The Private Sector Commission (PSC) of Guyana and the Suriname Trade and Industry Association held the first meeting of the Guyana-Suriname business council in Paramaribo after it was formed to tackle several broad, ambitious cooperation objectives.
The council consists of 10 members – five from each side. In its first year of operation, Brian Renten from Suriname will act as Chairman for the first six months, while Guyana’s Paul Cheong will chair the council for the other six.
The two sides had signed a Memorandum of Understanding in January to pursue this partnership.
They intend to promote trade, industry and investment to promote economic growth, and improve competitiveness among themselves through innovation and entrepreneurship.
They have also resolved to partner in skills development in education and workforce development, and to promote information and communications technology development.
Much like the ambitions of their respective governments, the private sector leaders plan to push for an enabling environment for the secure and efficient movement of goods. They also want to promote joint ventures.
There is consensus that the private sectors of both countries should be involved in climate mitigation and adaptation efforts, including by promoting the energy transition away from harmful energy sources to cleaner ones.
The council also intends to share agriculture research, promote tourism and seek to provide financing for large public-private partnerships with mutual benefits.
During its time together in Paramaribo, the council members met with President of Suriname, Chandrikapersad Santokhi.
The next meeting is expected within a fortnight for discussions on meeting these goals.
Notably, leading officials from both countries have visited each other in the past year, with major cooperation agreements signed.
Both Guyana and Suriname intend to cooperate in oil and gas development, and other major sectors, given the windfall they both expect from the extraction of their newfound offshore petroleum resources.