‘Real opportunities’ exist to expand trade, relationship with St. Lucia – Pres. Ali


President Dr Irfaan Ali on Wednesday wooed St. Lucian politicians to expand its bilateral and trade relations with Guyana, highlighting that in the last 10 years, Guyana exported US$71 million in commodities to St. Lucia and in turn, that country exported US79 million in products to Guyana.

The Guyanese Head of State was at the time delivering an address at a special sitting of the Parliament of St Lucia as part of observances for the country’s 45th Independence anniversary.

President Ali sees the relationship between the two countries growing firstly in the housing sector, making the case that Guyana can satisfy St Lucia’s housing needs.

“If you look at your existing housing market and let us say, conservatively you have a deficit in the housing market of 2,500 homes in the next three to five years, that is the immediate term, the medium-term need and you use the conservative figure of US$30,000 for a low income home; that is why we are building prefab homes in Guyana. You’re looking at an export potential of US$75 million in the immediate and medium term from Guyana to St. Lucia.

“That export potential in this one area alone is more than the combined export in the last 10 years, and these are the opportunities, the real opportunities that exists in expanding relationship and expanding the trade between Guyana and St. Lucia,” President Ali said.

He believes that captialising on this need will create wealth and integrate the manufacturing sector of both Guyana and St Lucia.

“These are things that I think offer immediate opportunity for the private sector and for us, as policymakers, to create the enabling environment that would allow this opportunity to become a reality.”

Turning his attention to agriculture, President Ali urged the politicians to invest in shade houses and hydroponics facilities just like Guyana.

President Dr Irfaan Ali upon his arrival in St Lucia (Photo: Office of the President/February 21, 2024)

Noting that St Lucia imports close to US$12 million in fish and poultry on an annual basis, President Ali suggested that a consortium is formed between the private sectors of both countries to keep the trade within the CARICOM region.

“This import can occur within the region. This business can be developed in the region. These opportunities can be catalysed within the region, your work can be created within the region. Both St Lucia and Guyana will benefit, and the region will benefit as a whole.”

But the Guyanese Head of State, who is the incoming Chairman of CARICOM, reiterated his call for the removal of trade barriers within the region.

As it relates to food security, President Ali spoke about Guyana becoming a regional food hub, highlighting that work in this area is ongoing with Northern Brazil.

As so, he believes that St Lucia can benefit from this.

“If you look at the opportunities that exist in northern Brazil, in terms of food production and raw food, one of the disadvantages that we have had in Guyana was the cost of energy because the cost of energy was inhibitive to processing, agro-processing, manufacturing, and industrial development.

“By next year the cost of energy will reduce by 50%. That makes us a very competitive destination now for agro processing. How is it that we can build a regional food hub in such a way that it connects St. Lucia not only for your own needs but also for St Lucia to become a distribution hub?

“That is the type of model we have to build; that is the type of co-investment that the private sector must make. That is a type of joint operation that the government of St. Lucia and the Government of Guyana are committed to ensuring that we create these opportunities,” President Ali said.

He urged the St Lucian government to work towards economic diversification, noting that they can depend on Guyana.

“You can rely on Guyana. You can count on Guyana.  And, know that in Guyana, you have a friend and a partner in your development and in your advancement,” President Ali said.

1 Comment
  1. habeeb says

    On the slavery part of his speech, I heard him say: FOUGHTED. Never heard of such a word used prior.
    Replayed the tape 5 times and he said FOUGHTED. Streamed on news program on YOUTUBETV.
    I hoped he didn’t mean ” FARTED “.

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