President of Guyana Dr Irfann Ali. – File photo by Sureash Cholai
THE governments of Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados are discussing the introduction of a ferry service to facilitate the transportation of passengers and cargo between the three countries.
Guyana President Dr Mohammed Irfaan Ali made this disclosure on Friday while speaking at a contract signing event for a new US$35 million Mackenzie/Wismar Bridge in the Upper Demerara- Berbice district.
In a Guyana News Room report on Friday, Ali said a company to facilitate the establishment of this ferry was launched on Thursday.
He gave no details about the company.
Ali added that the three governments were still discussing the venture.
“We have to get this going and then we have to work on expanding.”
The Prime Minister and Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan were unavailable for comment on Friday.
Intra-regional transportation has been an issue that Caricom has been dealing with for many years.
Last year, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) announced it would finance the consultancy services for a study on the options available to establish a new shipping service across Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, and TT.
Last October, when the AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum was hosted in Guyana, Ali said the African Export Import (Afrexim) Bank is keen on supporting a Caribbean private sector proposal for an intra-regional system that could allow the cheaper transportation of goods and people via the sea.
He encouraged regional private sector players at that time, to form a consortia and get the project going.
At a Caricom heads of government meeting in Suriname in July 2022, Dr Rowley expressed support for the idea of an inter-regional ferry service.
“If you really want to help Caricom, one of the best things you could do is help the team of governments to fund and have operating, within the Caricom region, vessels of that nature so as to bring our people together by seas.”
The idea of a ferry service between TT and Guyana was discussed during a a three-day Agri Investment Forum in Guyana from May 19-21, 2022.
The issue was one of several which was contained in a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed at that forum between TT and Guyana.
At that time, UWI economist Dr Vaalmiki Arjoon said Port of Spain’s port could be used by Guyana’s private sector, especially manufacturers, as a transshipment hub. Raw materials and equipment imported by Guyana could be delivered to Port of Spain and then transported to Guyana on smaller vessels.
Arjoon added, “Guyana is also regarded as Brazil’s gateway to the Caribbean. Exports from Brazil to the region via Guyana can go through our port as a transshipment venue.”