Fri | Jan 24, 2020

Jamaica, Guyana commit to agricultural trade and joint commission

Published:Saturday | July 7, 2018 | 12:00 AM
From left: Ambassador Irwin LaRoque, secretary general of CARICOM, and Prime Minister Andrew Holness welcome President of Guyana David Granger on his arrival at the Montego Bay Convention Centre for the start of the 39th Regular Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government on Wednesday.
Kamina Johnson Smith
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WESTERN BUREAU:

Jamaica and Guyana have jointly committed to engaging and developing agricultural trade as part of national economic growth, following talks between Jamaica's Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Guyana's President David Granger at the 39th Regular Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government.

The two Caribbean leaders made the commitment during the third and final day of the conference yesterday at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St James.

Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Kamina Johnson Smith told reporters, following the closed-door meeting, that the two leaders were reigniting a joint commission, which had previously been forged between the two countries.

ENHANCING COOPERATION

"We had an excellent meeting between President Granger and Prime Minister Holness where we recommitted to engaging and reactivating the joint commission agreement that exists between us. We are focusing on enhancing trade and investment and agricultural cooperation as starting areas," said Johnson Smith.

"We do, in fact, intend to look further at the blue economy and the green economy, and, in particular, at how we can leverage our comparative advantages for mutual and respective growth and development," Johnson Smith continued. "Guyana's Foreign Minister (Carl) Greenidge and I have our marching orders to get the agreement going, and we feel very positive about it."

On June 1, 1995, a joint commission was set up in which Jamaica and Guyana agreed to further economic, technical, and cultural cooperation and to implement specific terms to that end. The inaugural meeting of the joint commission was held in Jamaica on September 4 and 5, 1997.

Subsequently, an agreement was signed in 2008 for Jamaica to import 60,000 tonnes of rice from Guyana during the following year. That agreement was signed following talks between the then Minister of Industry and Commerce Karl Samuda and Guyana's then Minister of Foreign Trade Dr Henry Jeffery.

christopher.thomas@gleanerjm.com