Thank you Mr. Gilbert for your warm welcome and very kind introduction, I am truly ecstatic to be here with all of you on this remarkable occasion for the members of this delightful community.
I would like to acknowledge the presence of Honorable Minister Anette Ferguson – from the Ministry of Communities, Brigadier Patrick West – the GDF Chief of Staff, Major General Croft – the 12th Air Force Commander, Members of the Parliament, Her Worship Waneka Arrindell – the Mayor of Linden, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Harmon – the Director General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Region 10 community leaders and the members of the Guyana Defence Force. But I want to expressly acknowledge the members of United States Military who have participated in this outstanding Humanitarian and Civic Assistance Exercise, and extend my sincere thanks to the Commander of the New Horizons Air Expeditionary Task Force, Colonel Kenneth Bratland, for the fantastic results that he and his troops have accomplished.
Ladies and gentlemen, this tremendous achievement speaks volumes about the United States’ commitment to build and sustain enduring relationships with our Partner Nations. It is a commitment that will never – I repeat – never wane, because we know that by sharing our values, challenges and responsibilities we forge partnerships that improve regional stability. Guyana’s success is without a doubt our success!
That being said, we counted on you, the Guyanese people, who, along with more than six hundred U.S. Military personnel, were crucial to the success of New Horizons, and we look forward to continuing to grow our partnership and friendship. Just like its previous iterations in 2004 and 2009, this year’s New Horizons capitalized on our close bilateral relationship and provided vital knowledge and unmatched hands-on experience, creating a unity of effort in addressing shared challenges such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
Many hundreds of Guyanese directly benefited from the medical outreach and construction projects executed, and thousands more indirectly will benefit in the years to follow. While I’d like to let General Croft speak more about the incredible goals achieved or surpassed – and believe me when I say that virtually every projected goal was surpassed! –, I want to underline that the multi-million dollar investment by the United States in this exercise is a small price to pay when it comes to increasing the quality of life of so many Guyanese and – more importantly – increasing our Partner Nation’s capacity.
Through the medical outreach and engineering projects completed many lives were or will be positively affected, and many lives will be changed. But, more importantly, these projects brought our nations closer, brought our people together, and contributed to our steadfast commitment to some of our common values such as human rights, commitment to democracy, the rule of law, and peace.
In closing, I would like to once again express my gratitude to all those involved in this vital exercise, beginning with our superb U.S. Military and the Embassy’s Security Cooperation Office, but also our partners from the Guyana’s Ministries of Communities, Public Health and Education, as well as the Guyana Defence Force and all the regional and municipal leaders involved. Please accept my sincere thanks for all that you do, and may this exercise bring even more possibilities of partnership in the future!