The emergence of Guyana and Suriname as key energy producers in CARICOM has the potential to significantly increase cross-border trade, investment, and regional prosperity. However, Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, is warning that this will only be successful if there is a strong collective adherence to the rule of law.
In her address at the inaugural Caribbean Virtual Oil and Gas Summit (CARIVS) on Wednesday, Prime Minister Mottley spoke of the importance of adherence to international rules and orders, particularly at this time when countries face major challenges.
“We have found that our steadfast commitment to international order and rules at this nervous moment has strengthened our international friendships and relationships at the regional, national and individual levels,” she said. “Barbados, my friends, has become a trusted regional hub for the provision of emergency supplies. Our development partners have readily offered assistance.”
Multilateralism, she said, is under threat, while nationalism is back. However, she made it clear that Barbados stands against this tide and respects international law and jurisdiction.
“Respect for the post war compact, for international law, equal treatment and level playing field, once common…are sadly becoming rare,” she noted.
The story of international law of cross border trade and investment, she said, is intertwined with oil and gas. “For these reasons, I suspect we have long attracted the relatively small number of regional treasury and holding companies of several oil and gas firms with operations in neighbouring countries. Now that Guyana and Suriname are becoming significant energy exporters, we expect more.”
Guyana became an oil producing nation last December and has an estimated 8 billion barrels plus of oil equivalent resources offshore. Suriname has so far had three significant offshore discoveries and is poised to join Guyana as another regional oil producer.