Guyana Chamber tells President Ali to blank T&T with MoU /

There are calls for the Guyana gov­ern­ment to block a pro­posed Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing with Trinidad and To­ba­go?

Guyana’s George­town Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try has made the call, say­ing it dis­agrees with the Guyanese gov­ern­ment’s move and urg­ing against any sign­ing un­til non-tar­iff bar­ri­ers that T&T al­leged­ly have in place against Guyana are re­moved.

The cham­ber stat­ed this po­si­tion yes­ter­day, not­ing that such bar­ri­ers pre­vent ex­ports from Guyanese busi­ness­es and in­hib­it the growth of Guyanese en­ter­pris­es.

The Guyanese Cham­ber’s view fol­lowed Tues­day’s de­vel­op­ment where Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley met with Guyana Pres­i­dent Dr Mo­hamed Ir­faan Ali and both pledged to deep­en ties be­tween the two coun­tries.

Row­ley and a team of three min­is­ters are cur­rent­ly in Guyana for Guyana’s Agri-In­vest­ment Ex­po, which starts to­day.

On Tues­day, the Of­fice of the Prime Min­is­ter in T&T had stat­ed that Row­ley and Ali had en­gaged in broad, ex­ten­sive bi­lat­er­al talks and pledged to deep­en ties be­tween Guyana and T&T. Dis­cus­sions fo­cused specif­i­cal­ly on agri­cul­ture, en­er­gy and na­tion­al se­cu­ri­ty.

A Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing (MoU) cov­er­ing these key ar­eas is be­ing fi­nalised, the OPM added.

But yes­ter­day’s state­ment from the George­town Cham­ber, head­ed by Tim­o­thy Tuck­er, stat­ed the cham­ber’s dis­agree­ment with the MoU ac­tion by Guyana’s gov­ern­ment.

The George­town Cham­ber stat­ed, «The George­town Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try (GC­CI) is cog­nisant of the gov­ern­ment of Guyana’s in­tent to es­tab­lish and sign a Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing (MoU) with the gov­ern­ment of Trinidad and To­ba­go.»

The cham­ber not­ed that ac­cord­ing to re­ports, the tar­get ar­eas for the MoU are in­tend­ed to be agri­cul­ture, en­er­gy and na­tion­al se­cu­ri­ty.

How­ev­er, the Cham­ber said it «wish­es to ex­press its dis­agree­ment with this ac­tion by the gov­ern­ment of Guyana. The cham­ber’s con­cern comes in light of the fact that there are still many non-tar­iff bar­ri­ers (NTBs) im­ple­ment­ed by Trinidad and To­ba­go against Guyana.»

«These NTBs pre­vent ex­ports from Guyanese busi­ness­es and, by ex­ten­sion, in­hib­it the growth of Guyanese en­ter­pris­es. Ac­cord­ing­ly, the Cham­ber of Com­merce, as it did in 2018 with a pre­vi­ous MoU of a sim­i­lar na­ture, strong­ly urges the gov­ern­ment to re­frain from sign­ing any MoU with Trinidad and To­ba­go un­til these non-tar­iff bar­ri­ers are re­moved,» the cham­ber said.

«Be­ing the old­est and largest pri­vate-sec­tor rep­re­sen­ta­tion or­gan­i­sa­tion in Guyana, it is our man­date to en­sure that the con­cerns of the en­ter­pris­es that have con­tin­u­ous­ly ex­pressed dif­fi­cul­ties as it re­lates to do­ing busi­ness in and with Trinidad and To­ba­go are voiced.

«The Cham­ber of Com­merce, there­fore, re­it­er­ates its dis­agree­ment with this ac­tion by the Gov­ern­ment of Guyana and, once again, urges that these long-stand­ing NTBs be re­moved.»

Guyana Tourism, In­dus­try and Com­merce Min­is­ter Onei­dge Wal­rond didn’t an­swer Guardian Me­dia calls on the is­sue yes­ter­day.

For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Hugh Todd al­so wasn’t avail­able.

A Guyana gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial said the query on the cham­ber’s state­ment was sent to the For­eign Af­fairs Min­istry.

For­mer Unit­ed Na­tion­al Con­gress MP Gan­ga Singh, who is Trade Di­rec­tor at Guyana’s Port-of-Spain con­sulate, didn’t re­spond on the is­sue ei­ther. Singh is lead­ing a del­e­ga­tion to the Agri-Fo­rum.

Mean­while, Trade and In­dus­try Min­is­ter Paula Gopee-Scoon yes­ter­day de­clined com­ment on the NTB mat­ter, point­ing out that the Prime Min­is­ter and oth­er min­is­ters are on the ground in Guyana and she was cer­tain there would be bi­lat­er­al talks on all ar­eas.

Row­ley didn’t re­ply to What­sApp queries on the mat­ter. Nor did For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Amery Browne, who is al­so in Guyana with the PM.

New­ly-ap­point­ed T&T High Com­mis­sion­er to Guyana, Con­rad Enill, was al­so un­avail­able.


LINK ORIGINAL: The Trinidad Guardian