Company operating regional ferry service incorporated in Guyana – AG

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

…says regional integration laws being crafted

CariCargo Incorporated, the company that will be operating the ferry between Guyana, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago in a historic attempt at regional integration, has officially been incorporated in Guyana.

During Tuesday’s edition of his programme, Issues in the News, Attorney General Anil Nandlall spoke of the work being done to give effect to decisions made at the last Caribbean Community (Caricom) Heads of Government Meeting.

Nandlall noted that his counterparts from around the Region are hard at work to bring pieces of legislation aimed at making the regional integration being championed by policy-makers, a reality.

Attorney General & Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall, S.C.

“The Attorneys General of the Region have been tasked with the responsibility of drafting the necessary laws to create what is called a common domestic space in the Caricom region. So, we have to pass a series of legislation that will allow for free movement and hassle-free transportation across the various territories of the Caribbean,” he explained.

According to Nandlall, this means that they must go to Parliament with these laws and have them passed before June 1, which is when the West Indies T20 World Cup will be launched. This also means that work on the regional ferry must be advanced and according to Nandlall, the company that will be operating this ferry has just been incorporated in Guyana.

“You would have heard a lot about the arrangement between Guyana and Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, for the free movement of goods, persons, in particular food, and it was announced that a ferry has already been assigned to the exercise.

“I’m pleased to announce that the company that will carry out this undertaking has been incorporated in Guyana. The name of the company is CariCargo Inc, with its registered office in Georgetown, Guyana and it comprises of Directors from Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana,” the Attorney General said.

According to Nandlall, the regional ferry is intended to be a pilot project that will test this aspect of regional integration. Depending on the success of this pilot, he noted the possibility of the service being extended even further.

During the recent 46th Regular Meeting of the Conference of the Heads of Government in Georgetown, Guyana, regional integration was a prominent topic of discussion, particularly when it comes to an inter-island ferry service.

In January of this year, it was reported that the Trinidad and Tobago Cabinet had approved the use of that country’s Galleons Passage vessel to operate the ferry service between the twin-island republic and Guyana.

In a Facebook post, Guyana’s President Dr Irfaan Ali had shared several photos of the Galleons Passage, which he said would be operating between Guyana and Trinidad, and later Barbados. This vessel can accommodate 400 passengers and 60 cars. Among the facilities onboard are a cafeteria, a bar, and a VIP lounge.

And on January 5, the Guyanese Leader had disclosed that Guyana, T&T and Barbados had formed a joint company that would work towards the introduction of a ferry system for passengers and cargo between the three countries.

Back in May 2022, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago had embarked on setting up a ferry service between the two countries to transport people and cargo. During a joint press conference between President Ali and T&T’s Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley in Georgetown, the two nations had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation in several areas.

“As we speak to you now, we are already exploring the possibility of having a cargo-plus-ferry facility as an experiment between Guyana and Trinidad, moving people and goods … We cannot address any issues unless we create a platform, the vehicle that will allow us to do that, and this MoU does that,” President Ali had noted.

Regional leaders have also long recognised that affordable intra-regional travel remains one of the major bugbears to trade and movement of skilled labour within the Caribbean. Consequently, they have been working on a regional ferry network.

In 2022, the Caribbean Community (Caricom) had approached the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for funding to establish this intra-regional ferry service. At the time, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) was tasked with ironing out a proposed roadmap study for a fast ferry service with an initial focus on trade between Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, and Barbados.

According to a communiqué at the end of the 43rd Regular Meeting of the Caricom Heads of Government, held in July 2022 in Suriname, it was noted that this initiative falls into the myriad of measures agreed to by the Region’s leaders to advance the reduction of the Caribbean’s food-import bill by 25 per cent by the year 2025.