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Guyana, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago to soon launch ferry service

Guyana, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago to soon launch ferry service
The Galleon’s Passage

HE Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of Guyana, announced that shortly, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago
and Barbados will launch a ferry service to improve intra-regional transportation.

The President, who is the current Chair of CARICOM, was at the time delivering the feature address at
the opening of the Guyana Energy Conference 2024 and Supply Change Expo on 19 February, where
he highlighted how investments in transportation could be lucrative, and underscored the roles
transportation and logistics play in regional integration, in achieving the goals of food security under
the 25 by 2025 Initiative.

The improvement of transportation and logistics in the Region to facilitate efficient trade in agri-food
products is one of the priority actions of the 25 by 2025 Initiative. The Initiative aims to reduce the
Region’s food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025. As the Head of Government with responsibility for
agriculture, agricultural production and food security in the CARICOM Quasi Cabinet, the President
will lead discussions on the initiative at the 46th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of
Government of CARICOM which opened in Georgetown, Guyana on 25 February.

Preceding the Energy Conference and the Heads of Government Meeting, high-level representatives
from Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and the CARICOM Secretariat met in Trinidad and Tobago
on 15 February to advance discussions on the proposal for the ferry service.

A press release from the Ministry of Public Works of Guyana said the officials met at President Ali’s
request. Guyana’s Public Works Minister Hon. Minister Deodat Indar led the delegation from Guyana
which comprised Mr. Brian Sears, Chief Plant Protection Officer, Ministry of Agriculture; Mr. Stephen
Telford, Head of Immigration and Mr. Rohan Beekhoo, Comptroller Customs Excise and Trade, Guyana
Revenue Authority.

Minister Deodat chaired the meeting that included Senator the Hon. Rohan Sinanan Minister of Works
and Transport of Trinidad and Tobago; the Hon. G.P Ian Gooding-Edghill, Minister of Tourism and
International Transport of Barbados; Dr. Pauline Yearwood, Deputy Programme Manager,
Transportation in the Directorate of Economic Integration, Innovation and Development at the
CARICOM Secretariat, and other senior regional officials in the areas of Immigration, Customs, Plant
Quarantine, Port Health, and Agriculture.

Delegates at the meeting in Trinidad and Tobago

The meeting highlighted each country’s position and perspective, and Ministers 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.

In Port-of -Spain, ministers and technical officers conducted an inspection of the Galleon’s Passage, the
vessel identified for the ferry service. They held discussions on other areas of importance to the
proposal for the common transportation system such as plant quarantine, including Sanitary and
Phytosanitary (SPS) Matters and immigration, and customs for the movement of people and goods for
trade. A system for pre-clearance was also proposed for implementation.

The Heads of Customs, Immigration, and Plant Quarantine Divisions from Guyana, Barbados, and
Trinidad and Tobago agreed that most systems were already in place and can be adjusted to
accommodate the service.

A technical team from Trinidad and Tobago will visit Guyana and Barbados to inspect port
infrastructure to accommodate the proposed ferry service within the next two weeks.

Representatives from the three countries will meet to identify and resolve issues and prepare an
interim report on harmonising within a month.

Participants agreed further to complete the work of pre-clearance procedures for immigration,
customs, and plant quarantine within two months. The team agreed to work constantly to make the
ferry service a reality as soon as possible, the Ministry’s press release stated.