Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley is set to visit Guyana this week to sign the much talked about Memorandum of Understanding on Energy.
According to a statement from Guyana’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday, Dr. Keith Rowley is scheduled to visit the South American country on September 19 and 20.
“During the visit, Prime Minister Rowley and President David Granger will discuss a wide range of matters of interest to both States, including energy sector cooperation, agriculture and security. Their meeting will be followed by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Energy Sector Cooperation between Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago,” the statement said.
News of the signing of the MoU surfaced two weeks ago resulting in calls from sections of Guyana’s business community for authorities in the country to review the intent of the document. The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) held a press conference on September 5 during which its President, Deodat Indar, said any agreement with the Trinidad government in the absence of a local content policy or legislation is a potentially dangerous move that can have far-reaching negative effects on the business community and the country.
Indar’s concerns were triggered by a statement made by Dr. Rowley on September 4 in Trinidad, where he said the MoU will open the way for Trinidad businesses to benefit from oil and gas opportunities in Guyana. The Chamber has said that while it is not against foreign investment, it wants to see a framework in place for local content that would guide how foreign companies operating in the country treat with local businesses.
However, Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge has since said the soon to be signed document is a routine non-binding MoU not unlike those signed before with the twin island republic. The Foreign Ministry said in its statement that the MoU will outline a number of sector-specific areas of possible cooperation between the two countries and will be publicized when it has been signed.
Five Ministers of the Trinidad and Tobago Government are expected to accompany the Prime Minister to Guyana. This working visit is part of ongoing efforts to foster greater dialogue aimed at strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two CARICOM Member States.