Canada’s Assistant Deputy Minister for the Americas, Michael Grant, yesterday reiterated Ottawa’s support for Guyana in the border controversy with Venezuela, at a meeting with Minister of State Joseph Harmon.
During the meeting, the two discussed matters of mutual interest including the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy; the migration of Venezuelans and its effect on neighbouring countries; Canada and Guyana’s bilateral relationship and the assistance given to Guyana in a number of areas, including support to manage the influx of Venezuelan migrants, the Ministry of the Presidency said in a statement.
It noted that Canada has donated CDN$46,000 to the Civil Defence Commission to support Guyana’s efforts in accommodating the Venezuelan migrants. Harmon thanked the Government of Canada for the contribution, even as he noted that the Guyana Government wishes to take a holistic approach to address the issue and would therefore welcome any kind of support in this endeavour, the statement said. “Our intention is to provide a better facility to these migrants and that means we must provide a place where they can live and work. We would therefore welcome any additional support than can be given in this area,” he was quoted as saying.
Harmon also welcomed Grant to Guyana while noting that the two nations have shared a strong and fertile relationship for over 50 years.
“We value and cherish the relationship we have shared with Canada over the years and as you know, outside of the United States, the majority of Guyanese are settled in Canada. We also have strong collaboration in several areas and as such, Guyana can only look forward to strengthening this relationship,” Harmon said.
Grant, who serves in the Ministry of Global Affairs of Canada, expressed his appreciation to the Minister for his remarks. He also said that he recently took up office and as such, he is endeavouring to familiarise himself with all of the areas that fall within his remit, the statement said.
“We value very much the relationship between the two countries as well as the Guyanese community. While it is a shared population, it is so central for Canada as well. We are very excited about the relationship between the two countries and as you rightly said, we have collaborated extensively over the years,” he was quoted as saying.
The statement said that Grant also took the opportunity to express his country’s support and solidarity with Guyana on the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy. He noted that Canada has made its position clear on this matter and this stance has not changed.
The Assistant Deputy Minister was accompanied to the meeting by Canadian High Commissioner to Guyana, Lilian Chatterjee.
Relations between Canada and Guyana had hit a frosty period after Charrandass Persaud whose vote on December 21, 2018 brought the government down, was escorted to the EF Correia airport the following day by a Canadian High Commission official. Persaud, who is a Canadian citizen had reached out to the High Commission and had expressed concern for his safety in the aftermath of his vote. Georgetown had subsequently lodged a protest note over what it said was a breach of protocol and Chatterjee was called into the ministry to explain.
Eyebrows were also raised recently after Ottawa advised PPP presidential candidate Irfaan Ali not to travel there as a result of charges which are hanging over him.