country and all of its citizens will thrive.
Before I let you all get back to the most important matter of socializing, I need to say a few words of thanks. First of all, I’d like to express a very big thank you to my own Embassy and Residential staff who have been working on this event for some time – thank you all very much for planning a wonderful evening with a beautiful setting. Secondly, I’d like to give a nod to Cara Lodge for providing such a delicious selection of appetizers. I’d also like to call out Justin Thompson, a talented musician and music teacher, for providing the beautiful background piano music this evening – what a treat! We will see more of you, I think, Justin!
And, most importantly, I need to thank someone who many of you know very well – someone who is leaving the U.S. Embassy community in a few short weeks, and whose presence will be greatly missed. That person is our very own Deputy Chief of Mission, Terry Steers-Gonzalez.
Terry – please step up here. Terry has served as DCM in Guyana for just about three years, and I would like to commend him for the absolutely stellar work he has done to advance U.S.-Guyanese relations. It’s been very clear to me that Terry did a terrific job on all fronts – both as DCM and as Chargé many times, including before I arrived, and, I am honored to have served with you for this short time. Terry is off to what should be an easy assignment! – Political Officer in Pakistan! But, Terry, I know that you will do an equally remarkable job in Pakistan. On behalf of US Embassy Georgetown, though, I can say that I know everyone here will miss you, and I am particularly thankful for all that you did in helping me in my early weeks here in Guyana. Terry – would you indulge us all with a few words?
Thank you again for everything, Terry – we will miss you.
Finally, I would like to thank the country of Guyana. While tonight is my official Welcome Reception, Kevin and I have actually been received throughout these seven weeks by so many Guyanese – vendors at Bourda market, shopkeepers in Corriverton, children in the National Park, and the inspirational young entrepreneurs that I met at Brand Youth’s “40 Under 40 Entrepreneurial Awards Ceremony” last night – everywhere I go, people have been extraordinarily warm and kind, and, so I would like to thank the people of this beautiful country for making me feel so at home so quickly.
With that, I will turn the microphone back to Jake, who I’m sure will invite you all to have an enjoyable evening.