Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) has seen a stagnation in its oil-based economy in recent years and with little to no new investment opportunities, its businessmen are now flocking the hemisphere’s newest Oil and Gas (O&G) hot-spot—neighbouring Guyana.
So says former T&T Energy Minister, Kevin Ramnarine who on Wednesday, September 11, lamented the state of affairs.
He was at the time a guest on a Globespan 24X7 panel discussion on Guyana’s emerging O&G sector and its opportunities. He was joined by former T&T Prime Minister, Basdeo Panday.
Moderated by Yog Mahadeo, Ramnarine was asked to give his views on Trinidadian sentiments, in light of the massive discoveries by its Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) immediate neighbour—Guyana.
According to the former Energy Minister, announcements by airlines JetBlue that it will be servicing the Guyana route, in addition to American Airlines adding the route to its destinations, “are signals that things are beginning to change in the Caribbean…It is no secret that T&T businessmen are looking for opportunities.”
He said the investment climate in T&T has subsided to the point where the investors are turning elsewhere and that many have begun exploring, and are in fact establishing linkages with Guyanese businesses.
“Many have come to Guyana,” he said.
According to the Ramnarine, “if you look at comments on social media, people in T&T by and large are very happy for Guyanese.”
The former minister’s disclosure came just hours after the Guyana Government confirmed an escalation in its overall issuance of work permits and visas for persons involved in the O&G sector.
Guyana’s Minister of Citizenship, Winston Felix, earlier in the day met with reporters for a press conference and divulged that hundreds of requests are being received daily.
Government, he said, has since begun exploring ways of expediting the process for persons in the O&G sector and gave as an example, the fact many persons simply arrive in Guyana to board a helicopter and travel offshore.