MoU signing moves Guyana/Antigua into new sphere of integration

President Irfaan Ali says a new agreement between Guyana and Antigua and Barbuda now moves the countries closer together, building on decades of already strong bilateral relations.“This expansion of our relations now moves us into a new sphere of economic integration and infrastructure integration.”

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed Friday by President Ali and the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, provides for economic cooperation in eight areas, including tourism, financial services, agriculture, energy and air transportation.In his remarks, the Guyanese Head of State said that given the new dynamics surrounding food security and transportation, deliberations in this regard are of “immense importance” and can have a very positive impact on the agriculture sector.

In the area of energy, President Ali added that the two sides will also examine how they can further strengthen cooperation in ensuring energy security and that the assets in all countries are optimally utilised for the economic and social benefits of their people.

Importantly, he expressed optimism that the new approach and the enhanced cooperation will go a long way to “short-circuit the bureaucracy”.

The President also pointed to the benefits to the tourism and financial sectors of both countries.

“I am very pleased that we were able to conclude this MoU and we will be working diligently with the technical team from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and relevant sectors, in accelerating low-hanging fruits; things that can be achieved in the short to medium term and the long-term initiatives so that we can move this forward.”In his remarks, Prime Minister Browne commended President Ali for his exemplary leadership in the region in bringing together all stakeholders to address the critical issue of food security.He reminded that Guyana and Antigua have been at the forefront of the integration movement and have enjoyed close bilateral relationships over the years.

Prime Minister Browne said the new cooperation agreement which the two countries are pursuing will create even more opportunities including increased investments and trade.

The agreement, he added, will help to strengthen the countries’ bilateral relationship and enhance their collective contribution to the integration movement.

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