Georgetown, Guyana - (October 12, 2019) Minister of State, Mrs. Dawn Hastings-Williams, last evening, reiterated that the Government continues to engage with its diplomatic partners and to secure training opportunities for Guyanese that would enable them to acquire skills that would allow them to remain relevant and compete in this fast-paced developing world.
The Minister made these statements at a simple ceremony held to mark the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme Day, at the residence of the High Commissioner of India to Guyana, Dr. K. J. Srinivasa.
Minister Hastings-Williams noted that since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Guyana and India in 1966, Guyanese have benefited from many cultural, economic and training opportunities to Guyanese since 1966, including under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme.
“The level of engagement by India is highly appreciated by the Government of Guyana and its people,” she said, noting that to date Guyanese from both the public and private sector have been beneficiaries of scholarships and can now contribute meaningfully to the development of Guyana utilising the skills and training that they have received.
“The Government Guyana through the leadership of President David Granger, aims to prepare our young people for jobs in the future in order for them to enjoy the ‘good life’ that he has envisioned for them. We have pursued a policy of unity and social cohesion to ensure that our Government works for all Guyanese...Our international partners are very important to us in this process and to our developmental goals… Therefore, the Government of Guyana and its people are happy to have India as an ally to achieving this goal though the ITEC Programme. India, I wish to thank you and may [we] continue to build strong relations for the benefit of our people in the future,” Minister Hastings-Williams said.
The Minister also thanked the High Commissioner for the restitution of the 50 ITEC scholarship slots offered to Guyana. While noting that only 17 slots for the 2018-2019 academic year were utilised, she assured that going forward Government will ensure that all 50 scholarships are awarded.
Meanwhile, Minister of the Public Service, Mrs. Tabitha Sarabo-Halley said that steps are being taken to revamp the Public sector. She told the gathering that the evolution of the Public Service is made possible partly through initiatives such as the ITEC Programme which is offered by the Government of India.
“We are committed to the education of Guyana and this ITEC programme as well as the numerous other programmes offered by the Government of India to Guyana, helps in this process. These scholarships by the Republic in India will empower our public servants with professional skills but also preparing the public servants for an increasingly globalized world,” she said.
Additionally, in his address the High Commissioner of India to Guyana said the Programme allows India to share a vast wealth of knowledge and experience with the wider world particularly, the 160 ITEC partner countries. To date, Dr. Srinivasa said, over 2000 persons have received training, which places special emphasis on key developmental cooperation which has always played a central role in India’s foreign policy.
“Since its independence, India has been steadfast in its commitment to being a reliable developmental partner in sharing its expertise with developmental partner countries. Our principals in this cooperation are of equality, mutual respect for sovereignty, respect of action and choice. It stems from solidarity for mutual learning for shared and sustainable growth,” he said.
ITEC Programme Officer, Mr. Vijayakumar K. explained that the fully funded bilateral assistance programme has evolved and grown over the years. Under ITEC and its sister programme Special Commonwealth African Assistance Programme (SCAAP), 160 countries in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, as well as Pacific and Small Island countries are invited to share in the Indian developmental experience, acquired over the six decades of the country’s existence as a free nation.
In recent years, ITEC resources have also been used for cooperation programmes conceived in regional and inter-regional context, such as the Economic Commission for Africa, Industrial Development Unit of Commonwealth Secretariat, UNIDO, the Group of 77 and G-15.
Its activities have also been associated with regional and multilateral organizations and cooperation groupings like the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC), African Union (AU), Afro-Asian Rural Development Organization (AARDO), Pan African Parliament, Caribbean Community (CARICOM), World Trade Organization (WTO) and Indian Ocean Rim - Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) and India-Africa Forum Summit.
Minister of Education, Dr. Nicolette Henry and Minister of Public Telecommunications Mrs. Catherine Hughes also attended the event.