Guyana and its sister Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nation, Suriname, have initiated discussions on the likelihood of establishing a common strategy for the development of their oil and gas sectors.
“As you are aware, both parties here have similarities and have similar challenges and opportunities in relation to the environment. Both of us also have to manage an emerging oil and gas sector in the context of our credentials on the environment and climate change. So, that is a new area that we have added,” Guyana’s President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali explained during a plenary session with the Surinamese President Chandrikapersad Santohki and his senior government officials on Wednesday.
In addition, the two Presidents also discussed local content and the legislation governing local content policy, tourism, and linkages between Suriname, Guyana, and Brazil, infrastructure, agriculture, trade, and enhanced security. These discussions are aimed at reducing gaps and barriers in creating opportunities between the two countries.
President Ali noted that the objective of the enhanced collaboration is geared towards improving the lives of the countries’ citizens through social and economic benefits.
“We are not on a time-wasting exercise. We are going to make decisions today for a better tomorrow, and we are going to advance at a very rapid pace from today in relation to all the commitments and decisions that we will take,” the Guyanese Head of State assured.
Prior to the commencement of the plenary session, the two Heads of State and their respective Ministers of Foreign Affairs met to advance discussions in several areas encompassing a number of sectors.
In providing an overview of that discussion, President Ali said that new areas of collaboration were discussed, including the environment, the oil and gas sector, and the likelihood of establishing a common gas strategy for Guyana and Suriname.
Meanwhile, President Santokhi acknowledged that the engagement allows for the advancement of important discussions between the two countries.
“President, this visit offers an excellent opportunity to evaluate the progress of bilateral cooperation within the context of this dialogue and cooperation platform established a year ago,” Mr. Santokhi stated.
The Surinamese President also reiterated the importance of Guyana as a neighbour as well as a strategic partner.
The Surinamese delegation included Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Cooperation (BIBIS), Ambassador Albert Ramdin; Minister of Natural Resources, David Abiamofo; Minister of Agriculture, Animal and Husbandry and Fisheries, Parmanand Sewdien; Minister of Public Works, Raid Nurmohamed; Minister of Transport, Communication and Tourism, Albert Jubithana; Managing Director of the Staatsolie and Advisor to the Government of Suriname, Annand Jagesar.
Guyana’s delegation at the plenary session included Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh; Minister of Health and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (ag) Dr Frank Anthony; Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn; Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha; Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill; Minister of Tourism Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond; Foreign Secretary, Robert Persaud; Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Elisabeth Harper; Guyana’s resident Ambassador to Suriname, Keith George; and representatives from the Office of the President.