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Ali: We don't have the luxury of time to advance food security

GUYANA'S President, Dr Irfaan Ali, has warned 'we do not have the luxury of time', saying while the countries in this region did not cause supply chain disruptions, they 'faced it at great consequences'.

He said T&T and Guyana wanted to become leaders in a problematic situation and also noted the Caribbean's vulnerability to climate change. 'We are the least contributors but most significantly affected,' he said at yesterday's joint news conference with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann's.

Ali, who is in T&T on a five-day state visit, said Guyana had 19.5 gigatonnes of carbon in forest stores, and 'if we deploy these assets in the blue economy and look at what we are doing in both countries, we can be a part of climate change leadership'.

He said T&T had a 'sophisticated manufacturing and processing industry' and Guyana was 'building capacity'.

'We don't have the luxury of time to advance food security,' he said, adding that 'we are seeing empty shelves in the developed world'.

Ali said 'we would not create disruptions', adding that governments wanted to bring every stakeholder together. He said Caricom had to begin a reversal of the supply chain, and the food potential of countries like Brazil could be deployed to the benefit of others like Venezuela.

Ali said the countries also had to ensure the policy framework was in place to support the investments they were going to make in farmers, manufacturing and other sectors. He went on to say the supply chain disruptions as a result of the pandemic are not caused by us, but we are faced with the greatest consequence in the disruption.

'Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana, we have committed ourselves to advancing a series of actions that must position these two countries as leaders in all of these global problems,' he said, adding that there must be action to re-engineer a reversal of the supply and production chain.

The President also announced that a technical task force will work on looking at the non-tariff barriers that are present and plans to remove them. This task force, he said, will be looking at the issues that affect efficient movement of goods into both T&T and Guyana.

He said the task force would spell out the interpretations of what can enter each country so that no individual can try to determine a statute outside of this interpretation.

-Kim Boodram

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