[www.inewsguyana.com] – Trinidad and Tobago Agriculture Minister is expected to lead a delegation to Guyana before the end of this month, with the hope of finalising the agriculture land deal between the two Caribbean nations.
According to Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, his ministry is currently working out the dates for the delegation to travel and meet.
During that meeting, it is expected that the two ministers will conclude where the visiting team’s interests are, and will allow for both countries to decide on the locations for the land.
“The land will most likely not be at one location, given the fact that the location of land will depend on the crops they are interested in.”
Minister Ramsammy said he was happy to see that very critical steps were being concluded now under this deal.
“It is important for people to realise that while these two governments made that agreement under the Jagdeo Initiative, we are strong in ensuring that the two governments play a facilitating and accommodating role for the private sector.”
The Minister pointed out that the economy of Guyana at this time is driven by the private sector.
“All of our governments have persisted with the notion of the private sector driving the economy. Agriculture has always been almost in control of the private sector…and therefore this agreement is focused on utilising the private sector to take advantage of the initiative for us to advance Guyana and CARICOM’s agriculture.”
The Minister pointed out that this project will pattern the Santa Fe rice project in Region 9, which can be considered the first and largest agriculture project under the Jagdeo initiative.
In the interim, the Minister said he has been advised that the Trinidadian partners have already sought to mobilise investors to utilise the ten thousand acres of land that Guyana had agreed and continue to have interest for Trinidad to develop.
“The two ministers have been meeting over a period of time that resulted in the MOU in early 2013. This MOU has been featured in the budget debates in Trinidad in 2013 and 2014. There are a number of things we have done as part of that agreement.”
Further, the Trinidadian government undertook to mobilise its private sector to come to Guyana and make use of the land provided as it was partly intended to produce crops for products which that country at present imports from outside the Caribbean.
“The intention is to use Guyana as an export base to Trinidad and Tobago so whilst technically it will still be importing, it would be doing so from businesses owned by Trinidadians, and therefore retain the regional movement of integrating the economy.”
Last September, Guyana and Trinidad signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the release of land to investors and farmers of the twin island republic. The agreement addresses several areas including programmes and activities, core areas of cooperation, monitoring and coordinating mechanism, mutual responsibility, commitments and rights and obligations. [Extracted and modified from GINA]