President Ali pushes for closer trading ties with St. Lucia

President Ali pushes for closer trading ties with St. Lucia

President Irfaan Ali has proposed closer trading ties between Guyana and St. Lucia, with the possibility of Guyana exporting prefab houses to St Lucia to address the housing deficit on the Caribbean island.

In an address to the Parliament of St. Lucia on the occasion of the island’s 45th Independence Anniversary, President Ali told legislators that in the last 10 years, Guyana has exported approximately US$71M in products to St Lucia, while St Lucia exported close to US$79M in commodities to Guyana.

He said the two countries can advance their trade relations by capitalizing on several sectors including the Housing Industry.

“If you look at your existing Housing Market, and let’s us say conservatively you have a deficit in the Housing Market of 2,500 homes in the next three to five years, that’s the immediate need, the medium-term need, and you use the conservative figure of US$30,000 for a low-income home, prefab homes, you are looking at an export potential of US$75M in the immediate and medium term, from Guyana to St Lucia,” the President reasoned.

Mr. Ali said there are a number of “real opportunities” that exist that can lead to the expansion of trade between Guyana and St. Lucia.

However, he noted that the relationship between St. Lucia and Guyana transcends the boundaries of trade and economics, and is deeply rooted in history, culture, friendship and importantly, family.
According to President Ali, the two CARICOM states share a bond that is unbreakable.

“That is why for us, it is not strange that St Lucia continues to support Guyana sovereignty and territorial integrity, and that St Lucia stands strongly with Guyana in defense of our territorial integrity and sovereignty,” President Ali said.

Ali, who is also the current Chairman of CARICOM, said St. Lucia and Guyana share similar vulnerabilities, while explaining that both countries are affected by climate change. He said the countries are also vulnerable to unfavorable changes in the international markets, and have been negatively affected by the European Union’s trade regime.

“These changes impacted adversely, the banana growing sector in St Lucia, and sugar in Guyana. In many respects, we are still traveling in the same boat to a common destination. Independence set us off on that journey to fulfill the aspirations of our people, to be in charge of their own destiny, and to dispel under development, relegate poverty and give our people the good life,” President Ali said.

The President also attended a forum hosted by the business community in St. Lucia and met with the Prime Minister of St. Lucia and other leading officials.

St. Lucia is celebrating its Independence anniversary today.

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