‘An authoritative voice’ – St. Vincent’s PM believes President Ali will push regional integration


By Vishani Ragobeer


Guyana’s President Dr. Irfaan Ali has been well-recognised across the Caribbean region for his ambitious plans to push food production and slash costly imports.

But Caribbean statesman, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, who is also the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, believes that President Ali will play a much greater role in pushing regional integration because of his “authoritative voice” and the respect he commands.

“I can tell you that at the Councils of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Irfaan Ali is listened to more and more.

“It is an authoritative voice, it is a voice of reason with clarity of thinking,” the Prime Minister said on Wednesday during an exclusive interview with the News Room.

Prime Minister Gonsalves has been St. Vincent’s leader for nearly 22 years, a feat he said means that he has seen many Caribbean leaders come and go.

He boasted of being friends with Cheddi Jagan, one of Guyana’s founding fathers and witnessing some of the efforts of former President and now Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo.

Still, he believes that President Ali is capable of pushing the goal of regional integration – that is, bringing countries in CARICOM much closer together to surmount common challenges like food insecurity and climate change, and pursue common goals.

This year, the 50th anniversary of CARICOM will be commemorated.

And Prime Minister Gonsalves said, “I believe that leaders like Irfaan Ali, leaders of that generation, that we are going to see them making a great impact on the regional integration movement.”

The Vincentian leader has been on a four-day official visit to Guyana.

Though he said his official in-country engagement with President Ali is long overdue, he reminded Guyanese that both he and his country have been long-standing friends of Guyana.

Now, he is hoping to deepen relations with Guyana in hopes of mutually-beneficial development. In doing so, the Prime Minister has already cemented partnerships in the housing sector.

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