Guyana and Suriname possess prolific oil and gas resources that are expected to be jointly developed but the Dutch-speaking nation is more interested in expanding trade with Guyana in several non-oil sectors.
This is according to the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Cooperation Albert Ramdin who spoke to the News Room during a recent visit to Paramaribo.
The Foreign Minister was keen on noting that the future of both countries does not wholly depend on burgeoning oil and gas developments.
“… if you want to have a sustainable future, you have to develop other sectors as well,” Ramdin posited.
He added, “So equally in our case, it’s about trade, investments (and) it’s about making sure people can move like with the (new Corentyne river) bridge, agriculture and tourism.”
Altogether, Ramdin said that the two neighbouring states must diligently develop their non-oil sectors to guarantee that their economies remain competitive and robust.
During a visit to Guyana last year, Minister Ramdin disclosed that efforts are underway to integrate the Guyanese and Surinamese economies into a single market space, with the intention of increasing business opportunities for players in both countries.
Despite this evident intention to focus on non-oil development, Ramdin conceded that oil and gas “draws a lot of attention at this point in time.”
As such, he acknowledged that the two countries cannot ignore much-needed partnerships to develop those resources.
He backed Guyana’s President Dr. Irfaan Ali’s plan for a regional natural gas strategy, stating that if the two countries – alongside Barbados, Brazil and Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) – can pool their resources, the entire Caribbean stands to benefit.
The three countries that are geographically located on the South American continent are already working towards the development of an energy corridor. And Guyana and Suriname, which are part of the prolific Guiana basin, are expected to pool natural gas resources.
“Once that is sorted, we can have discussions on sharing of wealth and so.
“Wealth cannot only be for countries which are the owners of wealth. We are Caribbean, all should benefit,” Ramdin stated.