Vice-President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, has renewed a cooperation agreement with Barbados that will see joint operation of tourism services in the two countries, and training of Guyanese in maritime engineering.
Greenidge on Friday signed the third Memorandum of Understanding for the Guyana/Barbados Joint Commission, with that country’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Maxine McLean.
This agreement will build on the last MOU, signed in 2013, that saw Barbadian students being able to study at the Guyana School of Agriculture, and Guyanese currently continuing tourism services and management studies at a premier Barbados hotel, Crane Resort.
In the one-day meeting, Guyanese and Barbadian officials reviewed progress made over the past two years and decided on additional future programmes.
“The review undertaken suggests that not only have we moved forward, but there is great satisfaction with the progress achieved, the quality of the cooperation whether it is in relation to the students that went to Crane, and those to GSA,” Vice-President Greenidge said at the signing of the MOU.
During a reception for the Guyana delegation, hosted by the Barbadians, Greenidge had said that the current circumstances make for an encouraging time, for stepped up collaboration between the two countries, “and we need to take advantage of the opportunity that this conjuncture affords us”.
Against the backdrop of international oil exploration firms claiming to have found rich fossil fuel deposits in Guyana’s offshore, Greenidge said, “We hope that we could do a lot more with services in the future. As Guyana starts to move more rapidly towards the post-exploration phase in the oil industry we will find the need for hotel and other accommodation. More banking facilities will clearly be needed, [and] services in the oil port sectors for example.
“These are all areas in which Barbados has an established track record in which it has been able to maintain a quality of delivery, or output of services, that would serve Guyana very well.”
Barbados Foreign Minister McLean said Friday, “It is critical that we maintain the very close links that have characterised the relationship between our two countries in very tangible form.
“The exercise will not only benefit the two respective governments, but very broadly touch several critical economic sectors of our respective countries.”
Guyana’s Director General of Maritime Administration, Claudette Rogers, said that included in the maritime agreement is for “training with regard to engineers. This is of particular concern to Guyana because we have a dearth in that particular area… in terms of whatever practices Barbados can offer Guyana.”
Barbados’s Harbour Master, Richard Alleyne, said, “The highlight with regards to the port was the signing and the sister port arrangement between the two ports.
“What this arrangement will provide for will be a close working relationship with the two ports … to bring both ports up and forward.”
Additionally, he said the Guyanese and Barbadian port officials “looked at exchange of pilots, and them having serve periods of attachments in terms of training in the area of engineering… Both ports will benefit”.
Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority, Indranauth Haralsingh, said, “Guyana is fashioning our hospitality institute after the Pom Marine College here in Barbados”.
He said the college’s Director, Bernice Critchlow-Earle will be visiting Guyana, “to advise on how we can fast-track this and implement in a phased way”.
He said that the two countries “agreed on a Guyana road show for Guyana tourism operators to create linkages with operators in Barbados so they can work together to promote tourism in both countries and offer multi-destination tourism packages… to look at investment opportunities; familiarisation trips between tour operators and media on both sides.”
He said the two teams will work towards offering a varied tourist experience, “having had the sun, sand and sea in Barbados and then coming over to Guyana to have the eco-tourism, the adventure and the community-based tourism experiences which include the indigenous tourism experiences.”
Senior Director at Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., Neville Boxhill, spoke of there being “greater cooperation between Barbados and Guyana in the building of our tourism industry”.
He said that there will be joint tourism trade shows and marketing.
“Generally Guyana and Barbados will be working together to further the tourism industries in both countries.
“Perhaps one of the first things we will look at is how we can improve airlift between our nations…[to] expand both international tourism into our two countries as well as traditional tourism between our countries.”
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