Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge confirmed today that a Framework Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding are to be signed between the Governments of Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.
The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called on the Government to put off the signing of the bilateral agreement documents until Guyana puts local content legislation in place for the oil sector.
But the Foreign Minister today brushed that suggestion aside as he noted that it appeared as though some in the media and many others have misinterpreted what exactly is a Memorandum of Understanding.
He said some have given more weight to the MOU than it could ever carry.
He explained that, “An MOU and I emphasize, because it seems that the press and those who ought to know better are imbuing MOUs with some magic they do not have. And MOUs are normally statements of intent that is signed between two countries, usually at the level of foreign ministers but it could be at other levels.”
He clarified that the Memorandums are merely statements that show that governments will collaborate on general trade matters to establish a platform at which cooperation will be undertaken.
According to Mr. Greenidge, the MOU is not binding, but will be followed by other “more concrete” documents like the Framework Agreement that establishes what both countries will be bringing to the table.
The Minister noted that the MOU has nothing to do with the government “Saving Petro-Trin” as speculated. He said the Guyana Government does not have any intention to do so.
Petrotrin is the recently closed oil refinery in the neighbouring country.
“The MOU in relation to Trinidad and Tobago and the Framework Agreement are no different from any of the others. As a matter of fact, in 99 as we have indicated before in 1999; the Governments of those two countries signed an MOU. It was a 10 year MOU. It was signed and no riot occurred, no sector was destroyed, there was no apocalypse. And I am sure that this won’t happen on this occasion either.” He noted.
The MOU is expected to be signed soon between the two sister CARICOM states. (Dennis Glasgow)