President Dr Irfaan Ali says that the Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) signed between Guyana and the Dominican Republic this week are going to create significant value for both countries, positioning them as leaders in food and energy security beyond the Caribbean region.
President Ali, who is leading a delegation to the Dominican Republic for an official visit, said the MoUs allow the states to demonstrate their “collective resolve in addressing some of the major crises our region and the world is facing today.”
The MoUs will see bilateral engagements and collaboration in areas of agriculture, tourism, and in the oil and gas industry, including the establishment of an oil refinery, a petrochemical plant and a study for participation in Guyana’s Oil Exploration Block.
“The value creations in these agreements are enormous. The value creation, of course, would lead to job creation. And not only the issue of job creation should be looked at in the value of jobs. But we’re talking about specialized jobs, more highly skilled jobs, that will be created out of these joint initiatives,” president Ali underscored.
This partnership, according to Ali, will see the transfer of technology, knowledge, and the integration of markets, food systems and agriculture portfolios. He explained that “there’ll be no conversation on food security, especially in this region, without the two countries being a part of it.”
Similarly, on the energy security front, the Guyanese Head of State said the collaboration between the two countries will allow them to be leaders, forging an alliance through which investment and expertise from the Dominican Republic will finance and support the necessary infrastructure in Guyana.
Explaining the potential benefits of the agreements, President Ali said the energy market will not only be between the two countries and the Caribbean region but will expand to northern Brazil, where there is a substantial market.
“So now, with the technology you have, with the capital you have, and with these MoUs, that possibility becomes very real…”
Meanwhile, the president highlighted that alongside efforts towards achieving these goals, discussions have also focused on security cooperation between the two nations. The Guyana Defence Force and the Guyana Police Force have initiated engagements with their Dominican Republic counterparts to explore opportunities for increased collaboration.
His Excellency was keen to point out that even as several areas for partnerships have been identified, this “relationship is one that will expand – it is one that will grow stronger and stronger.”
He revealed that there has been a significant increase in trade as imports of products between the two countries have been climbing, signalling a positive in the partnership.
President Ali noted that the relationship between Guyana and the Dominican Republic “is built on sustainability, resilience, and a thorough understanding as to the challenges we both face, now and in the future, as to countries, but more importantly, as a region.”
The identification of the common values, understanding and the need for advancing development, His Excellency said, are pillars which have led to this accelerated partnership through which the people of both countries stand to benefit enormously.
President Ali highlighted that the Guyanese private sector will benefit significantly from the new partnerships, adding that with the agreements in place, Guyanese businesses will have new access to capital, technology, knowledge, and access to big markets and other opportunities. Another plus for the local private sector, His Excellency said, is “the commitment of both sides to remove all barriers and advance this relationship…”
“… In this new emerging relationship, it is important that we, at the level of government, send the right signal ensuring that both at the government level and the private sector level, we demonstrate a relationship that is built on trust, confidence, and tone that we set is imperative for the joint collaboration of our private sectors,” president Ali stressed.
Although Ali’s remarks were short on details, sources suggest that the Dominican Republic has agreed to lease up to 25,000 acres of land in Guyana for corn production. The political opposition has been quick to condemn the moves, saying that the accord will be harmful to agricultural producers within the Dominican Republic.
As the Dominican Republic is a net consumer of energy in the form of gasoline and cooking gas, agreements on long-term access to those products will evidently benefit the island nation.
The British Virgin Islands also recently sent a large trade delegation to Guyana to negotiate accords that include “food security” agreements, but so far the BVI government has kept mum on any agreements that have been reached other than that the BVI intends to lift the visa requirement currently in place for Guyanese travellers.
Source: DPI, Dominican Today.