On July 7, we told you of an agreement that Belize’s Foreign Minister, Wilfred Elrington, signed onto with Guyana as it relates to trade and commercial cooperation. While the Government’s release on the signing didn’t get into any details of the document, a Caribbean publication did note in its article that the agreement does not indicate quotas or limitation on the products that can be imported into Belize or exported to Guyana. That did send off an alarm as you may recall there were some controversy arising over the importation of Guyanese rice which would have been sold at a cheaper rate than the locally produced grain. When Love News caught up with Minister Elrington yesterday, we asked him to explain the agreement.
“The concept behind the integration movement is to be able to allow products in the Caribbean region to be able to travel as freely among the countries of the region as we move products in Belize. For example we can sell any amount of sugar in any part of Belize and that is the same concept that you have in CARICOM so that it should be possible for the Guyanese to sell their products in any part of Belize or in any part of the Caribbean but you know you can’t sell products unless people want to buy it and if you have your own local products people tend to be nationalistic and want to buy their own so I can’t see any need for us to want to buy rice from Guyana except if we have some kind of a scarcity but I don’t think there is any provision to limit or prevent people from doing so. If you want to do it you have to go through certain procedures but apart from that I don’t think there is any limitation as far as I can recall.”
The signing of the agreement took place on July 6, 2016 in Georgetown, Guyana. Signing on behalf of the Government of Belize was Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington and for the Cooperative Republic of Guyana it was Vice President, Carl B. Greenidge.