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Guyana’s President Dr. Irfaan Ali announced that his country has teamed up with Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, its Caribbean Community (CARICOM) counterparts, to establish a ferry service that will transport passengers and cargo.
The new company was formed on Thursday, as announced by the Head of State during a contract signing and sod turning ceremony for the Mackenzie-Wismar Bridge worth $35 million in Region 10.
However, he also mentioned that discussions with the respective leaders are still ongoing.
The ferry service is expected to create enormous opportunities for the region.
Last year, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) had declared that it will provide funding for consultancy services to investigate possibilities for establishing a Maritime Cargo Service between Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago, mainly for the transportation of agricultural products.
The initiative, according to the CDB, is a portion of the organization’s pledge to enhance food security in the Caribbean and to encourage regional cooperation.
It also demonstrates the bank’s support for the imperative announced last year by CARICOM Heads of Government to reduce the region’s food import bill by 25% by 2025.
The Heads identified a lack of adequate regional transportation and a significant contributor to food insecurity as the primary obstacle to the movement of agricultural products within the region.
Currently, Caribbean leaders are working to achieve a 25% reduction in the region’s $US6 billion food import bill by 2025.
The project will explore various factors affecting the transportation of agricultural products by sea, such as management and operational systems, onshore facilities, food safety provisions, and customs and plant quarantine operations.
The primary goal of the initiative is to identify opportunities for urgent improvements in maritime transportation capacity, suggest transportation modalities, and offer solutions that use existing shipping assets, as stated by the CDB.
A Technical Working Group will oversee the study, comprising representatives from the participating countries’ governments, the CARICOM Secretariat, the CARICOM Private Sector Organization, and the CDB