‘We can’t give up’ – President Ali believes Trinidad will soon address long standing honey issue


Guyana, for several years, has found it difficult exporting its honey into the Caribbean because of transhipment restrictions in Trinidad and Tobago. President Dr. Irfaan Ali, however, believes that the issue will soon be addressed by the Twin Island Republic.

While speaking on the sidelines of an event on Tuesday, President Ali reminded reporters that the honey issue has been raised within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) by Guyana and Grenada.

And he noted that Trinidadian Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley committed to addressing the issue.

Dr. Ali, however, noted that this issue remains unresolved.

“This is the challenge of being in the region, you can’t give up.  We have to have hope that it will change.

“My own opinion is that there is a mood in the region now to have these trade barriers, these challenges, addressed and I am very confident that this mood can bring us results,” he said.

The Guyanese Head of State did not state whether he got any commitments that T&T would amend or repeal the law that blocks transhipment but said he believes it will be “addressed”.

Trinidad and Tobago’s honey, bees and bee products are guided by the island’s age-old Food and Drug Act of 1960 and Beekeeping and Bee products Act of 1935.

And as per the country’s Beekeeping and Bee Products Act, only honey originating from the Windward and Leeward Islands can be transhipped there.

The country initially restricted the importation of honey from Grenada and other Caribbean countries over concerns of a potentially disastrous disease of honeybees, the American Foulbrood disease.

Grenada took the issue to COTED in 2013 and the Council decided that Trinidad’s denial of market access was in violation of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, CARICOM’s central treaty. And Trinidad was directed to lift the prohibition on the import and transshipment of honey, based on reports.

Still, the problem exists.

Grenadian Minister with Responsibility for Agriculture and Lands Adrian Thomas, who is in Guyana for a Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) high-level meeting, also noted that the honey export issue is one affecting his country.

“The sector has been growing in Grenada, we have top quality honey.

“… There is a demand for it in the Trinidad market and we have been kept out of it,” Minister Thomas said.

Like President Ali, he believes the matter will be resolved soon. According to him, T&T and Grenada are working on an “amicable solution”.

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