Guyana’s President, Dr Irfaan Ali today called for a better working relationship between the United States of America and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), especially in understanding and respecting the policies of the Region.
In a virtual discussion with the Vice President of the USA, Her Excellency Kamala Harris, the Guyanese Head of State spoke about the “strong and strengthened relationship” between the US and Guyana, but he also called for more trust and better coordination at both the country-to-country level and between the US and CARICOM.
“There is an absolute need for the building of trust—trust in our policy formulation, and trust and predictability in what we do; trust in the partnership that we seek to endeavour and this trust, I think, must lead to an institutional arrangement, outside of the annual meeting that will allow us to address some very key issues—energy and climate change being two of them.”
The President joined the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley in Bridgetown for the virtual meeting, where he also called for the need to address international taxation policies, the future direction of those policies and the possibility of their severe impact on the Region’s economies.
“Many of our countries are facing a disproportionate application of international regulation and laws.”
CARICOM AND FOSSIL FUELS
President Ali also spoke extensively on climate change and fossil fuels. He said that while the world is heading in the direction of reducing its dependence on fossil fuels, locking out new suppliers can create a monopoly for those who are currently involved in the oil industry.
“The question is, if you’re locking out new suppliers, it is to whose advantage? We can be very well creating a monopoly for those who are already in the business, who have already extracted this natural resource and developed their own jurisdiction.”
He said that this is an issue that requires an “in-depth conversation” and that the region “must be part of that conversation in defining this policy going forward”.
The President also spoke about Guyana’s standing forest, which stores 19.5 gigatonnes of carbon and is worth US$500b. He said that the annual revenue the country should receive from carbon credits stands at US$200m.
On the matter of climate change, adaptation and mitigation, the President explained that forested countries, such as Guyana, are not prioritised.
He said that Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson assured him this week that “he is spearheading an effort” to ensure that standing forests become a priority.
“I think this need also to be on the [US] agenda.”
The issue of climate change, according to President Ali, requires stronger conversations, especially when it comes to financial pledges from developed nations.
The President also spoke about energy sustainability, food security and regional security and about the bolstered relationship between Guyana and the US.
“The US is playing a major role in the development of our energy sector from the private sector’s perspective and I must say, at the diplomatic level, the representation locally has also helped us.”
President Ali stopped in Barbados while returning to Guyana from a four-day visit to the United Kingdom.