Regional officials meet on operationalisation of ferry service

(CMC) Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Barbados are on the cusp of the formation of a company to drive the process for the introduction of a regional ferry service.

Discussions hosted by Works and Transport Minister, Trinidad and Tobago, Rohan Sinanan on the operationalisation of the service were held on Thursday.

The company will comprise directors from each of the nations involved to facilitate operations.

A team of high-power officials attended the meeting, including G.P. Ian Gooding-Edghill, Barbados Minister of Tourism and International Transport and Deodat Indar, Guyana Minister within the Ministry of Public Works.

Dr Pauline Yearwood, Deputy Programme Manager, Directorate of Trade and Economic Integration, CARICOM Secretariat and other regional officials in the areas of Immigration, Customs and Plant Quarantine were also present.

Intra-regional transportation has remained a focus of CARICOM for several years.

In 2022, CARICOM Heads of Government identified the lack of regional transportation as a major challenge to regional security and the movement of agricultural products throughout the Region.

The service is part of the regional thrust to achieve the Twenty-Five by 2025 Initiative, namely, to reduce CARICOM’s food import bill by 25 per cent by the year 2025.

At the meeting, chaired by Minister Indar, each minister reiterated the objective verbalised by leaders of the three CARICOM States to promote regional food security.

The meeting also focused on the issues surrounding possible preclearance in the three areas of customs, immigration and plant quarantine.

Each delegation committed to meeting and providing details of possible issues and solutions based on the respective areas.

Further, assurance was given that the highest level of public health, security and safety would be maintained.

The Ministers of the respective nations took responsibility for the coordination of a specific area which technical teams would address. Minister Sinanan expressed his country’s pleasure to be a part of the significant initiative, which seeks to benefit the wider Caribbean by facilitating greater integration for the free movement of goods and services.

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