We are going to make decisions today for a better tomorrow—President Ali

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Surinamese President Chandrikapersad Santokhi and Guyanese President Dr Irfaan Ali

President Dr Irfaan Ali this afternoon said that among the objectives of bilateral discussions with the Surinamese President, Chandrikapersad Santokhi and Government officials from both sides are to reduce existing gaps and barriers and to create opportunities for cooperation.

The President noted that the objective of the enhanced collaboration is geared towards improving the lives of the countries’ citizens through social and economic benefits.

The Head of State made these remarks at the plenary session held at the Arthur Chung Conference Center today.

“We are not on a time-wasting exercise. We are going to make decisions today for a better tomorrow, and we are going to advance at a very rapid pace from today in relation to all the commitments and decisions that we will take.”

Prior to the commencement of the plenary session, the two Heads of State and their respective Ministers of Foreign Affairs met to advance discussions in several areas encompassing a number of sectors.

In providing an overview of that consultation, President Ali said that new areas of collaboration were discussed, including the environment, the oil and gas sector and the likelihood of establishing a common gas strategy for Guyana and Suriname.

“As you are aware, both parties here have similarities and have similar challenges and opportunities in relation to the environment. Both of us also have to manage an emerging oil and gas sector in the context of our credentials on the environment and climate change. So, that is a new area that we have added.”

In addition, the two Presidents also discussed local content and the legislation governing local content policy, tourism, and linkages between Suriname, Guyana and Brazil, infrastructure, agriculture and trade and enhanced security.

In his opening remarks, His Excellency President Santokhi expressed his appreciation for the warm welcome extended to him and his delegation.

He acknowledged that the engagement allows for the advancement of important discussions between the two countries.

“President, this visit offers an excellent opportunity to evaluate the progress of bilateral cooperation within the context of this dialogue and cooperation platform established a year ago.”

He reiterated the importance of Guyana as a neighbour as well as a strategic partner.

The Surinamese delegation included Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Cooperation (BIBIS), Ambassador Albert R. Ramdin; Minister of Natural Resources, David Abiamofo; Minister of Agriculture, Animal and Husbandry and Fisheries,  Parmanand Sewdien; Minister of Public Works, Raid Nurmohamed; Minister of Transport, Communication and Tourism, Albert E. Jubithana; Managing Director of the State Oil Company Suriname and Advisor to the Government of Suriname, Annand K.R. Jagesar

Guyana’s delegation at the plenary session included Senior Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh; Minister of Health and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (ag) Dr Frank Anthony; Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn; Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha; Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill; Minister of Tourism Industry and Commerce, Oneidge Walrond; Foreign Secretary Robert Persaud; Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mrs Elisabeth Harper; Guyana’s resident Ambassador to Suriname, Mr Keith George and representatives from the Office of the President.