Remarks as prepared
Ambassador Nicole Theriot
Ambassador Welcome Reception
November 3, 2023
Thank you so much, Jeffrey,
His Excellency President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana,
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;
Honorable Dr. Carla Barnett; Secretary-General of CARICOM
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Members of the Private Sector, Civil Society, and the Uniformed Services
Good evening and a warm welcome to you all!
I am so excited to be in your beautiful country. I have heard wonderful things about Guyana’s rich and diverse cultural landscape. Coming from south Louisiana, an area known for its very vibrant culture, I am excited to experience all of the beauty that this land of many waters has to offer. Rumor has it that there is nothing quite like the Guyanese holiday season, so I am very happy to be here in time to experience and enjoy your holiday traditions. I welcome your recommendations on all the things I should do.
I have been in Guyana for a few weeks but have already experienced your warm hospitality, which feels a lot like home. I have had the pleasure of meeting quite a few of you at events and during courtesy calls. I can’t thank you enough for your graciousness and warmth, and I look forward to working closely with each and every one of you. For those of you whom I haven’t yet met, I would love to make your acquaintance this evening.
Over the past 24 years, I have been privileged to represent the United States in 10 countries on four continents, including two in the Caribbean – Haiti and Barbados. The Caribbean has a special place in my heart so, I am delighted to serve in the region once again, and especially in Guyana.
I feel incredibly honored and privileged to have the opportunity to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the Co-operative Republic of Guyana. President Ali, I look forward to partnering with you and the Guyanese people to advance the goal of a prosperous and safe Guyana and to build a more sustainable and secure region, with a special emphasis on energy security, food security, and climate resilience.
The United States and Guyana enjoy 58 years of strong bilateral partnership enhanced by deep cultural and historic ties. It is my genuine privilege to further strengthen the longstanding relationship and build on the incredible work of my predecessor Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch, along with that of our very capable Embassy team.
I am excited for my tenure here, and I cannot wait to explore Guyana’s 10 regions and experience the breathtaking waterfalls and spectacular savannahs. But more importantly, I want to engage directly with the Guyanese people – I want to hear your thoughts, opinions, and recommendations on how we can best work together to advance our shared priorities.
These are incredible times for Guyana as the country continues to transform and undergo rapid economic growth. We are proud to be your key partner during this time of amazing transformation. I am eager to meet with the Guyanese private sector and business leaders to hear how we can continue to strengthen our critical commercial and trade partnership.
I am also excited to meet with civil society – and especially youth – who are clearly heavily invested in supporting Guyana’s democracy. I also want to help you bolster and leverage one of your nation’s most valuable resources – its powerful, resilient women. Recently, I was inspired by the strength of Guyana’s women when I sat next to the First Lady at her beautiful Breast Cancer Awareness dinner and listened to the incredibly moving stories of women cancer survivors.
During my time here, I intend to expand our people-to-people ties through our exchange programs and by bringing Guyanese and Americans together. This is exemplified through our Peace Corps Volunteers based in nine regions who work to complement the efforts of the Ministries of Education and Health. I am very eager to get out to the regions and see the critically important work they are doing to help Guyana’s youth, and all of its people.
Along with the U.S. Embassy team, I will also work with you to support our bilateral defense partnership that will enhance our mutual security goals, address cross-cutting threats, and advance regional security. The U.S.-Guyana security partnership is truly a model for the region, and we want to continue to enhance and grow that relationship in the years to come.
The U.S. Government also recognizes the unique and evolving challenges facing Caribbean nations, and we are committed to working together on solutions through the pillars of prosperity, health, resilience, security, energy, diplomacy, and education. CARICOM has been a powerful force in improving the lives of people across the Caribbean, and Guyana has played a leading role in CARICOM’s efforts. I thank you for your leadership and intend to work closely with you and Secretary-General Barnett on our continued partnership towards regional advancement.
I am here to reaffirm the U.S. government’s commitment to our shared democratic values, including transparency, fairness, inclusion, and equity. We all have a lot of important work to do, and together I believe we can and will address the shared challenges within our collective neighborhood, no matter how daunting they may appear.
I’m optimistic about the future and am committed to working together to strengthen our friendship and cooperation, deepen our trade and investment relationship, and promote greater prosperity for our people.
I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to some new members of the Embassy team who will serve as partners to many of you in our collaborative efforts.
Colleagues, as I call your names, please raise your hands:
Mariyam Cementwala, Political-Economic Section Chief
Daniel Gaines, Commercial Officer
I would like to recognize Deborah Connor, Country Director -Peace Corps / Guyana, who was unable to join us this evening.
Thank you so much, team! And thank you all very much for being here. It really means so much to us. Please enjoy the evening!