Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago are working closely to renew and advance cooperation in a number of key areas including trade and investment, addressing non-tariff barriers and other hindrances to the flow of goods and services between the two CARICOM nations.
The trade restriction talks have made headway with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd, M.P, and his Trinidadian counterpart, Hon. Dr. Amery Browne.
His Excellency, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali and Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley witnessed the signing ceremony, at State House on Sunday.
With a high focus on developing a strategic partnership to benefit both countries, and ultimately CARICOM, the agreement will drive teamwork in agriculture and food security, energy, infrastructure, security, education, tourism, sports and culture.
A high-level bilateral commission will be established within three months comprising representatives of both the public and private sectors, to oversee the implementation of the pact.
During a joint media conference, Dr. Ali said the private sector and investors of both countries must be part of the food sustainability drive, which he believes, will lead to tremendous prosperity.
President Ali said Trinidad and Tobago will take on an aggressive implementation with an immediate follow-up in August on decisions and policy types required for driving the food system.
“Not only by achieving the 25 by 2025 [target], but more importantly…developing a model, a framework through which the entire agri-food system will evolve into to a mainstream economic and social activity, backed by political, will and inclusive of the private sector participation.”
Farmers and other agriculturists are chief among the private stakeholders, Dr. Ali emphasised, noting that the main focus is a joint commitment to secure the future of people in both nations “…by working together, by the partnership, looking at joint opportunities, looking at low hanging fruits and developing a medium to long- term pathway through which we will enjoy success for Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago,” the President stated.
Further, he pointed out that the approach is way beyond the two nations being neighbours or countries within a community.
Meanwhile, PM Dr. Rowley said there is an essential need for a shift in the investment pattern within the Caribbean to help remove the nations from the external pressures.
“We have to bring together our technical expertise which we have here in Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago and elsewhere in CARICOM,” he noted.
“We are limited only by our own vision and our own commitment to do what has to be done. Once we commit ourselves to do what has to be done, to improve our circumstances, nothing would prevent us from achieving success,” Dr. Rowley emphasised.
He said the recently concluded Agri-Investment Forum and Expo have demonstrated that bilateral elements of Caricom can find solutions to issues within member states.