Guyana signs agreement to boost trade with Belize


Guyana and Belize have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)which will see enhanced cooperation in food security and trade between the two countries.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, President Dr Irfaan Ali said that the MoU is not only the signing of an agreement but “it is the sealing of exceptional personal relationships and commitment translated into national good”.

Referring to the “coalition of the willing”, a term used at Caricom’s 33rd Inter-Sessional Heads of Government Meeting, which was held in Belize earlier this year, President Ali on Thursday evening said that discussions entitled understanding the “possibilities and understanding the possibilities of each individual country that makes up Caricom is critical”, adding that “Belize, for example, opens up tremendous doors for us in the support of Guatemala, for our sugar sector; Mexico; Honduras”.

He added that in expanding Guyana’s diplomatic work and reach in network to those countries, Belize is a natural ally in helping Guyana to mobilise understanding of the policies his Government is driving.

“Guyana is transitioning in terms of its international image and Belize is not only part of the Caricom community but also part of that integrated whole through which Guyana can advance its cause and Belize can advance their cause,” President Ali said.

Meanwhile, in a joint communiqué issued on Thursday evening, it was outlined that the leaders – President Ali and the Prime Minister of Belize, John Antonio Briceño – engaged in substantive discussions on agriculture and food security, in the context of Guyana and Belize being mainland countries in the Caribbean Community. It also stated that both Heads of State agreed to the importance of strengthening agriculture and food security to mitigate the growing food crisis and provide lasting solutions to the challenge of food and nutrition security in their countries and the wider Community. In that context, they exchanged views on practical ways to advance the regional objective of decreasing the food import bill by 25 per cent by the year 2025.

Discussions were held on regional and international challenges including the protracted effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of the ongoing economic recovery, climate change, and existing geopolitical tensions.

According to the joint communiqué, both leaders committed to collaborating and sharing experiences and expertise in designing policies to promote economic, social and cultural advancement of their Indigenous peoples. They also agreed that Belize and Guyana would share best practices and expertise in tourism as Guyana moves to further develop its tourism industry.

Additionally, Prime Minister Briceño and President Ali also agreed on the urgency and value of deepening bilateral ties within Caricom. Both leaders reaffirmed their firm reciprocal support for the efforts towards the preservation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of their countries.

Prime Minister Briceño and his delegation also held discussions with Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo and Tourism Minister Oneidge Walrond along with other Ministers.

Prime Minister Briceño was visiting Guyana at the invitation of President Ali, from July 5 to July 8.

The Belize delegation, along with a delegation from Guyana, also visited Boa Vista, the capital of the State of Roraima, Brazil. There the delegations were hosted by Governor of the State of Roraima, Antonio Denarium.

Discussions were held with the Governor and members of the business community on potential exports of agricultural products from Roraima into Caricom and beyond.