Plans moving ahead for CARICOM ferry service


A delegation from Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados last week met to discuss the progress on getting each country prepared to operationalise the planned CARICOM Transport Ferry Service.

According to a press release from the Ministry of Public Works, during the meeting held in Trinidad on February 15, country representatives noted that several systems need to be in place and they agreed that within two months’ time these systems should be in place.

Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar; Rohan Sinanan, Minister of Works and Transport of Trinidad; Ian Gooding-Edghill, Minister of Tourism and International Transport of Barbados; Dr. Pauline Yearwood, Deputy Programme Manager Directorate of Trade and Economic Integration at the CARICOM Secretariat and other senior regional officials in the areas of Immigration, Customs, Plant Quarantine, Port Health, and Agriculture attended the meeting.

The ministers with responsibility for Public Works and Transport along with other country representatives during the meeting in Trinidad and Tobago. (Photo: Ministry of Public Works)

Each country highlighted the progress and perspective in relation to getting the system operational, including forming a company to drive the process.

This company would comprise directors from each country to facilitate operations, the release noted.

This ferry service is important for tackling the challenges faced when transporting agricultural goods and intra-regional transport. Heads of Government within the region are resolute in achieving the regional food bill by 25% by the year 2025.

Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar and other officials from the meeting inspected the Galleon Passage, the vessel that will be used for the ferry service. (Photo: Ministry of Public Works)

“Each Minister took the opportunity to emphasise their commitment to the process of implementing the transportation system and to resolutely promote regional food security without compromising public health, security, and safety,” the release noted.

Additionally, there was an inspection of the Galleons Passage, the vessel to be used, and technical officials agreed that other areas of importance are plant quarantine, sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Matters, immigration, and custom for the movement of people and goods for trade.

These are areas that representatives for each country said are already in place and can be adjusted to accommodate the ferry service. A system for pre-clearance was also proposed for implementation.

In Guyana’s case, there is an existing Guyana and Suriname Ferry Service arrangement to facilitate this commitment by President Dr Irfaan Ali, Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley and Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr Keith Rowley. Technical officials from Trinidad & Tobago will visit Guyana and Barbados within the next two weeks to inspect port infrastructure.

And the three countries decided that a follow up meeting will be held to identify and resolve issues and prepare an interim report on harmonising the progress on the immigration, customs, and plant quarantine, in one months’ time.

The team agreed to work constantly to make the ferry service a reality as soon as possible.


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