President emphasises need for food security and skills in region – at ALBA- PETROCARIBE Summit

Georgetown, GINA, December 18, 2013

President Donald Ramotar during his presentation at the ALBA (the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of our America) and PETROCARIBE Summit in Venezuela on Tuesday said the PETROCARIBE project is one of foresight and is already being seen in the Region as very important. Two years after its establishment, the world found itself in a deep financial and economic crisis, which affected the region tremendously, and PETROCARIBE played a role in helping the Caribbean.

President Donald Ramotar being escorted to the venue in Caracas, Venezuela for the Alba-Petrocaribe Summit.

The President pointed out that for Guyana, the PETROCARIBE arrangement was exemplary and important, and has helped increase trade relations with Venezuela.

Stressing on food security, he emphasised the importance for the region to secure its own food, and pointed out that Latin America has the ability to free itself from problems and could make international contributions with regards to food supplies. “It is vital that this plan is put into operation,” he said.

 

He also pointed out among other issues to be dealt with, the project on Universities which he said should not be confined only to services, “but there are a lot of other crucial skills which we need for development in our various societies. In Guyana for instance, we lack a lot of infrastructure in our country, we need more engineers, we need more agriculture specialists to improve our yield to our variety,” President Ramotar added. He emphasised the need for improvement in economic, engineering and managerial skills which are vital for the region.

President Donald Ramotar greets Minister of Energy and Petroleum and President of PDVSA Rafael Ramírez.

The Guyanese Head of State also welcomed arrangements being put in place to resolve problems between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which he described as a major step forward that speaks well for the future.

He acknowledged the Chairman’s call for stronger economic unity in the region observing that it would enable the region to wield more power that would lead to increased trade and less dependence on the rest of the world.

“We will play our part and try to identify strong, capable people to work in these bodies so we can contribute to directing our country forward,” he promised.

 

Among the highlights of the summit was the proposal for establishing  an exclusive economic zone, and  Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett who also attended the summit, said that they agreed to look at the economic zone for PETROCARIBE members  with a smaller group to lead the effort; Dominica, Ecuador, Venezuela and Nicaragua  and Jamaica with Ecuador to coordinate.

President Donald Ramotar and Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett at the Alba-Petrocaribe Summit in Caracas.

The creation of the economic zone was proposed by Venezuela’s Head of State Nicolas Maduro during the Summit of Heads of State of Alba, held in Guayaquil, Ecuador in July.

 

PETROCARIBE, formed in 2005, comprises Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Granada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Venezuela.

President Donald Ramotar and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro among other Heads at the Alba –Petrocaribe summit.

President Maduro said the regional bloc has risen above economic and political spheres to become a truly human integration mechanism.

“PETROCARIBE has transcended the energy sphere, spreading out to economic, commercial, cultural, humanity and political areas,” he told journalists.

 

The Summit addressed as well, strengthening the institutional mechanisms governing the integration process of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Alba-Petrocaribe summit in progress in Venezuela.

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