After a full day of bilateral talks with heads of state, and making his presentation to the United Nations on Tuesday, Sept. 29 to address the ongoing Venezuela border conflict, Guyana President David Granger relaxed at a reception at the Guyana Permanent Mission on 2nd Avenue in midtown Manhattan, and thanked staff members of both the Mission and the New York Consulate, for their contribution.
Accompanied by First Lady Sandra Granger, the politician was greeted by Permanent Representative Wilfred Talbot and members of the Diaspora who enjoyed moments of candor with the head of state who spoke of his grueling schedule, but said it was important for him to visit the mission during his first UN General Assembly, as president.
“It is impossible for Guyana to project its interest, and protect the people back home without embassy representatives in the United States,” said Granger who added that international organizations could not do the job for Guyana — “we must be on the ground to do it for ourselves.”
And even though it is expensive to maintain diplomatic offices, Granger argues it is however a good investment, and noted that the six days he spent attending bilateral talks, stopped Venezuela in its tracks.
“Venezuela was really doing as it liked, sending a gunboat in our waters, publishing decrees, showcasing it’s massive military, and conducing exercises on our boarders, while spreading propaganda throughout the Latin states, and particularly English speaking states,” said the former brigadier.
“This country (Venezuela) is very influential, and after 50 years of peace, it has been able to erode some of the support we received from the people we thought were our friends, by implanting certain scurrilous ideas in their minds, and in the minds of others, who do not know of the 1899 Settlement, and are claiming that it is a British problem, not a Venezuelan problem.” This is in reference to Guyana being the only English-speaking country in South America.
“This was settled. Venezuela has over 300,000 sq miles of land. It is not a Guyana problem, it is a Venezuelan problem, but unless we keep working and informing our people, and ensuring that our mission is delivering the same message, we will not be able to win over world support,” said President Granger, adding, we must continue to convince other countries, particularly the smaller states, that unless they band together in solidarity, they too could be isolated, and picked on by bigger states.”
“We will not be bullied by Venezuela. Maduro intended to carry on a campaign against Guyana in which he felt he could do anything he wanted to do, and we would be bound to agree because he bought our rice, and sold us oil,” said President Granger.
“We have to stand on our feet, and tell him to “haul,” quipped the politician, referring to a ‘derogatory’ term used by Guyanese.
“I am proud of Permanent Representative George Talbot and the work this office has been doing. I am here to say thanks. I know other embassies and missions are more spacious, better equipped and offer better salaries and allowances, but we hope things will be better in the future.”
“As you know, this administration was faced with challenges when we went into office, and we are now dealing with falling gold prices, flat rate bauxite prices, and working out situations in the rice industry, and the sugar industry, but we will do everything possible to make sure you can continue to perform your duties here,” he said.
“Diplomacy is at the forefront of our defense and what we were able to achieve in the last six day here, will also be achieved by our diplomats who are committed to convincing nations of the world that Guyana is a country that needs to be protected, and need to have its voice heard, in solidarity,” said the president.
President Granger, who spent many hours meeting with nationals, graciously presented members of the diplomatic staff with heritage pins, he said, were gifts for their outstanding work. He then placed the pins on the ladies lapel, before handing over the badges to male staff members.