Guyana could increase financial support to CARICOM from oil revenues – VP Greenidge

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Carl Greenidge , Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has not formally approached the Guyana Government regarding its increased contribution to the regional 13 member bloc of nations in light of its imminent influx of revenues from its oil and gas industry set to come on stream in 2020 but the country has not ruled out the notion in future.

This position was laid out by Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vice President Carl Greenidge on Monday, speaking on the sidelines of a meeting between Qatar’s plenipotentiary representative to Guyana, and Head of State President David Granger. The two nations have pledged increased cooperation in future in relation to the oil and gas industry.

Asked about a formal approach by the Secretariat, Vice President Greenidge reported, “the simple answer is no but I would not expect a responsible CARICOM Government to be demanding that you pay now in anticipation of revenues to appear in 2020 or beyond.”

The South American nation’s Vice President reminded that while the regional bloc of nations has not made any formal advances for increased contributions, “we have always contributed to CARICOM development in accordance with our own capacity.”

He recalled too for reporters following the swearing in ceremony at State House, “when Guyana was doing well economically and financially, Guyana went out of its way to lend support to the integration movement by way of both financing and personnel and this will continue.”

On the matter of future increase in its share of contribution to CARICOM, Vice President Greenidge said, “when we have resources in abundance and when we have more moderate availability of resources, it is a process….we are well aware of the needs of the region and we’ll help as best we can as time and resources permit.”

Guyana is among the founding Members of CARICOM with its Secretariat located within its borders – a regional bloc that has grown over the years to include 15 Member States (excluding five associate members), including neighbouring South American oil producer Suriname and a range of Caribbean Islands.

The bloc of nations is financed through annual contributions by Member States – Guyana now being the third oil producing member; Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago being the others.

Both countries have in recent years already expressed a formal interest in the emerging oil and gas sector in the public and private sectors and are fielding representatives at the country’s inaugural Petroleum Business Summit – GIPEX 2018 – in the coming weeks.

Speaking to the financial turmoil being experienced by CARICOM, the Guyanese Vice President was quick to point out these “are not as a result of failure by Guyana to make its contributions.”

He noted however, “as a general observation, let me say that much of the region; many countries in the region have encountered financial difficulties in recent years…As you know, since the recession of 2008 most countries have faced challenges and recently we have had continuing difficulties.”

Even those that have been buoyant over the years have been experiencing challenges in regards to investment, Mr. Greenidge said.