Guyanese Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge says the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Trinidad and Tobago does not mean an “apocalypse” is looming.
He told a news conference Monday morning that Guyana has MoUs with other countries and had even signed one with Trinidad and Tobago in 1999.
“It was signed and no riot occurred, no sector was destroyed, there was no apocalypse and I am sure that this will not happen on this occasion either,” Minister Greenidge declared.
He noted that the MoU to be signed between Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana tentatively next week is no different. “It seems that the press, as well as those who ought to know better, are imbuing MoUs with some magic that they don’t have,” Greenidge said.
The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) as well as former Minister of Natural Resources Robert Persaud have cautioned against the Guyana Government entering into an arrangement with the twin-island republic that could be detrimental to local interest.
In particular, the private sector was concerned that through the MoU, local businesses will be sidelined and that Trinidadian businesses will flood the local economy.
Greenidge noted, however, that MoUs are only expressions of intent and more concrete actions are implemented through other follow-up arrangements.
“They deal with general principles and understandings that the countries will collaborate on general trade matters, or to establish a platform at which cooperation will be undertaken…,” he noted.
TT Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley had expressed that the oil discoveries offshore Guyana “opens the way for Trinidad and Tobago’s companies to participate in the prosperity that is coming to the Guyanese even if Guyanese oil doesn’t come to our refinery.”