The just ended Guyana trade fair in Barbados should act as a motivation for increased commerce between the CARICOM neighbours, said Guyana’s Consul General to Barbados, Michael Brotherson. This view was endorsed by that island’s Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Trade, Charles Burnett.
Brotherson bemoaned a reduction of trade in food items between the two countries. This is happening against the backdrop of a growing Caribbean food-import bill of items from out of the region.
“There has been a decline in the export of agricultural products, especially fresh produce, from Guyana to Barbados in the three years preceding 2013,” he said.
“It is therefore my fervent wish that this exposition will prove an apt reminder of what is available in Guyana”.
He described the two-day Guyana, Craft, Tourism, and Trade Exposition that ended on Sunday as “another timely opportunity for the peoples of Guyana and Barbados to embrace each other and further cement the foundation for our mutual and long-term benefit “.
Barbados’s Burnett said that trade between Guyana and Barbados stood at approximately Bds$50 million (Bds$1 = 50 cents US) last year, adding that there is much reason to encourage an increase in this volume.
The exhibition, held at the Guyana Consulate, was predominated by a range of furniture items, crafted from this country’s various insect-resistant hard wood. There were also a range of Wicker Rattan furniture, straw items, blends of spices and fruit drinks.
Burnett recalled being in Guyana last October during Guy-Expo, and what he said convinced him “that the countries of CARICOM can easily look first to our neighbours for many of the products and services we consume on a daily basis”.
Addressing Guyanese, Barbadians and members of the diplomatic corps at the
exhibition, Burnett noted that there exists between the Barbados and Guyana a deep relationship, which he said is characterised by steadfast friendship and shared aspirations.
“It was on that basis that the agreement for the deepening for bilateral relations between our governments was signed by the two countries in 2002,” Burnett said at the Consulate’s Sefton Lodge residence.
“This agreement was forged with the objective of among other things, boosting cooperation in the areas of trade, investment, marine affairs, tourism, air services, education, agriculture, sports, culture and youth affairs.”
Burnett said that out of the agreement was established a joint commission, the second meeting of which was attended by Minister of Foreign Affairs an Foreign Trade, Maxine McLean, in early October in Guyana.
At this meeting the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) negotiated a memorandum of understanding with counterpart, Guyana Office for Investment, for strengthening ventures and trade. That MOU currently awaits final approval signature by the BIDC board.
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