The British High Commissioner to Guyana, Mrs. Jane Miller, in a Press Conference today announced that Guyanese will be privileged to travel visa-free to the United Kingdom starting from November 9, 2022.
Statement from Mrs. Jane Miller, British High Commissioner to Guyana
Your Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Permanent Secretary, Colleagues and Members of the Media. Thank you so much for being here. Today is a historic day for the UK-Guyana relations, and I’m delighted to inform you that as of the 9th of November, those with a valid Guyanese passport can visit the UK visa-free. Since the day I arrived 15 months ago, people have spoken to me about issues involving visas. President Ali, when he was in the UK earlier this year raised this with Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The people from the Private Sector, from civil society, from the media…many of you have talked to me about those visas.
So it’s a real pleasure to deliver this news today. And this visa-lift is a real sign of the confidence that the UK has in the growth of our relationship. And together with the direct flights that will be happening at the end of March with British airways, we believe this change is going to be transformative to our already strong relationship.
In mid-November, we’ll be having a trade mission here…where British businesses will be coming here to experience all the opportunities in this wonderful country. We hope that with this visa-lift, we look forward to welcoming many Guyanese businesses to the UK to explore further opportunities. I will hand over to His Excellency to say a few words. But it’s important for me to clarify just a few points. Those who want a long term visa of more than 180 days, or wanting to work, or study, or settle in the UK will still need to get a visa. So this is a visa lift for visitor’s visa for up to 6 months – 180 days. But this is great news for the UK-Guyana relationship. Thank you so very much for being here.
Statement of President Ali
High Commissioner, members of the media…. I want to share your sentiments in relation to the growth and expansion of the relationship between the UK and Guyana. As members of the media are aware, we’ve been working on the strengthening of this relationship. We’ve been working on the expansion of this relationship. We’ve had two visits to the UK. We’re hoping to also have a high level visit from the UK which we are pursuing. We’ve had exchange visits from mainstream private sector and individual private sector groups. Now the idea of this visa waver for visitors is not only about strengthening of the relationship and building economic opportunities between Guyana and the UK. But it is important also for people to people contact as we try to build our tourism market…expand our tourism market…especially in the UK. The UK has a very large bird-watching population. The UK population…they are very connected to nature. They love more eco-tourism product. Guyana has a very strong eco-tourism product. So this basically allows greater connectivity, greater contact, greater people to people contact…. It will not only do well for the expansion of trade and opening up new opportunities, but will do extremely well in bringing our people together, creating greater relationships, networking, among our people. I think these are critical elements in building a stronger relationship.
One of the things that we are hoping to achieve also with the UK, in addition with the direct flight, High Commissioner, is to see how we can have more UK financing for our infrastructure projects…our transformative projects. These days, it is getting very complex, the financial market, especially with the volatility that exists. And we are pursuing as you know…very very strong terms in favor of Guyana – fixed rate financing at less than 3%. That is how we’ve been pushing for financing. It’s difficult to achieve in this market, but still we are pursuing this.
There are some major transformative projects that we need to get done. And just like the XM bank of the US, the UK also has facility in which they build finance and transfer…. There is also export credits available, and we are pursuing these elements. One of the projects from the last trade mission that we are still pursuing is that of a new technology to build concrete drains in Guyana at a very fast pace. And you know the drainage system in Georgetown needs to be completely rehabilitated. We’ve committed to the upgrade of the drainage system in South Georgetown, and we are looking at the best technology available to do this in a very efficient manner. So today’s announcement comes with very hard work too….