The Suriname Guyana Private Sector Business Council held its 5th meeting on the 27th of January 2023, in Paramaribo. Part of this meeting was dedicated to a encounter with president Chandrikapersad Santokhi.
The Council, after several extensive sittings, has prepared, in writing, an overview of issues in need of attention, which also forms the priority list of the private sector from both countries. The objective of the meeting with the president was to explain more about the recommendations.
President Santokhi was delighted to see the result of the dialog between both private sectors of Guyana and Suriname. “These are the pragmatic proposals we are looking for as a government”, says president Santokhi.
The issues identified and elaborated on in the document:
  • Customs Software
  • Immigration at the Borders
  • Immigration at the Borders
  • Tourism Activities
  • Private (company) Transportation
  • Regional Routes
  • Agriculture
  • Medical Sector
The result of the meeting with the president:
  • President Santokhi requested the Council to present the results of this paper to both the presidents of Guyana and Suriname on February the 14th.
  • The council is requested to come up with pragmatic solutions for improving border crossing. This will be a follow-up on one of the issues highlighted partially in the handed over paper.
  • Matchmaking between Suriname and Guyana has not been undertaken yet. The request is to organize such an event.
On 24 November 2020, Guyana and Suriname signed the Formation Agreement for the Strategic Dialogue and Cooperation Platform (SDCP). The SDCP is the primary avenue for bilateral relations between Guyana and Suriname. It comprises various subcommittees that address areas of cooperation such as health, infrastructure, energy, the environment, agriculture and security. Regular meetings are convened at the technical and Ministerial levels and the mechanism allows the Heads of State to review the progress of cooperation activities every six months. The Strategic Dialogue and Cooperation Platform replaces the Guyana/Suriname Cooperation Council which was established in July 1989 with the objective of monitoring all aspects of bilateral cooperation.
The Cooperation Council last met in February, 2017 in Georgetown after a fifteen-year hiatus. The SDCP has therefore given added impetus to bilateral relations. On 7 December 2020, Guyana and Suriname signed the historic Air Services Agreement, which removes all restrictions on Market Access, capacity, and pricing to create a more open market and give our respective airlines route rights. From 17-19 August 2021, at the invitation of Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Chandrikapersad Santokhi, President of the Republic of Suriname, paid a four-day visit to Guyana where their Excellencies discussed many essential issues. Notably, the Presidents committed to the conclusion of agreements on mutual legal assistance and extradition. Additionally, because Guyana and Suriname’s oil and gas sectors can promote transformational development opportunities for both countries, their Excellences discussed a possible framework for joint actions/strategy, joint ventures, and the promotion of local content to maximize the benefits from the sectors. In this regard, they agreed to pursue concrete proposals for a joint gas strategy (inclusive of gas-toshore infrastructure and the establishment of a plant to generate electricity from natural gas). Formation of the Guyana Suriname Private Sector Business Council. Stemming from the discussions held between the governments of Guyana & Suriname and the Private Sectors of both countries in 2021, and with the aim of achieving greater synergy and create a competitive strategy for economic development led from a private sector approach, a Memorandum of Understanding was pursued and signed on the 26th January 2022 between the Private Sector Commission of Guyana Ltd. and the Suriname Trade and Industry Association. The MOU has, as its core objective, to strengthen economic ties and initiatives regarding shared interests and the creation of the envisioned single market and economy. The MOU focuses on areas of cooperation, namely:
a) Promote trade, industry and investment as a means toward economic growth
b) Improve competitiveness through innovation and entrepreneurship
c) Partner in skills development to create solutions in education and workforce development
d) Promote Information and Communications Technology development and exchanges
e) Support an enabling environment for the rapid and secure movement of goods
f) Promote Joint Venture Partnerships / formation of synergies between businesses in the two countries
g) To collaborate on building & infrastructural development in key sectors such as transportation and Education and Skills Development Centre for Oil and Gas
h) Energy transition and climate change agenda driven by private sector involvement
i) To encourage and share Research & Development in Agriculture and partner in Forestry development
j) To advance the Tourism sector through partnerships and joint ventures
k) To provide Financing of large Public Private Projects with mutual benefits
On the 16th March, 2022, the Guyana Suriname Private Sector Business Council was formed and it consists of ten (10) members. These members are 5 from Guyana’s Private Sector Commission and 5 from Suriname Trade & Investment Association. Mr. Bryan Renten was selected to be the Chairman for the first Six (6) months and then Mr. Paul Cheong will serve for the next six (6) months in the first year of the Business council.
Immediately upon formation the Council sought to identify areas that needed urgent consideration and actions to realize the envisioned single market & economy. Areas identified are Agriculture, Tourism, Logistics & Transport, Health & Medical facilities and Infrastructure & Construction.
The Business Council formed several Sub-committees to undertake SWOT analysis for each of the areas identified and thus commenced an intense process to formulate a road map that requires both Private Sector and Government collaboration to yield enhanced economic activity and sustainable commerce in the Caribbean Region. The Analysis revealed the following details which are being used to propagate a plan of action for immediate implementation in some instances.

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