GEORGETOWN, Guyana, (DPI) – Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago are advancing bilateral cooperation on energy, food security, and climate change, among other areas. This follows a series of meetings held in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, where president Dr Irfaan Ali is on a state visit.
President Ali and his Trinidadian counterpart prime minister, Dr Keith Rowley, held a joint press conference on Thursday, where the strengthening of the partnership between the countries was re-emphasised.
President Ali said the two Caribbean Community (CARICOM) states share a strong cultural bond.
“What we are working on is an agenda through which we can build a sustainable pathway that would bring prosperity, and opportunities that will advance the interest of the people of both Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana. We are not here to create an environment in which one party see themselves as winners”, Dr Ali said.
The intention is to create and advance institutions that see both countries developing strategically, he asserted.
Speaking on the energy sector, president Ali underscored that there are tremendous opportunities for both nations. He said there has to be a strategic approach to build out a solid path toward energy sustainability, resilience, and reliance for the CARICOM region.
“This is a big part of our agenda with the US too … so that we can have a pathway to energy security that includes and involve all the assets that we have within the region. Our Human assets, our technological assets, our experience and also our natural resources,” he stated.
As the partnership continues in the hospitality sector, the Head of State noted that Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago will continue to push the tourism industry, and focus heavily on trade opportunities. Guyana’s tourism minister, Oneidge Walrond, and her Trinidad and Tobago counterpart will soon pursue a path that will see the development of new products for existing markets.
Additionally, president Ali noted that the countries are also weighing the options to minimise the cost of air transportation.
Locally, the government has been working to equip the sector with all the capital necessary to develop and upskill Guyana’s human resources to meet the demands of the rapidly growing economy.
Meanwhile, Dr Ali underscored that there is no luxury of time to advance the issue of food security. He added that food security is not only important from a price perspective.
“You could have the money but you don’t have the food. We are seeing in many developed countries many empty shelves,” he added, “too that the twin island has a sophisticated manufacturing and ago-processing industry, along with the advantage of energy cost.”
Since taking office, the PPP/C administration has implemented policies to build the resilience of the agriculture sector as it remains steadfast against all challenges.
Several investments have been made to ensure farmers and agro-processors have access to more market opportunities, and consumers have access to more affordable food.
Additionally, the National Agriculture and Research Extension Institute (NAREI) was allocated $1.27 billion in budget 2022 – a $34 million increase from 2021 – to further diversify the production base and ensure Guyana’s food security.
Similarly, president Ali noted that Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago are the least contributors to climate change, but are still among the countries significantly affected.
“In Guyana, we have 19.5 gigatons of carbon … if we deployed this asset with the blue economy and look at what we are doing in both countries in preserving the environment, we can be part of a solution in relation to climate change,” Dr Ali highlighted the push to build the productive capacity which will ensure that the input is there to optimise production.
President Ali added that the two countries are putting together their efforts to remove non-tariff barriers and provide more access to technology and education.
Furthermore, he contended that the overall aim is to ensure the right policy and framework are developed and put in place to support investments, local farmers, the regional trade system and the logistics industry.
Additionally, Dr Ali stressed that “hard decisions” must be made to confront the challenges facing the world. He added that the approach will leave a sustainable pathway for the development and future prosperity of the two country’s people.
The intense developmental talks followed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, Hugh Todd and his Trinidadian counterpart, Dr Amery Browne, on May 22.
It provides for renewed and enhanced cooperation in the areas of trade and investment.
It is also expected to address non-tariff barriers and other impediments to the flow of goods and services, while pursuing enhanced cooperation in agriculture and food security, energy, infrastructure, security, tourism, education, sport and culture. The agreement will also look to enhance the sustainable and resilient development of the two countries and advance the CARICOM single market and economy.