Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Keith Rowley is expected to be in Guyana next week Wednesday (September 12) to sign a major Memorandum of Understanding on Energy. According to Dr. Rowley, the MoU will pave the way for Trinidadian firms to “fully participate” in Guyana’s oil sector.

But the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) is disquieted by this. According to GCCI’s President, Deodat Indar, “It is sad that Guyanese have to learn about this MoU from TT officials and it is worse that we have no clue what is in this MoU.”

Given the aforementioned, Indar called for the Government to put a hold on the agreement. He believes that there could be dire implications for the private sector if there is no consultation.  “It could mean the end of the private sector,” he worryingly posited.

At a press conference held earlier today, the GCCI President said, “We need to see what this MoU has in it. We need to see what kinds of words were used and what promises were made. And I believe that we have a right to see it because the Chamber has 220 members who cut cheques almost every day to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) so that the government can do its work. Depending on the wording of the MoU, the government could be opening the floodgates to abuse.”

Also expressing fear of the unknown was GCCI’s Junior Vice President and Chairman of its Trade and Investment Committee, Timothy Tucker. The businessman said that the Chamber is not “Anti-TT” but for years, there has been an unleveled playing field between Guyana and TT. In this regard, he said that TT in 2015 used its 1935 laws to seize a shipment of honey that was in transit from Guyana to a Leeward island.”

According to TT’s laws, honey produced outside of TT should not be within 100 meters of its shores.

Tucker said, “Lots of items are transshipped through TT but just imagine they used an old law to keep us off. They promised they would make the necessary amendments before the year is out and they have not lifted a finger. Now we have the government of Guyana that is willing to sign this agreement without considering the implications for us.”

The GCCI Chairman added, “We are not blocking them or saying they can’t come here to invest but open your doors as well so we can come to your shores and supply you with our products.  TT also blocked shipments of coconut water from entering their territory too. Other CARICOM nations have been the same way with us…All I am saying is, you can’t block us for years and then expect us to be the saviour now. There must be a fair exchange.”

Indar and Tucker reiterated that the nation deserves to know the content of the MoU and they will continue to lobby for it to be made public.


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