AN energy deal signed yesterday does not mean this country is taking over Guyana or its energy resources, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley assured as he spoke during a press conference next to Guyana President David Granger during his one-day visit to that country.
Rowley said the deal shows TT’s commitment to help generate economic activity in Guyana, while Granger said both countries stand to benefit. The deal comes weeks after TT also inked a natural gas agreement with Venezuela.
Granger was confident the combination Guyana’s vast, recently discovered natural energy/petro resources with the entrepreneurial expertise, capital and investment from TT, is a win-win for both countries. He noted some unjustified fears that signing the MoU was tantamount to Guyana giving away the family jewels.
“This is not true,” Granger insisted. “It is simply a means of collaborating not only in production but in marketing, in gas, in treating with oil spills and multi-national corporations. The MoU is a means of benefiting from Trinidad and Tobago’s advice, their experience and expertise that they have built up over a long time. So the fears that this is some give away are completely unjustified.”
Rowley chimed in saying he was disappointed by some people’s sentiment that this was a Trinidad and Tobago takeover of Guyana’s good fortune. “It is my expectation that any and all investment in Trinidad and Tobago from Guyana and vice versa will be something that will be welcomed and encouraged and that participation in our economies will be good for all of us.”
Rowley said while TT was outside of the Paris Club of big creditor nations, it once wrote off millions of dollars in debt when Guyana had sought debt forgiveness. “We are not holding that as any quid pro quo but it is circumstantial in our position that we are a friendly, cooperating neighbour of Guyana.”
Later in the press conference, Granger said that from a “strategic point of view”, TT has always supported Guyana in its rejection of territorial claims by Venezuela. “We’ve always regarded Trinidad as a very close friend in the international arena.”
He said the MoU also covered co-operation in agriculture, sport and security. The TT contingent also included Sport Minister Shamfa Cudjoe, Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat, Foreign and Caricom Affairs Minister Dennis Moses, Energy Minister Franklyn Khan and Planning Minister Camille Robinson-Regis. The PM and his team are expected back home today.