Remarks by Ambassador Theriot at Multi-Purpose Facility Handover to the Guyana Civil Defence Commission

Remarks as prepared
Ambassador Nicole Theriot
Multi-Purpose Facility Handover to the Guyana Civil Defence Commission
November 30, 2023

Honorable Brigadier (retired) Mark Phillips, Prime Minister
Colonel (retired) Nazrul Hussain, Director General, Civil Defence Commission
Chief-of-Staff, Brigadier Omar Khan
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen

Good morning!  It is a great privilege to join you today as the spirit of partnership and goodwill between Guyana and the United States continues to grow.  We all know how difficult the last few years have been, as we carried out our “normal” responsibilities while navigating a global pandemic.

All of us have personal stories of how COVID-19 affected our families and our communities.  And the memories of the massive floods back in 2005 and 2021 remind us of the lengthy road to long-term recovery.  The 2005 flood, which is considered Guyana’s most destructive flood, affected 84% of the population, while the 2021 flood hit 7 of Guyana’s 10 regions.  The scars from these tragic events remain, but with the lessons learned from these experiences, both the United States and Guyana are working together to strengthen disaster preparedness, disaster response, and community resiliency.

During my 24 years in the diplomatic corps, I have seen how crises brought out the best in communities; people adapt to a new normal and help one another through situations no one could have imagined.  I certainly witnessed it first-hand when I was in Haiti for the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in August 2021 and the devastating flooding in Pakistan’s Sindh province in August 2022.  With the increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters and the possibility of another pandemic, we must actively identify and develop agile ways to increase Guyana’s national and local capacity for immediate disaster response, which will help communities better recover.

Community, partnership, and caring are all critical to building capacity in rapid response.  It’s important for Guyana to take their lessons learned from previous crises and apply them to creating innovative ways to prepare citizens against future humanitarian disasters.

In the spirit of community and innovation, the U.S Embassy, through the U.S. Southern Command’s Humanitarian Assistance Program and in coordination with Deployed Logix, is pleased to present the Guyana Civil Defence Commission with this incredible deployable multi-purpose facility.  This mobile field hospital equips the Guyana Civil Defence Commission with the tools and resources it needs to rapidly and effectively build disaster resilience and crisis response capabilities anywhere in the country.  This donation is valued at $1.124 million US dollars, and it will deliver crucial medical services and treatment across the country.

Having the right tools for the job is important, but knowing how to use those tools is a matter of life and death.  Planning, preparation, and simulation for disaster preparedness are vital to the success of any disaster response.  During the past couple of days, the Civil Defence Commission, in coordination with local government agencies and educational institutions, has conducted a field exercise to hone their skills.  Later today, we’ll observe the facility in action with a live blood drive and a simulated triage operation in response to a mass casualty scenario.

As Guyana works to improve its emergency disaster response in the near- and long-term, the United States government is committed to supporting the people of Guyana and to strengthening our incredible partnership.  Together, the United States and the Government of Guyana can uphold our commitment to bettering the lives of the people of Guyana.

Thank you so much!