Welcome! Special invited guests all! And thank you so much for being here on this important day to celebrate the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
I want to talk to you today about what I think the British Embassy is here to do.
Don’t worry this won’t take long. It is very simple. It is about putting the best of our two countries together. It is about finding areas where we complement each other. It is about supporting each other where differences exist. But fundamentally it is about human contact and human relationships. I believe that people-to-people ties are going to determine the quality of our relationship for the future. So that is where we put our focus.
They also say that actions speak louder than words and I hope you will all agree that we are an Embassy of action.
British Week is a good example of what I mean. British Week’s aim is getting to know each other even better. It includes a variety of activities where Guatemalans and everything that is essentially British come together. It based on our analysis of the most pressing challenges and the most exciting opportunities.
For example, we’re working hand in hand with the authorities to address the issue of insecurity. We started British Week in Retalhuleu by encouraging young people to start street football leagues to combat the culture of violence. We also supported family values by bringing Guatemalans together around sports activities in the Parque Erick Barrondo. It was great to see cricket and rugby amongst the sports being played that day. I think my husband has just about recovered from being tackled by an enormous Guatemalan. A bit too much human contact.
Poverty and social exclusion also concern us. We’re using the funds from the British Ball to sponsor a project that works with children in the city dump. Not by just giving them things, but by showing them that there are more options out there for them to succeed as adults. I thank the companies who have given to that good cause.
British Week is also a reminder that Guatemala and the United Kingdom share a commitment to free trade, not interventionism; liberalisation of the economy, transparency, and corporate social responsibility and Human Rights. I want to thank the fabulous British NGOs and businesses that helped make our cross-sectoral networking event such a success. Also I hope our fashion show is one example of potential future British success in the Guatemalan market.
British Week is a reminder that what we’ve tried to build: An architecture that will stand the test of time.
You’re about to see a Guatemalan band playing British music. What a great combination! Rotz, the winners of our battle of bands, remind us that Guatemala is young country packed with talent and that British musicians have written some amazing songs. We hope our Embassy will continue to provide a platform for putting together the best of both our countries.
So thank you again, especially to the incredibly hard working, creative and dynamic Embassy team. I hope you all here present and many more will joins us in future British Weeks ahead.
In the year of her eighty seventh birthday, I’d like to propose a toast: “Her Majesty The Queen”.