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Barbados and Guyana are seeking to establish a relationship that could be used as a developmental model to transform the Caribbean.
Speaking during the opening ceremony of Agrofest in Barbados held at Queen’s Park, The City, President Irfaan Ali said the type of collaboration both countries needed to tackle security threats would require unification and innovation. In order for this plan to work, Ali said Barbadians and Guyanese could no longer see themselves as competitors but “as a singular collective”.
“The relationship that we are building between Guyana and Barbados is to bring economic prosperity to both countries. We are not looking at winning in one area or creating a situation where we are carving out an area for you and an area for Guyana. That is not what we want. We want a holistic approach to this relationship so that we create economic prosperity in every sector and in everything that we do together as one country, Guyana and Barbados,” he said.
Meanwhile, the food import bill in Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states, may be reduced by up to 25 per cent in 2025 due to the establishment of the Guyana/Barbados food terminal in Barbados. This is according to the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley who was speaking during a joint press conference on Friday with the Prime minister of Dominican Roosevelt Skerrit. Mottley said the investment in such a facility will allow for the movement of food from countries that are involved in mass agriculture production.
“We got to perfect the logistics, and we believe that the investment in the Guyana/Barbados food terminal will be critical. We have the plans and the numbers we are working on,” Mottley stated.
Mottley added that she will convene a meeting shortly with financial institutions to deliberate on the establishment of the terminal, and other projects to ensure that affordable capital is available to state entities, and private sector individuals to be able to expand production and undertake logistics.
Addressing the issue of the movement of goods and services within the region, Mottley stated that the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has agreed to take the lead in this regard to see how the issue could be resolved.
“We have been talking and talking, but the opportunities simply (have) not been there, and I think that urgency of what we have been facing with inflation, particularly as it relates to food means that everybody knows that we got to get on board, and get this right.”
Mottley said the trade barriers within the region must also be addressed, as they have been significantly affecting the movement of produce.
“We hope that the next heads of government meeting we can go and sit down without all of the fanfares, without all of the frills and just attack the top barriers in the same way that President Ali has done for us, a clear framework to take the top 10 items that we want to be able to have total capacity to produce without importing, and we are hoping to do that in terms of industrial policy too.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Skerrit commended the Guyana Government for spearheading such a timely and important forum where practical issues are discussed and addressed. The investment forum and expo, which is being held under the theme: “Investing in Vision 25 by 2025” has brought together CARICOM leaders and other regional stakeholders to engage in informed dialogue on how agriculture investment could be encouraged. (CMC)